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Musings of an angry, Nigerian woman!

I feel like screaming at the top of my lungs, feel like tugging at my hair so hard my eyes smart with tears as my weave is yanked off my corn-rows. I feel like punching something multiple times, a lifeless bag till it bursts or silently pleads for me to stop. I kick at the air, so angry, so vexed, inconsolable. There are no tears to be shed, who has time for such weak emotions? I am angry, I am mad, I am a prisoner enraged with her captors, aggressive as primal instincts override social graces, let me at them, let me cause havoc, let me shout till I can shout no more, let me kick the sand and rent my clothes till I am heard, till the world pays attention. Don’t try to calm me down, take that diazepam far from me, I am angry, I am furious, I see red, only red, leave me as my nostrils flare and my chest heaves, I don’t care if I burst an artery, I must be heard.

I struggle, trying hard to break my chains…I see the alarm in their eyes and I snarl, you can call me a beast, I don’t care, I spit at them. You crazy lot, God punish you, may your children be murdered as they nurse upon accursed breasts, I scream! A blood-curdling scream, and crumble to the floor. I lie beside my dead children, I see the expanse of blood and mangled bodies, my eyes focus on the lifeless body of Hadiza and then I pass out…struggling even as I feel the cold clutches of the darkness that beckons, I refuse to be comforted….

For how long will they work tirelessly while honest men sleep, planting devices fashioned in Hades, mounting them beside the very places people seek solace? How long will I turn my face as they rob me of my children? What do you want I scream as I see the receding darkness, taunting me, a faceless terror. Tell me, anything to make you stop. I hate this feeling of helplessness, not knowing when or where I shall find the blood of my children scattered abroad like dew atop the soil. Help me anyone, anyone but you father. Your handicap leaves me with a bitter taste in my mouth, I cheered you on when you wobbled on crutches to the esteemed stool, I failed to see the fear in your one good eye or the dent in your gut where your liver had been stolen in the dead of night. I thought a one-eyed man could lead the blind, I rejoiced that your kindness would bring a better life for my children. Father I have lost faith. Your promises and tears no better than the gluttony of the men you left to guard your city. Father has turned against us, I see the pain in his tired eyes as he swallows reality with a healthy dose of luxury. His eye has gone blind, blind to my pain, blind to the tears that ceased to fall after months of futility. You can’t give up papa, you can’t grow cold, papa see my children, see the chains, can you do nothing?

I spit again as the bile rises up in my throat, so many dead, I have lost count. How did papa end up with an army of drunkards and rusty ammunition? Why don’t my brothers care? Their children are far away, mine are scattered and disemboweled. I scream again, till the birds rise up in the forest, in search of peace where it may be found. There is non here, not while my children lie dead. Can’t anyone help us? I look to the heavens and whisper “When will the Messiah come?”. The darkness comes around again…this time I give in easily, that’s my only respite…

….Silence….

 
8 Comments

Posted by on April 9, 2012 in Inspirational

 

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Nigeria Revolts!

Nigerians old and young will always remember January 1st 2012 as the day the sky fell on their heads or how else would one describe the government’s removal of fuel subsidy? The decision shot up the price of petrol from N65 per litre to N141 per litre, a 116.9 percent increase, the highest single jump in the history of fuel price hikes in the country. Government said the decision was taken to free up cash and better our economy, creating more jobs and wealth but Nigerians saw the decision as a cruel and thoughtless gesture which would only worsen the current situation and aggravate the suffering in the land.

It was reported that the United Nations (UN) commended President Jonathan for withdrawing the subsidy on petroleum products, and described the move as “a bold and correct policy”. While this policy might in other circumstances and in a nation other than Nigeria have been a good one geared towards a better future, one must realize that because of the level of corruption in the nation, the freed cash would not alleviate the people’s suffering but would make the rich richer and the poor poorer.

While the cost and standard of living in Nigeria have depreciated over the years and the majority of Nigerians live from hand to mouth, the cost of maintaining those in government has been on the increase, at the expense of national development. In countries like Singapore, leaders have taken serious pay cuts so that more funds can be devoted to developmental issues but in Nigeria, the reverse is the case and the president’s shameful attempt at cutting down on his cabinet’s expenditures when translated to naira barely scratches the surface of their undeserved income.

The billions lavished on the lifestyle of government officials could have been used to get our refineries functioning one hundred percent but heaven forbid this as many of these corrupt officials are rumoured to own refineries outside the country and charge the government to have our crude oil refined and would rather take the last naira from the poor than part with their kitchen allowance! Nigerians were not ready to allow this! Majority of Nigerians were already living on less than one dollar a day. The outcry was nationwide.

A people who had mourned in silence, seemingly powerless when Boko Haram struck, rose up with a vengeance refusing to have the last morsel of their bread taken away from them.
Nigerians had taken a stand and rejected the burden put upon them for it was too heavy to bear. Subsidies had been removed in the past, many Nigerians remembered bitterly how things turned for the worse with the Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) and the International Monetary Funds (IMF) reforms. The government used these in the past as an opportunity to rob its people of subsidised healthcare, education and a life they could afford and yet all they got in exchange was biting poverty and a bunch of empty promises and now history threatened to repeat itself.

The cost of goods and services following the removal of subsidy has increased by more than a hundred percent. How are we to survive when our incomes have not moved an inch and what’s to happen to those who were already on strike because they had been given a pay cut? How will the common man survive it when in 2011 he could hardly feed his family? The only people not affected were those who don’t know what it is like to work hard for a living and yet be unable to pay bills. These people were mostly in the upper class and were those supposedly entrusted with governance of the country. How does the security guard at my office who earns thirty thousand naira monthly and has two children in school pay his bills when he now spends about ten thousand naira a month on transportation alone to and from his office? How do Nigerians survive with the eighteen thousand naira minimum wage? A removal of subsidy from government’s expenditure on its cabinet would generate the funds needed and not that of the masses.

After failed dialogue with the Federal Government the Labour and civil society groups called a strike which commenced today and Nigerians were encouraged to come out on the streets and protest. The turnout was impressive all over Nigeria. The protests in Abuja were led by the workers Union President Abduwaheed Omar and in Lagos, his deputy Joe Ajaero led the protesters who took off from the Labour union secretariat at Yaba at 8.00am.

Nationwide citizens had staged “Occupy Nigeria” mass demonstrations since the removal of the subsidy, with police responding forcefully in some cases and three confirmed dead and many injured. Only in Nigeria do policemen hold guns and tear gas to fight off peaceful protesters rather than shields and batons with orders from the government. A government whose constitution allows freedom of speech and expression and who swore to protect and serve. After what happened at Tahrir square in Egypt, Nigerians are confident that the power is with the people and the nation can be brought to a halt. The government has remained passive about the goings on in the nation and have decided the siddon look approach is best till Nigerians come to terms with the change but they underestimate the people who voted them into power and the strength of a united nation. Even the Muslims and Christians in the North were admirably prepared to lay aside their differences for a common cause.

Many voted Jonathan into power hoping he would be a breath of fresh air but for some reason his every move has let them down and left us in the arms of despair. When I look at him, I do not see a wicked man, I see a weak man whose lack of character has prevented him from doing the good which he knows he is to do. Maybe the lure of a good life allows him the luxury of casting a blind eye to the sufferings of his people after all as far as he is concerned, he had no shoes as a kid and levels don change now. Maybe he has a grand master plan that will in years from now give the handful of survivors left in Nigeria a chance at a better life but would he kill millions now so that one day the remnants can praise him? Or could it be that his good intentions are thwarted each time by the political godfathers he answers to?

Nigerians do not need a figure head president. We do not need a president who will run off to his little corner of heaven while his people face hell. He has incited his people and he will be made to answer for his negligence and insensitivity. Nigerians will not stop till they have a chance at a life not worse than yesterday’s. May God help our president because it is better to fall into the hand of God than the hands of men for God is merciful. If he knew anything about history and repercussions he would have damned his advisers and done that which is in his heart for I truly believe that deep down he feels for his people but his hands have been tied and allowed to waste away by the powers that be. There are other ways to better the economic situation of Nigeria and 1600 buses is laughable. The ceremony for the buses probably cost more than the buses. Will more buses bring down the cost of food or other living expenses? Nigerians say No!!!

The strike continues…

Nigerians please let it remain a peaceful protest. Please occupy with one voice and without violence so that the government’s folly can be apparent to all.

May the souls of Mustafa Muyideen and Ademola Aderinto rest in perfect peace and may their killers know no peace.

#OccupyNigeria

 
3 Comments

Posted by on January 9, 2012 in Inspirational

 

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Gay Nigeria?

The first time the average un-molested Nigerian is confronted with homosexuality is in secondary school at an age where gender confusion is common and sexual orientation may be blurred. Their only ammunition being what’s been taught on the pulpit by their spiritual leaders or the feelings of shame that accompany any expression of sexuality at that age. For many, experimentation is the driving force. It is usually outgrown, but for the few who don’t ‘outgrow’ a love for the same sex, they are faced with inner conflict, shame, religious crisis and a stigma even worse than the HIV virus.

I remember hearing about two Nollywood movies where homosexuality was the main theme and the general reaction to them was comical. The stars were bashed thoroughly and guys threatened to beat up one of the actors especially, for ‘enjoying’ his role a bit too much. Without doubt, Nigerians are homophobic!

Over the years I have read many stories. From the Nigerian boy in Germany who took a husband, to the few oddballs speaking up for gay rights in Nigeria who have been terrorised, some needing to seek refuge outside the shores of Nigeria, to the weekly City people gossip on what top-shot is gay or not in our society. Nigerians have embraced every part of the Western civilisation but deep down have crowned themselves better than the rest of the world since they have continuously resisted homosexuality. Does that truly make us better?

I’m not sure what the Islamic laws on homosexuality are but the Christians leave no question about it! Our God frowns at homosexuality. He sees it as despicable. If He came down to earth, He would first rain fire down on all the gay people and then the terrorists and probably the corrupt politicians stealing Nigeria’s money and then perhaps, if there was still some fire left, He would then throw a little spark at every other sinner in the world but really is that how He operates?

The bible says in James 2:10-11 ‘For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.”If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker…’
Why do people decide to isolate one sin and judge it with such hatred when for the most part every time that sin is brought up in the bible it is listed amongst an array of others ranging from fornication and pride to drunkenness and witchcraft? Yes, our religious sensibilities are insulted by the thought of homosexuality but have we ever stopped to wonder about the excuse it affords us to be cruel to another human being? Do we ever ask ourselves what would Jesus do if he walked amongst us? Surely he must have met some homosexuals in his time since the sin is as old as the city of Sodom, dating long before Christ was born.

The story of the adulterous woman is worthy of note. In John 8:7b Jesus said: ‘Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her’. In verse 11, He said neither do I condemn you… He never held back showing love to all those who were outcasts in society. He was accused of dining with sinners, walking with rejects and misfits and basically shunning societal norms but He demonstrated more love to these people than they had ever known. Matthew
7:1 says ‘Judge not that you be not judged’. Verse 3 says ‘Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye but do not notice the log that is in your own?’

For some reason, human beings seek validation by bringing into focus the sins of others. I believe it makes theirs seem a little less awful. As the world has been consumed with ‘righteous anger’ over these people, I sit back and wonder ‘where is the love?’. God hates sin-no doubt, we should too, but didn’t He send his only son to die on the cross for sinners? Would you, holy as you are, let your son die in the place of a criminal even if you knew you had the power to bring him back? I guess not!

Dear friend, who made you ‘the avenger’? When did we become bullies in the school yard who pick on those different from us? Are we any better than the Ku Klux Klan who used extreme violence to achieve their goals of racial segregation?
Homosexuality is not an illness so why the homophobia if you can’t catch it from them? If you fear you may be a target and hence justify being on the offensive, look at the mating ritual, a proposition is made to you, if you are not interested you decline and move on. It ain’t that hard. People have been jailed, brutalised, attacked, vandalised, assaulted, cussed at, shunned, criticised, stigmatised and murdered just because they were different. Why don’t you allow every man the opportunity to face his maker and account for the life he has lived? Why take matters into your own hands?

14 years in jail if you ask me is a bit harsh. Armed robbers walk free, corruption is swept under the carpet. Rape cases are dismissed. This issue is as old as time. As far as I’m concerned, all they were saying was keep being gay in secret, if you rub it in our faces, you go to jail! I’ve heard of stories of people who committed suicide because they couldn’t deny the feelings they had and I know that before these people ‘come out of the closet’, they struggle and struggle with these feelings, trying to suppress, deny, rebuke and reject them, very aware of the effect it would have on their lives. People around them have tried to save them, from prayers to ‘deliverance’ to psychotherapy to shock-therapy to forced marriage to forced sex with the opposite sex but all these people have gotten from the saving is a broken spirit and a scarred soul.

Nigerians have a right to refuse to pass a same sex marriage bill and I’m in support of that, if we condone it who knows what would be next, maybe a bestiality marriage bill may be the next topic, not to say that the two are comparable but becoming a wholly permissive society may not be in our best interest and it is our right to protect the moral standing of the nation and give our children a future not thoroughly exploited by New Age ideas but what is truly in our hearts? Are our hearts filled with trepidation and fear? Is there intense hatred in our hearts? People fear what they do not understand but surely it is not an excuse to be cruel. Jesus asked us to love our neighbours as ourselves. He didn’t add ‘except they are different from you or sinners!’. The British even threatened to sanction us and I smiled when I read this. We are no longer under their rule, without doubt we still need them but who died and made them king? In Nigeria’s defence and this is from a non-religious angle, we have always been conservative and guided by norms and traditions that the rest of the world would never understand. It is a taboo in our culture, I asked my friend’s grandpa who is ancient and he confirmed that. Commendably, Nigerians are becoming aware that not everything the world sells to us must be bought but isn’t it hypocritical that men love lesbians and have great fantasies of girl on girl action but shudder at any guy on guy action? Isn’t it saddening that men who believe they can cure a lesbian by raping her till she appreciates the supremacy of the male genitalia are allowed to go scot free? I read about some incidences in South africa and they were from a lesbian’s perspective and I shed tears for her because there’s never a reason to rape or assault another human being.

I am not condoning sin as my bible states that it is, but i have had my own personal struggles with other sins and I don’t see how judging or hating or discriminating someone else would atone for my seemingly lesser sins. I am a true Nigerian and it is ingrained in my genetic encoding that this act is taboo but all I’m really trying to say here is that our manner of approach is all wrong. There’s so much hatred and pain in the world already, why add some more to an overflowing cup? Are we speaking the truth in love? No religion gives you an excuse to be cruel to your fellow man. Because you offer a bit of kindness to a man in need doesn’t mean you partake of his sin or lifestyle. Let us be kinder and less judgemental. If your child confessed to be gay would you make it your life’s ambition to ‘cure’ him even if it killed him or would you save yourself the hassle and murder him like Marvin Gaye’s father did in ‘righteous rage’? or would your heart grow cold and cease to love him because of his sexual orientation? Don’t be a Pharisee! Heal the world. Love covers a multitude of sins, what would Jesus do?

For my friend T, who ‘gingered’ me to write on this highly controversial topic. 😉
Have a lovely day peeps…xoxoxo 😉 🙂 😉

 
14 Comments

Posted by on December 6, 2011 in Hall of Fame, Inspirational

 

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The Docs of Hazard!

…Daddy I wanna be a doctor when I grow up…

Many a child has uttered that cry as he/she got an epiphany. Some buried those dreams the first time they caught sight of blood gushing from an open wound, others were never given a chance to choose a life beyond medicine and yet for majority of the doctors in Nigeria, it was a life-long dream, which involved years of sweat, toil and tears (6yrs+X for some).
Now one can write about the many benefits of being a doc, from the title to the ‘efizzy’, to the respect, to the ‘god-complex’, to the money (not in Naija), to the certain degree of immunity from the police, to the good karma that arises from helping others, to the high market-value in the dating and marriage market, to the widely open arms parents use to welcome a would-be, doctor-in-law. The list could be longer and however long it takes to achieve this status, for some, it’s to die for. But no one ever talks about the bad…

We doctors have become the ‘Dukes of Hazard’ and here are 10 awful things you should consider before sending your child to medical school…

1. Med school is tough. To even start the race, you have to have been a really brainy kid in secondary school and the work load is structured so that the frail fall by the way-side.
I know a guy who ran mad during his exams in med school. #shocking-but-true! And then there are the strikes that thankfully, have become rare but sometimes keep a kid in school for up to 10 years. There’s also the issue of accreditation which has become a nasty new trend, leaving students hanging for long periods till their schools can get their acts together and sometimes totally interrupting their studies. My friends F and I who are currently doing masters in the UK say after med school, you can basically face any academic challenge or stress that there is. For them, the workload seems a bit too light at the post-graduate level when compared to the hassle of becoming a Nigeria-trained doctor.

2. They will rebel. Many parents think a doctor in the house is a must-have and have grown tired of paying the family doctor, desiring one of their own. While this is a noble thought, forcing people to do what they don’t wanna do is akin to delaying their destinies because one day, many years after, they’ll realise what exactly it is they are supposed to do in life. My friend A started out in med school and dropped out in his second year. Today he is a seasoned DJ and radio/tv presenter studying a business course on the side and says he has finally found fulfilment. My friend T now works in an auditing firm and if she had been allowed to follow her dream from the very beginning, she could have gained 3 years and would have been on a level far above where she is today. I have countless classmates who were forced into med school by their folks and dropped out of the race with alacrity as soon as they obtained the title. According to my friend F, “Daddy here’s the title you always wanted, now can I live my life?”…

3. The risk of infection. Doctors are prone to needle-stick injuries and blood and body-fluid borne infections on the job, HIV and Hepatitis top the list. Some call it carelessness but I tell you that many of these accidents are freaks of nature and some have been both life-altering and life-threatening! A colleague of mine was pricked by a needle she had introduced into a child with HIV when the child jumped suddenly. The mother was supposed to be restraining him and was profusely sorry but sorry doesn’t cut it when you have to take HIV medication for 6 weeks. She can never take back those 6 weeks of her life that she spent sick and vomiting due to the side-effects or the constant anxiety about the probability of testing positive to HIV. Thankfully she tested negative. I also know a male doctor who tested positive to Hepatitis when he was asked to do the test by the church weeks to his wedding… 😦 so many doctors have been paid with a measure of the patient’s illness in return for their services and have learnt the hard way that even if the hospital or government doesn’t put in place measures for personal protection, it is imperative that you protect yourself!

4. Any doctor who has worked in a teaching hospital or community clinic will regale you with tales of how doctors have had to run for dear life even jumping through windows because they failed to perform magic on a badly injured patient and as a result became targets for violently angry and grieving family and friends. It happens quite frequently in teaching hospitals where mortality is the highest because they are the highest point of referral especially those located in poorer neighbourhoods…

5. There was an episode at a hospital some years ago where doctors were robbed and molested sexually at night, while on duty by a gang of hoodlums that attacked the hospital. No one knows for sure if the offenders were brought to book but the memory of the trauma lives on in those doctors’ minds…

6. Doctors are their own enemies. We don’t have a strong enough governing body and many times it is outrageous how the doctors at the top are the very ones standing in the way of progress. A while ago doctors went on strike in a teaching hospital on orders from the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) and were fired en masse by the state. Adverts were put out for new doctors and doctors flooded the institution not caring about the events that preceded the jobs becoming available nor the cause for which the other doctors tried to fight. The ARD seemed powerless but thankfully, the governor of the state granted the doctors leniency and recalled them. It was quite amazing that their sack didn’t incite a nationwide revolt. Wasn’t it a worthy cause they fought for? Every man for himself, God for us all… 😦

7. Patient wahala! Sometimes patients can be a handful and I’m not talking about the average run off the mill, disgruntled or stubborn patient. I’m talking big wahala! A female patient being managed for infertility was found to be problem free and the doctor suggested, as is routine, that she bring her husband to the clinic for tests as the fault may not have been hers. The next day an angry man with a raised voice barged into the consulting room accusing the doctor of telling his wife that he was impotent! Now you can imagine the scene that unfolded and there have been far worse scandals…

8. The residency exams. I know people who have failed those exams up to 5 times regardless of the depth of their knowledge on the subject matter all because they failed to satisfy an examiner in an exam which is highly subjective. Exams cost as much as 50k and there are update courses to pay for from our meagre salaries too. Abroad, most exams are objective so you can hardly fail because an examiner thinks you are cocky or thinks it is your right to taste failure in this lifetime!

9. We do not work for the devil! Some patients treat us no better than the devil but in their defence, it should be expected since we constantly deliver bad news. I have grown weary of patients giving testimonies in church that start with; “The doctors said I had…..but my God put them to shame…..”
It is not doctors versus God!!! We also offer hope and look after you, remember? We care but God heals!- Our mantra 😉

10. It has been said that doctors dress horribly and have terrible cars. The salary doesn’t help matters and sometimes a doctor has to do ‘locum’ (part-time job) apart from his main job to keep body and soul together. In other countries, doctors are amongst the highest paid but every time we rise up in protest, the people angrily tell us we earn enough already and should be content as our job is ‘humanitarian’. Humanitarian my foot! I know an elderly doctor who had to beg for 5,000 naira to feed his family because salaries had not been paid. With the above-listed hazards, should this ever occur? He had given almost his entire life to the people, I think it’s time the people gave back!

Most doctors after realising what they signed up for, look for the easiest way out. They try to leave the country but alas, a doctor trained in Nigeria is not readily hired in other countries despite his experience or skill till he has passed myriads of hurdles, exams inclusive and many have returned, after losing years abroad because they were unable to find suitable work.

So peeps, carefully consider these before you decide the life of a doctor is the life for you. I won’t even mention our crazy 24-hour work schedule or how our families suffer as a result because that would be complaining and we knew this was part of the package when we signed up and besides despite everything, I love being a doctor and wouldn’t pick any other life…

Today before you shout at your doctor or act rudely, remember this and realize that we are under-appreciated and a smile and a thank you from you, not to mention your co-operation would go a long way to help us serve you better…

‘Be careful how you treat me because I may be your doctor one day!’ 😉 😉 😉

Have a great weekend peeps, T.G.I.F (though I’m working tomorrow!)….xoxoxo 🙂 🙂

 
11 Comments

Posted by on November 18, 2011 in Hall of Fame, Health, Inspirational

 

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Modern day slavery!

I was sitting in traffic disgruntled and trying not to enjoy the traffic show on WAZOBIA FM too much, it’s actually funny, especially the corporal punishment and since I wasn’t driving and my blackberry battery was red, I was forced to look around me and observe the goings on which is something I rarely do while seated in a moving car. Before you act all shocked, why would you spend your car-ride looking out when you could be looking at the person seated beside you or looking up as your camera clicks away or looking down as you reply a ping or update your twitter or bb status? Alas on this particular day, I could do none of these so I looked out the window hoping to find a sight for sore eyes in the dreary evening traffic…

What I saw, had me confused, curious and horrified though it wasn’t new. It was a black long beast, with tiny windows and through the windows all I could see was un-ending darkness and it had swallowed up plenty men. No, I wasn’t dreaming. As a child, I had seen this particular beast and assumed the men it transported were criminals, murderers at the very least, whose heinous crimes warranted such vile transportation. This beast made the yellow and black molue look like a luxury. Twenty years later, there it was again and this time I asked rather innocently who the people were who were forcibly transported in such a suffocating enclosure on wheels. The answer shocked me even further…they were workers for a popular German construction company being transported from their sites after a long day. This was a German company’s alternative to a staff bus??? I was mighty
disappointed. A black maria couldn’t be any worse. It hadn’t been that long ago that Airtel had been all over the news because of the controversy over slash in salaries brought about by a change in management. Foreigners again!!!

Yes, historical slavery has been abolished but it has given way to a modern form of slavery that is silent and barely perceptible yet deeply rooted in our every day lives and swept under the carpet by those who could actually set us free. Nigerians have become like South Africans before they were liberated. We have allowed foreigners come into our land and make themselves fat on our resources. A few bad men sold us again into slavery, governments were bribed and now these people do to us what we could never ever dream of doing to them in their country and yet we are grateful for any little left-over they hand out to us from our stolen inheritance.

They are given preferential treatment by the government, by the police, at the embassy, everywhere. They can afford things the average Nigerian could only dream of and live like kings amongst us. They say our Naira is devalued but it seems it’s not the only resource in Nigeria that has been devalued. Unconsciously, the average Nigerian kisses ass, once the ass has pale cheeks. Yet these foreigners look out for themselves like tourists in wild terrain sticking together for dear life. My friend C who works in a Lebanese construction company was telling me how a plumber was brought in from Lebanon and paid five times the salary of the Nigerian plumbers and could not even perform the simplest of duties.

Why have we as Nigerians been tricked into cheap labour? I was offered a job at a Lebanese clinic a while back and the HR guy spent long minutes on the phone trying to make me agree to a hundred thousand naira less than the agreed salary just because he thought he could get away with it. He was a Nigerian too and it was quite sad that he would go through such lengths to sell a fellow citizen short of her due. While serving in Akure, many of these foreigners frequented the big hotels, a couple had paid for luxury suites for two years, cash down. They were barely educated handy men in their countries who had left their wives and children behind to come and strike gold in Nigeria and lord it over highly-educated folk who worked so hard each day and yet were paid so little. In the job market, people shied away from working for Indians, Chinese and Lebanese because they worked you hard and dry for every Naira you were paid. Why do we allow this? At the airport, we treat them like kings yet at their airports we are rough-handled like criminals. Have we no shame? Why are we in a relationship where we are taken for granted and abused? No wonder the youths in some parts of the country were enraged, though misguided as violence is never the answer to a problem neither is kidnapping, they actually had a point. I wish they had gone about it in a more civilised manner so that their voices could be heard rather than being labelled as militants. My friend K studying at a university in Ghana would ping me for medical advise because the doctors there would not readily treat her as she was a foreigner. In Nigeria, I don’t see doctors discriminating in that manner.

The slavery doesn’t stop there. There is another form of slavery that we impose on ourselves. A long time ago, our ancestors were called coloured people, slaves, niggas and were beaten, maltreated and made to suffer and years after, we still felt the scourge of racial discrimination and our afro hair became a big black bush of defiance making a statement. What was once a sign of our rich bloodline, now became a flaw we would rather not talk about. We tried to hide it but we could hide it no better than we hid our dark skin and big noses. It was our heritage, it was our curse. It kept us enslaved for years and made us different from those who regarded themselves as superior, from those who sailed into our continent and took over our lives. Our tormentors were reportedly pale faces from the West and since we couldn’t beat ’em, we longed to blend in a bid to join them and acquire the pseudo-modernisation we had misconstrued to be the ideal lifestyle!

Yes we were free, old heroes with kinky black hair, shouting they were black and proud till their voices were hoarse, had fought with every breath they had to give us a chance but here we were, wanting more than a chance. We wanted to be like the people who had once enslaved us and seemed to win the race of modernisation. The Western culture had taken over almost every aspect of our lives even to our detriment and this could only be seen as a self-imposed slavery. One far worse than the first kind of slavery which was imposed by others because this particular kind gave us a false sense of being better than the next person…

The modern-day Nigerian will wear leather in the most humid condition, sun shades at night, a suit in the scorching heat, brazilian hair that costs three to five times the minimum wage, hair-dos that cover our natural hair causing it to be damp, smelly and unhealthy, perm our natural hair with chemicals even from a tender age, wear fur in a tropical country, bleach their skin at the risk of skin discolouration just to seem lighter and closer to the pale-faces, diet to be a size zero just to look like Miss Teen America, adopt a fake accent and slangs just to belong, wear heavy, gaudy jewelry just to look like a gangster from Brooklyn, have a million tattoos and piercings just to seem fashionable and we claim to be a liberated country. What happened to the old ways, everything old looks ‘country’ now, aka ‘razz’. Nobody wants to be left behind. We don’t wanna be old school but are we doing ourselves good? I visited a house a while back and the mother thought stuffing her young kids with KFC treats for lunch and dinner was a sign of good living. Needless to say, the kids were overweight. And quite unfortunately, while the Western world is moving beyond their mistakes and adopting a ‘Less is more/Save our World’ mentality, we are eagerly filling their old shoes, becoming a dumping ground for their below par technology, feeding ourselves fat with their junk food and killing our part of the planet with our non-recyclable litter. Even the women haven’t learnt the elegance of makeup that isn’t loud or colourful or jewelry that isn’t chunky or cheap-looking. We watch our famed goddesses on TV and falsely imagine they have natural beauty when they have put on tons of make-up to get a look that makes them seem like they have almost no make-up on. We assume they are naturally thin and envy their genes while we struggle into our jeans forgetting that this people have integrated diet and exercise into their busy lives. When will we throw off the shackles for good and embrace a liberty so refreshing that the world will have to stop and stare? They take our good but we take all they have to offer, mostly the bad.

We need to find ourselves, glory in our sense of identity, show the world what they have always suspected, that we are way smarter than them! Let’s stop showing up on the most wanted list, let’s stop using our great minds to commit crimes that baffle the CIA, let’s stop using our creativity to make ‘fakes’ of originals (Aba) instead of sticking our customised brand names on our amazing goods. We are a great people, the sooner we carve our names in history, the better for us all. 2012 dey draw nigh oh!

Enough said! I’m black and I’m proudly Nigerian!!! 🙂 Have a great night peeps…xoxoxo 😉 😉 🙂

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2011 in Hall of Fame, Inspirational

 

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Arms folded: Good Samaritans now extinct in Nigeria?

We all know the story of the good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37 and even those unfamiliar with the scripture have at least heard once or twice the phrase ‘Good Samaritan’.
A good Samaritan is someone who helps another in need for compassionate motives and with no thought of reward. Many have told stories about being in trouble and then rescued by total strangers, some disappearing before a thank you could be offered. Some people like to think of ’em as guardian angels but many times they are living and breathing humans just like you and I.

In Nigeria, the story is quite different especially in the classic case of injured victims seen on the road side. We have adopted a Pharisee and Levite approach not because we are as cold-hearted as our actions show but because as my friend J rightly said, ‘Samaritans are treated like criminals in Nigeria’
It has become so bad that often times a body can be left to decompose for days on a major street with people walking by, holding their noses but no one willing to take responsibility and in the process be victimised. 😦

I saw an accident yesterday evening that had me almost in tears and thoroughly shaken up. There were three victims on the road, unconscious and injured. It happened in the market so a crowd had gathered, more than a 100 people around the victims, shouting and recounting and wailing but no one was doing anything. A young cadet barely a soldier who looked like he was fresh out of his teens asked bus driver after bus driver for help to move the victims to the hospital but each driver sadly refused. The accident had been a hit and run by a bus similar to theirs and the victims didn’t look like they would survive so no one wanted to get involved because the police would detain and rough-handle the kind stranger as a prime suspect since he would be the only lead they had. It had happened so many times before…

Even as a doctor, my hands were tied. It was so sad. All I had in my bag was a stethoscope and I wasn’t about to attempt being superman. I had worked in Luth and witnessed agberos turning on doctors and even getting violent when they failed to perform magic and that was in a health facility, how much more on a street. I was in the middle of a rowdy market with a throng of people and I mentally calculated what I could do to help and it wasn’t significant. An ambulance had been called already and the victims moved to the side of the road so I continued on my journey, feeling guilty and upset but at the same time knowing that doing more there and then would have been foolhardy. It got me thinking…

In some countries around the world, there are laws called ‘Good Samaritan laws’. These are laws or acts protecting those who choose to serve and tend to others who are injured or ill. They are intended to reduce bystanders’ hesitation to assist, for fear of being sued or prosecuted for unintentional injury or wrongful death while assisting the victim and protect them from being blamed for the accident and harassed as suspects before the offenders are accosted.
Such laws generally do not apply to medical professionals’ or trained emergency responders’ on-the-job conduct, but some extend protection to professional rescuers when they are acting in a volunteer capacity.

In some jurisdictions, unless a caretaker relationship (such as a parent-child or doctor-patient relationship) exists prior to the illness or injury, or the “good Samaritan” is responsible for the existence of the illness or injury, no person is required to give aid of any sort to a victim and this has become the common practise in Nigeria. The police do not act like these laws exist so the people have conditioned their minds to not give aid since it could backfire.

Good Samaritan statutes in some countries, require a person at the scene of an emergency to provide reasonable assistance to a person in need. This assistance may be to render first aid, rescue the victim from further harm or call 911 or in our case, Lagos State Emergency Medical Service (LASEMS) or Lagos State Ambulance Service (LASAMBUS) to call 123 (or 933 for MTN subscribers in Lagos and Abuja). Violation of the duty-to-assist subdivision is a petty misdemeanour in other parts of the world and may warrant a fine of up to $100 in places like Vermont.

Pre-hospital emergency medical care, the provision of prompt and effective communication among ambulances and hospitals, and safe and effective care and transportation of the sick and injured are essential public health services and the government should work towards encouraging the average Nigerian to take action at an accident scene instead of just looking on, arms folded or on their heads. We need to celebrate heroes and not punish them like common criminals.

This post will not be complete if I do not mention that where the good Samaritan laws apply, there are exceptions. In the absence of imminent peril, the actions of a rescuer may be perceived by the courts to be not worthy of protection. To illustrate, a motor vehicle collision occurs, but there is no fire, no immediate life threat from injuries and no danger of a second collision. If a ‘good Samaritan’ elects to ‘rescue’ the victim from the wreckage, causing paralysis or some other injury, a court may hold the actions of the rescuer as ‘reckless’ and unnecessary. This is a good point although not practised in Nigeria because sometimes over-eager agberos may cause more harm than good especially in the movement of patients with injury to their spine.

Finally I think it is only right that an officer of the law who witnessed the accident or was called to the scene, accompanies the good Samaritan to protect him from being wrongfully charged for the crime by other law-enforcement agencies and if one is not present, they should wait for an ambulance unless there’s a skilled medical practitioner on the scene or a bunch of witnesses ready to come along and testify to his innocence. Accident cases can be messy and there’s also the issue of settlement of bills for a ‘John Doe’ and the un-ending police questions but still as long as you are not blamed for the crime, think of the inconvenience as worth it because one day it may be you or a loved one lying injured far from home and desperately needing a good Samaritan.

Be thankful for the gift of life, have a lovely day peeps and please drive carefully, your life and the lives of the strangers on the road with you depend on it. xoxoxo 😉

 
4 Comments

Posted by on October 26, 2011 in Inspirational

 

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My Chemical Romance

    A long time ago, people didn’t marry who they loved, they loved who they married…

Sounds like a really, really, really long time ago right? But so many things have gone wrong in our world, and amidst the wars, destruction, economical crises and famine, there’s a new scourge. One that was such a shocker in times past but is now almost like pure water. Divorce!

People don’t plan to get divorced or so they think but what I’ve always pointed out is that you don’t get a brain transplant after you say ‘I do’.

In our grand parent’s time, there weren’t things like relationships in the way we look at it today. There were courtships. A man looked and looked, till he saw what he wanted and then courted her for an acceptable period and then they got married and after that, however she turned out, he was stuck with her. He sometimes added a new wife but never ever disposed of the former unless she was adulterous or tried to kill him. 🙂

Courtship wasn’t a trial and error phase. It wasn’t a time to test the goods and after eating half the food on the plate, reject the meal that was served. No! Courtship was a time to prepare for a life together. To get acquainted with each other’s families, to become your intended’s friend, to develop a love that was a product of a decision already made. They weren’t hasty, no. They did their homework, asking people who interacted with the woman about her because back in the days, men were wise… They knew that a woman who was openly being courted would hide her flaws and mask her true nature.They knew better than to try and discover her true character for themselves. Instead they watched her from afar, let her be in her natural habitat, saw her relationship with the world. And if they liked what they saw, they made a move.

The women had many suitors, they’d stand and talk for hours and though the men begged for a little more of their time and affection, they carefully guarded their hearts till they found one that they could trust. They asked questions, they sought counsel. They watched him at work and watched him at play. Wanting to be sure that he was a man they could love and submit to, a man worthy of their respect. There was no compulsion to tell the world that they belonged to a man who had not made his intentions clear or known. Being his ‘girlfriend’ was not a craved-for title. They selected a partner based on what was important to them. If their heart was set on material things, then they picked the wealthiest of the lot and if their heart was a romantic one, they picked the one who made their heart glad but it was a process. And it was made very clear to them that they had to stick to their decision.

Fast forward to the 21st century…men and women are in a constant hurry. A man picks a woman based on three things. Her looks, the sexual chemistry and the facade she puts up as her personality. He doesn’t care to dig deeper before he commences because he either isn’t ready for a long term commitment or feels that if she is all wrong, he can start over like a great gamble till he finally gets lucky. Even when he asks about her, the questions would not make it into a standard personality assessment test. They questions are cliche…What do you do for fun? What are your likes and dislikes? What turns you on? What’s your Biodata? Every sharp woman knows the sensible answers to these questions. I could morph from reverend sister to intelligent nerd to fun, feisty girl at the drop of a hat depending on who or what was at stake. All eyes on the prize! Women are no better. When money isn’t our driving factor, then we focus on his looks and even when we claim a depth above the average woman and focus on his character, our limited senses don’t unravel even a hair’s breath of information about a new beau before we jump in, head first. And we have a perfect excuse for our foolhardy haste….an entity called LOVE 🙂

People say ‘you cannot help who you fall in love with‘ and yes you cannot help the release of endorphins from your brain or the Oxytocin that gives you butterflies…These hormones work in sync with your limbic system, giving you the ‘high’ we call love. But where is that love some months down the line when you cannot stand to look at your ex? or when you walk away from a woman you once claimed to love, without batting an eyelid? If truly we have progressed over the centuries and developed a society that makes love the guiding principle for its copulation rather than a pairing of people with similar structural and social encoding then why is divorce so rampant? Could it be that a chemical romance parading as sexual attraction has totally redefined what we call love? Why risk all on a love that could in time, change to indifference and hate if subjected to the right amount of pressure?

Wouldn’t it make more sense to be with someone whom you had developed a genuine friendship with, one who knew you in and out, your flaws and virtues and then allowed the love to blossom? Than to love a perfect stranger only to realize you couldn’t live with his/her flaws. When a person takes his time, it is assumed that he is dull,has options, or too much shakara. Everyone is quick to swallow the eager fish only to be in agony when the bones get stuck in their throat. The average woman has dated four men by the time she is married and slept with a bit more than that. Every time she changed relationships, the excuses were the same. He cheated or they weren’t feeling the love anymore or they grew apart or there were storms they couldn’t weather or she discovered something new about him she couldn’t live with etc. We do the same thing every time but expect a different outcome. And then she gets married, already used to leaving at the first sign of trouble and you expect it will be different this time? Marriage isn’t much different, the storms are pretty much the same, the only difference is you can’t jump ship when there’s a storm. Seems like everyone is forgetting this. The men even more than the women. Now pastors are getting divorced, senators are getting divorced, beggars are getting divorced… Haba! Only celebrities used to get divorced back in the day…

Here are the top ten reasons for divorce worldwide:

– Disagreements on financial issues concerning bills, debts, spending, budgets, savings and wife’s earnings.

– Inability to discuss/disagree/dialogue without conflict/misunderstandings/boredom. Poor communication prior to marriage will escalate after tying the knot.

– Problems with sexual frequency, quality, and infidelity. Sex before marriage to ‘test the goods’ has not been shown to reduce this in anyway.

– Physical, Psychological, or Emotional Abuse towards spouse or children.

– Growing distant, disinterested, and eventually bored with each other. This often occurs if you were never friends and have nothing in common except the love you share. When the love wanes you find yourself cohabiting with a stranger.

– Differences in ethnicity, religion and culture. Couples may find themselves being pressured by the expectations of their spouse, or their spouse’s family to conform to the ideals of the other.

Disputes over the appropriate upbringing of a child. If you were brought up by indulging parents and your spouse was brought up by disciplinarians, your child rearing styles may clash and be criticized.

– Addictions; An addiction is an acquired compulsion to repeatedly engage in an activity, putting it before everything else, to the point that it negatively affects other priorities and prevents you from spending quality time together. It may include food, gambling, drugs and alcohol, the Internet, games, porn, your career/job, religious activities, partying, football etc

– Disillusionment: The ability to adapt to changes in married life often depends on having realistic expectations about a spouse and the marriage relationship itself. It is common for disillusionment to set in when romantic or other unrealistic expectations are not met. Marriage is not an escape from your life or a ticket out of poverty, like all beds of roses, it has its thorns.

– Personality clashes: marriage seems to amplify faults and personality incompatibilities may lead to a divorce.

If you have these areas covered before jumping in, it could save you a divorce and eventually, less children will suffer the psychological effects of a broken home. Patience is key, it is better to study a person well before committing. Hurrying into a relationship will lead to more heartbreaks and result in more cases of commitment phobia. Take your time, Do your homework! Save a marriage today! 🙂

Have a bomb-free week and a fabulous holiday….xoxoxo 😉

 
18 Comments

Posted by on August 29, 2011 in Hall of Fame, Relationships

 

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