gods

Man has always had the urge to look up to someone and he always has, but to every rule there is an exception and atheists have always been. But in recent years, God seems to be on the decline as some people request He is “kept out” of public occasions. The church population seems to be reducing worldwide and only few of those in the church still experience true fellowship.

So what has the focus of man’s urge turned to?

Man! Man believes he is god.

Well not always himself, as certain organisations believe, but he believes in other men that have done significant things and those “other men” themselves believe they are gods based on the things they have been able to achieve and through those that believe in them. Why share the praise and glory with someone who hasn’t been proven, who doesn’t exist, who never speaks back, and who didn’t actually do the work, which is a creation of men to keep other men in line?

These humans are on top of the world as defined by their achievement, influence, wealth, character and all the good things of life. They are the envy of those who wish to be in their shoes, the idols of those who worship them, the mentors of those fortunate to be chosen by them and thus we assign to them some of the characteristics of God, one of which is perfection.

But that’s just it. We expect perfection of them but yet we can’t wait to see their human side. One moment, Jay Z is the man, the next Solange attacked him and we want to see trouble in paradise. We even have stations like E! Entertainment dedicated to the lives of these people, both the good and the bad. They discuss bizarre facts about them. How they live, what they wear and eat, what they drive and other mundane habits.

It’s one of man’s many contradictions when he lifts up a man just so he could wait eagerly to watch him fall. It’s a continuous circle and there is never a dull moment. We enjoy watching the come up, are cheering fans at times of crisis as long as we still like them and we enjoy the mess that’s made when they come tumbling down uncontrollably.

We always win don’t we? But who suffers?

They say it’s easier to pull a man down than for him to pull you up. It’s the same way a man who molests his daughter can point fingers at Michael Jackson’s child molestation case, the same way drunks can point at popular alcoholics, and same way cheats point at cheating footballers and so on.

ME_175_FingerPoint22

But it’s funny because all it takes is for you to gain some sort of popularity and then your life gets put under the microscope for all to see. So I wonder why we point one finger towards the gods we made when three fingers point back to us. Why can’t we face ours and leave them to live their lives? Why can’t our fanaticism stop on the field or on the stage or on the pulpit or on the platforms? Why do we pursue after people who just want some privacy when not working? Why do we clean out their closets for them?

Please share own thoughts on this contradictory topic.

Advertisements

Google: Friend or Foe?

I don’t like Google! It’s that simple! I have always sparred with my brother and a few friends as to how aggressive I think they are in their expansion pursuits. But it’s always about the fact that their products are very functional, but I always wondered how they went from search engine on this apparent journey to world power! Even people gave them free promotion with the common phrase “Go ask Google”.

I should state here that I use an android and opened a Gmail when I got it. It also came with a YouTube and Google+ accounts which I don’t  actively use. I just wonder how they can be curbed from their rapid growth. Don’t get me wrong, I value their functionality and admit their products are an essential aspect of life as it is but there are other concerns apart from these facts. Apart from some articles I read on their acquisition of a robotics company and work with the U.S. Army, I never had facts to use. Well I did find a detailed article on the issue and thought to share. Do you think they are friends, potential foes or what? Do read the article in the link and share your thoughts. Thanks.

http://www.businessinsider.com/the-information-google-is-gathering-about-us-is-terrifying-2014-6

Nigeria and her Music, Two of a kind

“…nowadays nobody speaks about, the way they feel about things…and nowadays nobody thinks about a way to ease the suffering”, lyrics from Lighthouse family’s 1998 single “Question of faith”. Lyrics that still ring true till this day, talk about ever green. Or is it Nneka’s 2005 single from her EP of the same name, The Uncomfortable Truth, where she sings “Let us make a change, why can’t we turn the page, Lord make us able, without you we are totally unstable”. I suppose we might also consider Sade’s “Sweetest taboo”, Seal’s “Kiss from a Rose”, Asa’s “Jailer” or the numerous works of Fela. Music by Nigerians, either in terms of lyrics, composition, vocals or production has always been beautiful especially when fostered in an enabling environment. By music I mean songs that are not just songs but are songs that are full and by full I mean songs that are timeless, that have essence, moods, life and carry substantial messages. But what do we have today? Bogus monotonic compositions from contemporary artists who possess little or no originality. Talk about originality when an artist writes a song about water and makes it a hit! Fela did!  But we have caricature songs that sample from and were inspired by great artists and then watered down to reduce the concentration of music in it. Danceable, chant able, remixed concepts, money, cars, girls, fame; cliché!

But what’s good for the goose is good for the gander right? At times when I hear stories of “Old Nigeria”, I find it hard to believe how far down the ladder we are. Old folks talk about a time when goods were left outside with prices on them, and people would buy and sell with little or no supervision. They talk about a time when you could leave your house without bothering to lock your doors; they talk about the times when Nigerians abroad could close down malls just to shop. They all seem like fairytales when you come up in a time like this where it’s hard to trust even your own brother. Oil came and we forgot everything else. States queue for their share of the budget and I wonder, what happened to state internal revenue? Why aren’t states responsible for the provision of power? Politicians run the nation as they deem fit without caring to maximise its resources. Along the line someone got greedy and all those that were aware, said nothing and that single seed grew and is still flourishing till today. As your president said, Nigeria is not poor; our problem is in the distribution of wealth.

A lot of the time I relate the state of Nigeria to its music. Are they not a matching pair? Nigeria’s main source of revenue is from Oil, the main genre of music is “Afrobeat” or “Afro-pop” or whatever you call it. Ever heard people say a certain thing would not work in Nigeria, say a new law that is standard in a lot of places around the world because it doesn’t fit us here? Ever heard a Nigerian say a song is good and they like it just that the person won’t sell here? Why won’t the new law work if they decide to follow it and encourage others? Why won’t that “good” artist sell if they decide to purchase good music and spread the word?

Nigeria is blessed with various resources, every type you can think of, but we don’t invest in minds, don’t invest in research, won’t actively use our steel or other mineral resources, won’t invest in renewable energy , won’t invest in agriculture and tourism or any other resource as we should. Why aren’t we producing when we have the capacity to do so? Why do foreigners have to make those investments? We have narrowed it down to crude oil and that’s that! Why don’t we have more genres? Soul? Rock? House? Alternative? I mean we listen to songs like that from foreign artists, why not encourage our local artists to be diverse? Why don’t we have more clearly defined genres as opposed to diluting everything with “Afrobeat”? Why isn’t afrobeat, our very own internationally recognised genre, on the radio? Why do Femi and Seun Kuti release their albums outside Nigeria? Why should foreigners get to listen to them and not us?

 2014-06-15 23.30.33

The giant of Africa? Sure! In retrospect! We just talk in this country, but no truth or action in those words. Everyone has the solution to the problem but somehow the problem persists. Could it be because we don’t do accordingly? I mean we have a rich proverbial history but somehow we don’t update and apply it. Where are our poets? Where is our art? Where is our history written so we don’t forget? Who reveals the truth of the past and the lessons we must learn from them? But our music is better! Introspective and intellectual, you can learn from it. It takes you away and addresses your mood. If you are feeling sad, you have a companion! Heartbroken? You have something soothing. Afraid? You have something motivational. Calm? You have something down tempo. But alas I lie! The artist said he is inspired by life? He lies as well! The words in most songs are just empty, improvised with no particular direction? Where are the concepts? The structure? The vision? The passion? The talent? The words? Life? But then I suppose my life is a boring one, as that of a lot of the others seems to consist primarily of money, women, cars, parties, alcohol and the likes.

Politicians can bring ridiculous laws and implement it without even a cough from us, no wonder they ridicule us. How does a human use billions to maintain 2 private jets while the masses lack education and the basic amenities? How does a leader seek pay after public office without considering the repercussion on his state’s treasury? Oh but leadership is the new royalty hence we call them “your Excellency” and make no complains! Creativity is when you can form words from nothing in particular that elicits excitement from people who are looking for an escape from their hardships. Creative licence is when an artist can say “In the middle of the center” and come off appraised. No well crafted verses, no content, no figures of speech, just chants. Well as Modenine said on his 2008 song “Hip Hop “, “I mean it when I say your whole album is a chorus”.

Nigeria is a country with so much potential. With the developing countries slowing down, we should lead Africa in the race to catch up and even exceed what has been done but we have decided to operate at 10% efficiency, or do you estimate it’s less? Our crops and culture is being stolen from right under us and we could care less. It’s our way of doing things and however wrong it is, we hold steadfast to it. Talk about dedication to destruction. But music is life, and when I see Nigeria, I see its music, and I wonder if we really are alive? How many people really learnt from Fela? How many people really learnt from Onyeka Onwenu?

Sigh, would I sound like a conspiracy theorist if I propose that Nigerian music might be fashioned to keep us dumbed down? A means to help us be consoled in our misery while the elites plunder our resources? After all a documentary I saw recently said the system of the world is made by the rich for the rich. But hey! Maybe things are getting better, at least on the BRT buses, it’s usually not the case of “49 sitting, 99 standing” as Fela sang. What do you think?

Why assume? Just ask!

(So he thought Musa won’t tell me abi?)

(I bet he doesn’t know that it’s not how long but how well)

(He doesn’t know Musa is closer to me)

(How dare he go behind my back and discuss our little disagreement with Musa of all people!)

(He had the audacity to say bad things about me to someone unimportant)

(It’s my fault, I have been nice hence him taking me for granted)

(Anyway he would soon be here)

(I would see how he would wriggle out of this one)

 

Few minutes later…

“Hello Ronke”

Silence…

“Ronke, hi”

Silence…

(She seems rather deep in thought, I hope all is well)

(Or could it be because of our recent misunderstanding?)

Slight tap on her shoulder…

“Ronke are you alright?”

“I’m fine”

“You seemed lost in thought, is everything alright?”

Raises voice slightly…

“I said I’m fine!”

“I heard you it’s just that I know you well enough to know when something is wrong”

(Ehen? See me see trouble o, is it by force?)

“But I have said nothing is wrong, or do you want something bad to happen?”

“No! It’s just; is this about our recent misunderstanding?”

“What about it? Please it’s too small an issue to fuss over”

 

(Hmmm I’m confused)

(If she is not upset about it then what could be the issue and why is she refusing to say?)

(Well when she is ready to talk she will)

(I came here to relax and I won’t let anyone spoil my fun)

“Its fine, let me go say hi to the other people, just thought to check on you first”

Silence…

He leaves to chat up other people at the get together…

(If you like don’t check on me at all, you haven’t seen anything yet, good riddance!)

 

The two spend the rest of the night mingling with friends but never each other

Ronke leaves unusually early to avoid Chike talking to her again

Chike notices this few minutes later and concludes it was because of him she left

He is upset that she is blowing the little matter out of proportion

He decides he won’t call her till she makes first contact and apologises for her behaviour

She waits for him to come over and beg her to tell him what’s wrong

The two don’t speak for the next few days

They don’t speak the next few weeks

They don’t speak for a couple of months…

 

The two ultimately get busy and forget about each other, getting lost in the works of life…

A few years later they meet at a function

Each tries to remember why they stopped talking but can’t seem to

Regardless they still feel upset and neither talks to the other

They both leave the function with nostalgia

They both go on to lead separate lives each remembering the other every now and then…

 

 not-talking1

It’s often said that the person who cares less has the power in the relationship. This mind set has led a lot of emotional people to be conscious about their relationships. They magnify every little detail in order to protect themselves and thus they end up making assumptions. These assumptions usually grow into something bizarre and when fuelled by emotions, the individual begins to believe these cooked up thoughts to the point of searching for evidence to support their made up theories which eventually may become their reality. As blunt as it may sound, this in fact is not too far from an episodic psychosis.

Remember, every wildfire starts from a little spark. In a time where the trend is to tell people what they want to hear regardless of its substance of truth, people often build on assumptions just for it all to collapse on the foundation of deceit. They then take those failures into other relationships. Sadly, this often puts them in a situation where they might mess up something good by applying the lessons they learnt from something bad.

“Assumption is the mother of all screw ups”

Simply put, DON’T make assumptions. Just ask! It might be your fault, the other person’s fault, either your faults or even a simple misunderstanding but only speaking up would clear that up.

If only Ronke swallowed her pride and spoke up, maybe they would have had reparation and held on to their friendship.

The little things that do matter

Certain things amaze me, like how Terry keeps his bat suit in his school bag in the batman of the future series, or how Tony Starks keeps that magnificent suit with all its special effects in a “simple” suitcase. It’s fascinating seeing big things coming out of “small” people, actions, events and what have you. It gives hope and courage to a lot of people who often end up achieving more things than they ever thought they could. Ask any successful person and they would tell you how a little step led to a lot or a little persistence paid off big time.

ironmantwo10

On the counter, it’s frightening how something so small could command a lot more than it should. Our beloved country is full of such and these are a constant source of frustration for the social and economical growth of the society.

Let me start from a recent event where in a friend attended a wedding in what should be a regularly occupied event centre. Of course due to the poor urban planning of Lagos, finding adequate parking space in a city where social events like weddings are usually “packed” was out of the question and hence people resorted to parking at the side of what could be called a busy street. My friend had parked at a spot where some FRSC officials told her was “safe”. Allegedly the host of the event hadn’t “settled” the local LASTMA operatives and as such they decided to assert their authority and seize some “illegally” parked vehicles. As expected the fine was ridiculous in relation to the “crime” and the circumstance surrounding it. But what also caught my attention is the fact that the car tires were deflated immediately upon arrival by a vulcanizer within the premises. He would have to be paid for the tires to be inflated before one leaves. Why should the tires of impounded vehicles be deflated at all and why is inflation to be paid for by the “victim”? These could be at low as N40 on the streets but could be up to N100 per tire.

Another case of interest is that of university hostels. These hostels unfortunately cannot accommodate everyone and as such should ideally be prioritised for the new students, final year students and then students who live outside the state or at distant locations. In reality this is not the case. We find that most times, the final year and new students get hostels but the allocation of the remaining space is left unaccounted for. People eventually have to use backdoor means which are more expensive than the “moderate” fees one pays for hostel accommodation. They get the impression that the spaces have all been fully allocated and it’s apparent the spaces can’t be gotten through the legal channels. What they then resort to is finding “agents” who help process hostel spaces for them. Of course this is usually after several weeks of resumption where they have had to attend school from distant locations on a daily basis or had to squat with someone fortunate to have a space. Of course outside school accommodation is an option but not everyone can afford them. Consequently the moderate price tag attached to hostel accommodation rises in multiples. Why apply for a hostel one doesn’t want when they can leave it for those who NEED it?

Do I hear it’s simply simple economics of supply and demand? Do I hear inflation?

1395789205619

What of the case whereby people ask for incentives just to do their jobs? Like the cleaners or guards in public and private establishments? Places where certain privileges ordinarily expected come with a price. We pay taxes and then pay for the people who live off our taxes, and apparently might not be performing up to par on the job, to still do their jobs. There are those as well who just expect a more fortunate individual to hand them money just because they are more fortunate.

Do I hear corporate begging?

It’s funny how ingenious people feel when they devise a means, legal or illegal, to get money they didn’t morally work for. But who is deceiving who really? Just as a friend put it, “Its exploitation and not exploration”. The issue is that where there is illegitimate gain, there simply is a loss somewhere else. Is the economy growing? Is money being made where value is offered? Or are we just accelerating the movement of money where money is “made” with no apparent value created?

 1400412227864

But these are small issues that sum up to a large deficit. Of course an even larger example of this sort of instance is one where less than 500 people serving a country are paid about 25% of its budget for a job that’s horribly done. Where is the value for which they are paid?

We need to stop praising mediocrity, we all have to work for what we deserve and do our best to increase Nigeria’s income as opposed to creating a false sense of value. Remember what is of excessive value is of no value at the end of the day (context).

Do share any similar experiences or views. Thanks.