I retired at 26.

John Urschel Img culled from the Ravens site. 
“. . .I retired at 26!” John Urschel at 26 years old is retiring from the NFL! I had to imagine what he will tell his children.
I don’t watch the NFL but his story caught my attention; like I can’t keep calm. See my mate is already retiring at the height of his game, and I am here still being counted as an unemployed statistics?
Well, I don’t know what sleepless nights he had so I can’t say that I am angry, far be it from me to be angry. Like I am impressed, I don’t know the man but he has my respects already and I am going to Google him and read about him now.
The former Baltimore Ravens player, retired from the game to follow another passion, his PhD in mathematics at MIT.
If I tell people in Nigeria that they can do both sports and school, they will look at me like a mad maniac.
I wish John Urschel all the happiness in his future endeavors and if I weren’t already 26 and definitely not a maths prodigy, I would have said “John, I want to be like you when I grow up.”
Oh, and from this I also learnt that I can love more than 1 thing and I can do them all.
Don’t mind me, I used to tell my father what I learnt after Sunday school.
Have a wonderful weekend.
If you’re not thinking of retiring at 26, start thinking about it.

Friend for all my moods

Some days ago, I was in a keke leaving Terminus market in Jos on my way to the Polo ground area, when I heard a young man bemoaning to his compadre how his now erstwhile friends had abandoned him because he was now out of a job.
“. . . I used to send money to those greedy leeches, I practically put Kim on a monthly stipend, and now that he has that NPower job, he hasn’t picked any of my calls and I haven’t seen a dime from him.”
I was all ears on his matter, no need to remind me, I like gossip gan. I forgot temporarily about my unpaid light bill and my fearful anticipations of the men from the electricity company to come for my wire with a plier.
The man told tales of how he had supported his friends through their own terms of unemployment, he remembered with nostalgia how he had helped Simi with money to buy the State Civil Service form some years ago and now she was working in one government office oblivious to his plight and pleas.
I didn’t spend up to 10 minutes with the man but I knew that he had been working in Abuja with a private company until late last year, he had friends named Kim, Simi,  Matthew and Mafulul.
He was now unemployed, forgotten by his former friends, and his rent had been unpaid for the past 2 months, he was thinking of going back to Riyom but the rainy season could not be taken advantage of anymore by a prospective farmer as the rains were already here and he was unsure if his old farming skills will come back now that he needed them the most.
 “The shifts of fortune test the reliability of friends.” Cicero
I think it’s odd how human beings tell their life stories to absolute strangers. Personally, I think it’s good remedy because the odds of us meeting and me remembering your face is extremely slim, and you don’t know me that well to judge me in the way people who know me would.
As we neared Standard junction, the man on the other side who our weeping friend was talking to, I assumed was his friend. Paid for all our fares and told the man “don’t be scared of starting all over again. Be wary of the people you call friends.” With that, he gingerly dropped from the keke and pressed one #500 note into the man’s hands before crossing to the other side of the road, without waiting for the tear shocked man to say “Thank you”.
“Only enemies speak the truth; friends and lovers lie endlessly, caught in the web of duty.” Stephen Edwin Kind
As the keke eased into traffic, the man recovering from his shock said “Abun mamaki! Da ga Adam ban ta ba waye shi ba ama ya yi mun alheri”. I have a minor problem, interpreting this from Hausa to English, but I think it means “A thing of surprise! I don’t know this man from Adam but he has done me grace”.
I don’t want to brag being a Jos boy and all, but that is what Jos is about. Giving totally cryptic words of encouragement!
The rest of the journey was pretty much uneventful as the man whose name I didn’t hear sat quietly brooding. I reached my stop, and walked away knowing that my bill had been paid for by a total stranger.
Oh, I didn’t have any wiser words to impart on him or a fistful of Naira to thrust at him with closed fist so I went away rather quickly.
I tried thinking about the man’s predicament, well that didn’t go far as my mind went to my unpaid bill, and a phrase that I had not remembered in a while came to me. “Money go build him house for inside rock” from the book Chike and the River.
“True friends … face in the same direction, toward common projects, interests, goals.” C S Lewis
Me? I want a friend like Samwise Gamgee the brave from Lord of the Rings. That’s not too much to ask now is it?

Nigeria has a Labour Party!

I was shocked when I saw that there was a Labour Party in Nigeria! Imagine! It was founded in 2002 and does not currently have a seat in either the Senate, House or any Governorship position!

Talk about losing on a national level. Let’s just say that my dissapointment is not at the party, but on those who observe National Strikes when Labour9 calls for it. Don’t look at me, I don’t observe strikes, mother makes us clean the whole house so it’s just another day with hard labour.

Initially, I wanted to ask why the sometimes disruptive Nigeria Labour Congress was not politically active considering the influence in number it wields, until I stumbled upon this horrendous piece of information and I decided not to ask knowing that you cannot save a damsel who loves her distress.

Who would have thought that the genie with the power of bringing the country to its knees with one word “STRIKE” in its lamp, would be left so dormant and defunct like the dying industries in the country?

It all makes sense now. Nobody is really interested about creating jobs, building factories or improving the standard of living in the country.

They assume that fighting for the increase in the minimum wage of workers and increasing salaries would increase the standard of living. That assumption over the years has been proven to be erroneous by events.

So all that talk about protecting and having the interest of the people na for mouth? All that greater good talk that involves fancy words like: fighting for the enforcement of labour protection, participation in the formulation of policies that are labour oriented and enforcement of labour laws in the country amongst several other things are all prayers that will not go higher than the height of a 2 year old child? #ShakingMyHead

I used to wonder why they only complain about salaries when a new administration is coming in, now I leave the wondering to Wonder Woman because I know that they do that just so they can throw their weight around a little, they only bark that they have power but no bite to show their power, unless when they resort to their only weapon “Strike” which is slowly loosing it’s sting, look at the pathetic story of LAUTECH and tell me that going on strike is the right thing to do.

When they are experiencing leadership tussles they go on media and whine like little girls until one of them can be pacified with a better position by the government in power. That’s the only time their voice is heard.

I now believe that if you want to be heard in Nigeria, you have to be loud and lousy like a lot of our people in positions. Lie and counter lie about each other in public, but laugh and dine together at night while tearing through succulent pieces of turkey.

Except of course our dear old Labour union which cackles like a chicken that laid an asteroid when it is shouting about salaries and their voice is never heard afterwards until their meal made of maize and chaff is delayed.

Opposition is no longer about constructive criticism and proferring ways for the nation as a whole to forge ahead; nope! It’s now about grinding the country to a stop at the detriment of all.

Have you noticed the mundane times in which Pressure associations like the NLC, ASUU, NUPENG amongst others go on strike? You haven’t? Little known fact, attention seeking.

Dear Labour and other pressure groups that like coming and disrupting things. If you really have the interest of workers and your members at heart, go and float a party and advance your course; or better yet, go and join the Labour Party and create foundations built on protecting your values.

The Labour Party does not have internal struggles that I have heard of, their ideology would definitely be Labour oriented and they don’t have money for dash and stealing so all your efforts will go to actual national interest. Except of course they win and start stealing without putting any industrial structures on ground.

I will not participate in any strike (not that I have voluntarily participated in any) until you join the rank of decision makers and stop throwing temper tantrums when your wishes are not met.

There is always a better solution to striking and one of those is engaging in politics. If your reasons for not voting the Labour Party is because of the likes of a certain Comrade who owed salary for over 8 months, then I don’t blame you.

I am only an accidental worker who is unemployed and pointing 10 accusing fingers at those who were supposed to lay down a structure for me and are now blaming me for not being ready for the structure of the labour force. They say I should gain experience but they don’t want to give it to me.

Welcome To The World

Congratulations are in order. I celebrate this mile marker you are crossing and I am proud of you.

“Now you are going into the wider world…”, on my graduation from Secondary school, I heard this phrase from pretty much every keynote speaker who I had the pleasure or was it displeasure? of listening to. It was like one of those poorly rehearsed speeches and badly coined phrases to deter me from getting the experience.

I didn’t at the time understand what they meant, and I didn’t want to think too much of it, but the phrase stuck in my head and it was reinforced by another thought. I went around with the notion of a wider world without fully appreciating it’s meanings.

I don’t know if it has been said to you, but today, allow me to join the ranks of the boringly cliche, slightly older people, who will use a phrase as abstract as it can get without much care of explaining myself. “Welcome to the wider world”!

In your case, I know you fellas are smart, you now have the World Wide Web! If that doesn’t pass as one of the supreme manifestation of our cliches of welcoming you into the world then what can I say?

As you gear up for life after school, let me encourage you to do things that you love doing. Read as much as you can cause you’re going to have some time at the moment. Visit friends, we should never substitute the importance of personal meeting over internet connection, and learn a trade.

Learn a skill! Don’t say I didn’t warn you! Go and learn a trade! It is not beneath your status as a secondary school graduate to learn tailoring or carpentry or barbing.

In case you haven’t noticed already, another phrase is going to become all too familiar in the coming days, “there is no money” or several other variations of the phrase. There really is no money, the country is in a recession and things are not looking all to bright.
If there’s going to be a time for you to learn frugality, this is going to be it.

I know you know about the slay queen trend, melanin beauty and the sort; which in my opinion only tries to appeal to your baser form of humanity, to make you think more about your shape and color of your body other than your value as a human.
You are beautiful just as you are, when you grow older, you will know that what you thought was a flaw will be one of your biggest asset.
I can assure you of this.

I know school prepared you for getting admission immediately after graduation; well some might have favour shine upon them and others will still have to wait for God’s plan for them. Don’t get sad if your plans don’t fit in together as you anticipated, we are humans after all, we propose plans but God in his ways determines them.

I am sure you have observed my constant use of God’s name? Well, it’s one of those things you come to enjoy doing. At first it will sound forced when mother makes you go to church on the weekdays for Bible study; then you discover youth fellowship and other events, I hope you fellowship in the right manner and not do the fellowship of the illegitimate.

I am not limiting my use of “God” in this context to mean only that of the Christian faith, our number 1 public enemy in Nigeria is religion. As much as I want you to have faith in something, I do not want you to carry that fanatic flair around and wave it like a magic wand when you don’t get your wish.

At this stage, I want you to know that all your actions have consequences, I know you are an impressionable young fellow and you have your “I Know” moments. Let’s just say that if those “I know” moments clash with that of mom or dad too often, you might want to reconsider that which you think you know.

I want you to be brave, brave enough to be honest to yourself. Brave enough to speak out when a wrong has been committed against you. Brave enough to ask for what you want and to work hard for what you want.
Be brave to stand up for others,which is the ultimate manifestations of bravery.

I want you to be confident, people don’t like confidence in young people, but I pray that for your sake, you be confident. There’s a slight boundary between being rude and being confident, thread that line with caution.

I pray you find something you love doing and make a passion out of it. I think your school prepared you for the blue collar jobs, what they failed to tell you was that the world no longer has space for blue collars. The only blue collar you will see are on Facebook and Twitter.

As you proceed from here, I want you to categorically know that our world is an evil place, and nobody is shielding you anymore. People who are close to you may try to rape and take advantage of you, some will steal from you, and others will want to use you for money rituals. God forbid! I know, but I want you to be careful of being too trusting. Don’t trust me as well, I have my moments of human weakness.

As much as I will always love and try to protect you, I do not have the eyes of God and my sight is limited. You however may be in a situation which can get sticky or out of hand. Follow your instincts.

I have a lot I want to tell you, but your keynote speaker has that daunting task. Today I am here, watching you morph into the beautiful person you were born to be, I don’t have tears in my eyes and I can’t say how excited I am at not having to seat through one of those boring PTA meetings your school so brazenly uses to vexs us all.

“Every day brings a chance to live free of regret and with as much joy, fun, and laughter as you can stand.” Oprah Winfrey

Finally, dear slay queens you now have stiff competition from the young and eager.

Importantly, let love lead the way. Find peace and happiness in your endeavors, don’t be too serious, smile, be youthful and exuberant, read a few good books, learn about politics and economics, you will thank me later.

Morning and Work

​Waking up in the morning is usually tough business for me, considering that I just woke up from a near death experience, and I can’t take any consolation in knowing what happened within that time frame. If I need a reason to pray, it’s the sole reason I do mine in the morning.

I used to go jogging after prayers, emphasis on the “used to” don’t ask me why I stopped. But It had to do with the finding of the body of a dead jogger some years ago and I can’t really say if that’s the reason or it’s the Jos weather that made me lazy. Look, cold silver droplets of rain has been threatening the skies.

Anyways, I am not a morning person. I drink tea to start my day, yet I am permanently exhausted. I scroll through Twitter and Instagram like devotion, post “Happy Birthday” messages on Facebook because I detest “HBD’s” and I don’t run even if I am running late.

Mornings are for quiet, peace and coffee

I don’t get how some people wake up all “good morning” and stuff, don’t you want to know what happened in between? Are you not a bit curious?

Oh well, that’s just me. My mornings are taken care of by silhouettes, imaginations and wishful thinking. I strive to appear full of life when I go to work.

If you’re a permanently exhausted person in the morning, try drinking water you might be dehydrated. Heaven knows why that doesn’t work for me.

I have to insist that you take your breakfast even if you are running late. I am sure you have read the story about the indispensable worker who got afflicted with ulcer and died; and someone else took his post. You haven’t? Well too bad, I had an awesome English teacher.

I don’t like you much if you wake up all chirpy and excited in the morning. Don’t mind me, I am a hater and I have no excuse except that you’re a better person than I am.

This is just me wishing you a wonderful day ahead in my own little way.

May the rains pour in their season. May our reasons for not wanting to go to work on a Friday like this come to pass! May we grab the umbrella stationed behind the door and dash out into the rain to do that which makes us happy. I hope you don’t forget your umbrella in the commercial vehicle as I was so fun of doing.
Thank God It’s Raining?
Image from asikdeas.com

Not Too Young To Run

Youthful vigor is a very powerful weapon if wielded appropriately and with good reason especially if freedom and liberty are the reasons.

Sometimes it doesn’t even need to be in the right hands to work, nor does it need a particular individual to succeed.
All It needs I think, is the collective will of the people to rise up and speak. You don’t think the youths have a voice do you?

It brought about the French Revolution, The October revolution of Russia led by the Bolsheviks, The Cuban revolution led by Fidel Castro, The American revolution, The Indian independence, the Arab Spring in recent history, and just on the 5th of February 2017 in Romania, it took only about 250,000 people and 5 days of protesting to get their government to hear and abide by the voice of the people. Most of these was done by Young people

I really thought that this would be the spark we needed as young people.

As Nigerians.

I had high hopes that the will of young people will be heard. Maybe, just maybe.
Alas, it wasn’t and yet we all had a role in watching it water down to a trickle. I salute those who participated in it’s creation, posterity will not remember you, the history books won’t even bare your photo.

For my father’s who were also wrong when they kept quiet while Fela A Kuti told the government that they will hear “pansa pansa” from him. His house was burnt, he was arrested and his family threatened. Yet they only danced to his songs, maybe that should have been the spark.

He was just “one man” I consider him as a youth go and argue with power.

In our generation, we were wrong to have also left only a few people to try. Maybe the sparks come in a generation, if missed the consequences to be borne by all including the children.

One man can be threatened, they took our voice away and they don’t want us to scream. If there was any atmosphere I like, it is the charged feeling brought together by young people with a common thought. That energy can power any nuclear reactor.

As John Quincy Adams 6th President of the United States said, “Individual liberty is individual power, and as the power of a community is a mass compounded of individual powers, the nation which enjoys the most freedom must necessarily be in proportion to its numbers the most powerful nation.”

“We are greater together” G. N. S. Pwajok.

The only lesson to know is that; We as a people need to understand that things are not as they should be and only WE can fix it by demanding.

I won’t say “At least there was a voice”.

I won’t ask why you didn’t think of it.
John Milton said that, “To be given the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience above all liberties does it rank” and for some individuals to stifle a voice that attempted to be heard is a deprivation of the very tenets of freedom and liberty. In essence it is not well with US ALL.

As Benjamin Franklin said “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety”.

If a few old individuals can threaten the security of our collective wish into submission and withdrawal from participating in making decisions that can potentially send us to war; screaming with a voice and demanding for youthful participation, the ideology of youth backed with passion, accountability and improvement in health and economic standards; then gentlemen we are but eagles in a cage chirping freedom while parrots run the skies.

We are not living in times of war yet our right to peaceful assembly, freedom of speech and movements have been curtailed. “. . . dear as freedom is and in my hearts just estimation, prized above all price. . .” William Cooper 1788

Finally, “. . . Let the revolting distinctions of rich and poor disappear once and for all, the distinction of great and small, of masters and valets, of governors and governed. Let there be no other difference between human beings than those of age and sex. Since all have the same faculties, let there be one education for all, one food for all.” Gracchus Francois Noel Babeuf 1760 French Revolutionary.

I protest, even if I do it alone in my room via the Internet.

I protest, that a government that came to power through the voice of young people have turned around and padlocked our lips and threatened our voices.

#IStandWithNigeria #IAmNotTooYoungToRun #IWantToLearnLeadershipThroughParticipation