Sunday, 24 February 2013

From Tasty Fried Chickens to Super Winning Eagles

Nigerians were hoping to see their National team perform remarkably right from the initial stages of the 2013 African’s Cup of Nations (AFCON) football tournament.
To most lovers and analysts of African football, foretelling that Nigeria and Zambia would top their group ahead of Ethiopia and Burkina Faso was a certain prediction.
Based on historical records, chances were high that Nigeria and Zambia would exceed the group stages. However, the millions of Nigerian fans who were watching AFCON 2013 from all around the world were shocked to see events unfold differently. Most of them were grossly disappointed at the poor performance of the Super Eagles as the team played its first two matches.
Photo Credits:
After playing consecutive draws against Zambia and Burkina Faso, the Nigerian Super Eagles were only able to secure two points. This seriously alienated many Nigerians in Lagos city. Disparaging the name Super Eagles,some Nigerians quickly nicknamed our boys Super Tasty Fried Chickens. More derision came from a Super Eagles joke that emerged and permeated the clouds of social media. The original joker had claimed on Facebook and Twitter that 17 years ago, while he was still a kid, he learned Mathematics by having to evaluate the qualification chance of the Nigerian team if helped by the poor performance of their group mates in most football tournaments. Before noon, the joke had swept the network of Nigerians on the internet.
Photo Credits:
Meanwhile a disgruntled fan called to a Lagos radio show to express displeasure after Nigeria drew her group match against Burkina Faso. According to him, he had endured traffic, struggled to buy fuel for his generator, starved himself of his wife’s aromatic dinner and settled down to watch our boys play. Then, as they did against Zambia, the Super Eagles ended the match in a draw, gaining one point from the encounter. The young man was sorely vexed that he lost his appetite for a full wrap of pounded yam served with Ugwu soup. But he was not alone. Many fans were disappointed, and many more could not sustain their interest in the Nigerian team.

However, things turned around in subsequent matches as the Super Eagles exceeded the expectations of most Nigerian fans with consecutive wins. From beating Ethiopia and defeating Mali to evicting the former champions, Ivory Coast, the Super Eagles gained gallant victories into the finals of AFCON 2013 and redeemed their name. Yet in the finals, the Eagles did not hesitate to torture Burkina Faso opponents with a dramatic 1-0 win. That night, all Nigerian fans celebrated the return of the golden cup to Nigeria. In Lagos city, several youths even held various victory parties.
This is the lesson to learn from the experience of the Nigerian Super Eagles in AFCON 2013:
When you want to achieve something and you keep trying with unequalled determination, the process may cost you time and the confidence of special friends; but when you eventually succeed, you will win all of them back and emerge a champion.
This article was first published on Commonwealth's Youth Correspondence web portal under a different title.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Why I Believe God Exists

If you believe God exists and were asked to explain the reason for your belief, what would you say? Would you explain that it’s because your parents hold the same belief and when you were a child they told you, “Up there beyond the skies, someone called God exists.” What if your parents didn’t really know how to explain but couldn’t tell you so? What if they don’t know what to believe themselves?

Truly, there are so many religious groups in the world today and majority of them claim obeisance and belief in divinity or God. In fact, apart from ever-growing memberships on social media portals, the largest groups of people are members of various religious groups. Many of them belief in the existence of God based on individual conviction while many more are either seeking a sense of belonging or scared of choosing otherwise. A relative few may be undecided while the rest may have inherited this belief. But, what about you? If you belief in the existence of God, upon what do you base this belief?

Let me share a non-religious and perhaps scientific dimension to the idea of the existence of God. I recently engaged a non-Christian in a discussion about the smallest unit of life or what scientists refer to as cell and emerged with a series of questions. The answers to the following questions are the reasons why I believe in the existence of God:
  • A minuscule insect, as small as it is, has life. Yet, when it climbs a man’s body and bites him, it tries to run away. Why is it running away? What did it realise after biting the man? What does it think will happen if it gets caught?
  • When a child is born, he does not know what is good or bad. He simply makes choices innocently and learns from what others do. He is born with a brain made up of cells. However, no one ever teaches a child to steal. Stealing is one of the things he must be taught to not do. So, why does a child whose brain can be compared to a relatively empty memory drive, try to steal and then lie? Is he trying to follow an inherent algorithm? Is he trying to exhibit his parent’s genetic traits? If yes, where did his parents and all their ancestors get it from?
  • Man is made up of several cells that function together and born naked. So, why is it wrong to step out of one’s house and walk down the street naked? If man is truly a higher animal, why should he feel ashamed? Why also do some persons called strippers get paid for going naked? Why do others pay to see their nakedness? Where do all these ideas, whether corrupt or good, come from?
  • Where do inspirations come from? All men have similar configurations yet, not all men are inventors. Why do some invent something complex, some invent simple entities and others use or consume their inventions? Who creates this difference? Among inventors, there are those who promote life and those who do otherwise. What makes this so?
  • If cells have life, then where did the life come from? When cells die, where do their lives go to?

Don’t go mad. That is not my intention. I simply believe there is a spirit in every man influencing his decisions. This spirit receives inspiration from elsewhere and influences the behaviour of that man. This spirit sustains life because it is life itself and has an identity called soul. It is this same spirit that is present in insects, snails, elephants, lions, crocodile, flowers, trees and every thing that science says has cell or life. When the spirit leaves, the creature dies away. For me, there is nothing confusing here. If a man and woman would copulate and life would be introduced, then someone must have put it there. Beyond the walls of academic rooms, I reject the theory of evolution and embrace the truth of life. I believe there is God on one side and something else on the other. What do you believe?

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Our Valentine Gift to Singles (2): Fighting Infidelity

What concerned wives say when questioned about their husbands’ unfaithfulness is always associated with giving. They say their men do not give their selves and resources. By “not giving their selves”, they mean the men are:

  • relatively watching too much of football or going out with cliques instead their wives
  • not available to the children when actually needed
  • not helping with the house chores
  • more absent from the bedroom than can be tolerated
  • not as romantic as the persistent bad guys pestering them at the office and restaurant
while the withdrawal or withholding of resources often mean the men are not:

Photo Courtesy: Love Yoga
  • providing them with any or adequate money
  • giving them gifts and surprises
  • appearing as sexy as they used to be
  • spending quantitative time
  • sharing their new car with them
Breaking news ladies! Some of your men too will not resemble the same machismo you see today. The sideburns may turn bushy or even disappear. Their heads may go bald and the gifts may no longer come often. You must know the man you want and want the man you know. Forget all those Alice-in-Wonderland ideas you read in novels, unless stated otherwise, they are mere figments of some writer’s imaginations.

However, one thing that will help your relationship is communication; without it there can be no real interaction. Bridging the gap and telling the other person exactly how you feel even when it is clear that they should initiate the talking is an effective approach. Confront problems carefully and attempt to solve them promptly. Don’t ignore what you don’t want to see in marriage; talk about it and reach an agreement on it. Guys, I said these before in the first part of this article, know your limits and know hers too. Don’t learn in bachelorhood what you will have to unlearn in marriage. And ladies, you’ve got so much power; don’t misuse it. The heartbeat of your marital relationships will actually depend on you. Your choices and how you are able to support and influence your men will matter a lot. I am not even married so don’t take these ideas as dogma; they are factual hypotheses. But if you are wise, you will drop the opinions of persons whose marriages are not working and learn from those whose marriages have lasted and are booming. Sometimes, they are difficult to identify but the quality of their grown-up children often give them away. It will do you a lot of good to share your feelings about your relationships with them and seek advice.

Though men have developed polygamous tendency since Adam became a grandfather, they can surely overcome it. However, women must teach them to imbibe monogamy. How do you just expect a guy who has had sex with all sorts of women before he met you (and perhaps, had sex with you before marriage) to keep away from other women after marriage? If to such a man, marriage is just an event and not a covenant, then you will be asking for too much. It is somewhat ladies’ responsibility to teach their guys how to overcome the temptations of “offside” eroticism by not zipping down for them before marriage. Men who have always had “their ways” before marriage will learn it as the only way. And if they don’t get it from their wives for any reasons, those bad girls out there will be too willing to give them.

Ladies, remember that you’d get pregnant and have to spend great time with babies. So, try to figure out what your man will be doing then. Is he going to be counting the ceiling squares in the house? Will he be able to cope out of inner strength? These questions may seem funny. But truly, some men’s sexual configuration cannot handle it and that is why they find it easy to cheat. Yet, it is possible to keep a faithful man and you (lady) have a major role to play in achieving this. You must discover who he is, if he hasn’t already, before marriage and encourage him in that direction. A man who sees sex, money and having biological kids as more important than an ultimate life goal will find it easier to fail maritally. This is because the absence or presence of those other factors in his life, will matter more than his wife or helpmate. A man should have something he wants to do ultimately with his life for which he will need your support. It could be as simple as raising his kids successfully or helping in the community. But inherently, he should have something that makes him deserve to be alive; the trademark of his own greatness.

Ultimately, in pre-marital relationships, it is paramount for both parties to readily communicate and agree to always seek to resolve their misunderstandings within the shortest possible time. You would do well to evaluate your relationship at regular intervals and tell each other the truth. Doing likewise in marriage with the intention of remaining faithful will help prevent infidelity significantly. If you both fear God, that’s a great plus for your relationship –you will find more peace. Secondly, I am very sure that identifying several common interests and planning your social activities around such is a readily formidable strategy for ensuring loyalty before and after wedding.
In reiteration, you may need to talk to more experienced and exemplary spouses before and after getting married because what you have just read is not absolute and may not specifically apply to your situation.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Our Valentine Gift to Singles (1): Why Men Cheat

While liberalism perceives one-to-one matrimony as the espousal of two persons regardless of their individual gender or sexual orientation, pan-African ethos identifies monogamous marriage as the union of a man with a woman. In Nigeria for instance, it is believed that a man who subscribes to monogamy is willing to live with one woman for as long as she remains alive or restraints herself from certain abominable practices that could lead to connubial separation. Because divorce was never an original element of Nigerian marriage tradition, it was not considered when settling marital disputes. Then, the husband was the major determinant and once he had established a proven contention against his wife, the option of separation (not divorce) could arise. He could choose to return her to her father’s house or simply evict her from his house. So, until the doors of civilisation and liberalism introduced divorce as an option under legal provisions, partners only hoped to survive or endure marriage unto death, if it ever became unpleasant.

But things have evolved more recently. Infidelity is fast becoming a managed feature of marital relationships. Often times, monogamists exceed the boundaries of their conjugal oaths and create intimacy with persons other than their spouses. They cheat on each other and even argue disloyalty issues in the presence of aspiring couples. When this happens, the nubile and unmarried are moved to wonder what marriage is practically about. Many single ladies wonder why many married men crave to have sexual affairs with women other than the one(s) they married. Correspondingly, several wives complain that their monogamist husbands have either cheated or always cheat on them. So, why do such men cheat? Why do they find it difficult to keep their sacred vows? Why can’t they keep their zips up outside matrimony? On the other side, some wives have been found guilty too. A considerable number of married women are not uninvolved in the game of nuptial infidelity. Interestingly, some women been discovered to cheat on their husbands even after birthing a few kids. Those who do not engage in extramarital affairs have also been accused of sustaining emotional intimacy with men other than their husbands. To sum it up, infidelity is a two-sided coin resting on neither side.

Since the use of statistics may paint one side guiltier than the other and establishing guilt guarantees no solution, it will not apply here. Rather, the identification of root causes which in itself creates a measure of progress towards attacking the source of problems will matter. The common complaints of cheating husbands (in no particular order) about their wives have always been:
  • she is too greedy and inconsiderate
  • she is always nagging at me
  • she is seeing someone else too
  • she is not sexually creative
  • she is no longer the sweet-sixteen I married
  • she is too disrespectful and disobedient
  • she does not communicate her feelings
  • she is does not listen to correction
Truly, one man’s complaints are another man’s blessings and no husband who complains about his wife is ever perfect. All things, whether good, better or best, can make use of more improvement. However, marriage should really be about trying to keep the vows made on your wedding day to the very best of your God-given ability.

Dear singles, those are great lessons for you. Marriage, as many do not consider, is something beyond reading vows, kissing the bride and throwing a bunch of flowers. In marriage, variety is not the spice of life and if you do want to find yourself struggling to unlearn a habit in marriage, don’t even imbibe it while single. If there is a habit that you think your future partner would dislike, stop it now. Or else, it will create many troubles for you many years later.

Guys in pre-marital relationship, there are a few things you should know:

Know your best and be sure of your worst and know the same for her too. Don’t pretend to be a superman nor expect her to be a spiderwoman. If someone somewhere is trying to make you cheat, tell your partner about it. Trust your lady but don’t exceed her limits in your expectations. All the make-up, weave-on, toned skin, pretty face and shaped lashes you see now won’t be there always. When you get married, you‘d be living together and relating more like intimate housemates. So, learn to always compliment her pleasant habits. After child-birth, women tend to change. When that happens in future, try to share in the responsibility of revamping her outlook. Or else, there’ll be days when you’d wake up on the bed and feel like asking yourself, “What is this? Why the heck did I marry this witch?” Again, the figure-eight you see today will not be there forever neither will the towers you see up there today stay put with age and time. Gentlemen, you will have to work with her patiently, communicate your needs clearly and be amazingly committed. Best of luck!

To be continued….

Watch this space for Our Valentine Gift to Singles 2: Fighting Infidelity