Monday, September 8, 2014

You are what is wrong with Marriage

If you keep asking your daughter every day, “so when are you bringing him home?” you are what is wrong with marriage.

If you keep pressuring single ladies with statements like “so when are we eating the rice?” you are what is wrong with marriage.

If you keep asking your 33 year old single friend or cousin “when are we wearing aso ebi?” you are what is wrong with marriage.

If you keep telling your daughter to hurry up, because most of your friends’ daughters are already married, you are what is wrong with marriage.

If a lady comes to you for advice because her fiancée/boyfriend is abusive in anyway, and you tell her to grow up, and count herself lucky because she has a man who is even interested with her, you are what is wrong with marriage.

Marital status is not a social status.

Singleness is a state, not a disease, so don't rush or pressure single women into marriage, and treat them like something is wrong with them.

When they react to your pressure, and get married to the wrong person, you will be nowhere to be found when the bubble bursts.

The marriage is about the person, not you. We know you are itching to join the AWMD (Association of Women with Married Daughters). We know you can't wait to attend one more wedding, but why should that single lady suffer for your desires. Are you so party-starved that you can't afford to wait? The wedding you so much want to attend will last just a few hours, while her marriage will last a life time. Let her think straight while making her choice. Your pressure and snide remarks are not allowing her to do that.

Stop pressuring single ladies. Stop asking them for wedding rice. If you are hungry, go and cook your own. Stop asking to wear useless Aso Ebi. That tradition should even be banned; it’s been abused for way too long. Also, you already have enough in your wardrobe. Stop passing snide comments to single ladies, or asking stupid questions. Stop it! Most of them want to get married, so they don't need you to remind them with your indirect questions. Stop contributing to what is wrong with marriage today.

Atilola Moronfolu

P.S: I shared this post as a status update on Facebook last week. It went viral. I could hardly believe it. Almost 100 shares (from male and female), and counting. I guess I articulated the thoughts on the hearts of many single ladies.

Monday, September 1, 2014

"I'm Nigerian, therefore I'm inferior."

I spoke to a first-time customer last week. After concluding our sales agreement, she later calls me and asks why I haven't responded to her message. I apologise, saying we are in the middle of production, so I can't text now.

She says “wait, are those products made in Nigeria?”

And I say “yes”. I then go on blabbing about the delivery arrangement and a natural hair salon.

And she says “you know what? Now that I just found out they are manufactured in Nigeria, I'm not sure anymore.”

I'm like “you are not sure about what?”

She says “I've lost confidence in the products.”

I’m like “because they are manufactured in Nigeria?”

She says “I'm sure you understand.”

I reply saying “No, I don't understand.”

I then give her a long lecture of how many natural hair products company make use of raw materials found in Africa, but we refuse to buy those same products if they are made in Africa. I told her I can understand if she loses confidence in our products because they are not working well or it damaged someone's hair, but I can't understand why she would lose confidence because of the location of production. I said Unilever Nigeria’s products are as good as Unilever France's products. It’s not about the location, but about the standards. African Naturalistas has come a long way. Right from the days we were using paper stickers and buying plastics at Gbadebo market, we are where we are now. I'm sure if we were not good, we won't have come this far, this fast. I even went ahead to ask her if she's inferior to people in America, just because she lives in Nigeria, lol.

It’s sad to think that some Nigerians lose confidence in a product, just based on the fact that it is made in Nigeria, and not based on what the product can do. How then will our economy grow to match that of the country we love to buy our products from? How then will we encourage new businesses to start? Let the pictorial evidence below tell you by themselves how long we have come.

I am glad that at the end of the day, I was able to convince her that she had nothing to worry about. But what about the thousands of people who think like she had been thinking, whom I don't have access to convincing? What about them?

Sad indeed.

Monday, August 25, 2014

I know why bad things happen to good people

Why do bad things happen to good people?

This is a question many people find themselves asking, especially when they see a world-acclaimed sweetheart go through an inexplicable suffering no one in the world seems capable of saving them from. In helplessness and empathy, we ask ourselves, "Oh why do bad things happen to good people?"

Mr Martins has served in the church all his life. He gives to the poor, helps the needy, is an honest man at work. His integrometer level is always 100/100. If you put water in his mouth, you come back and meet it there five years later. Mr Martins goes out with his family to a charity event. A drunk driver collides with his car. He loses his wife and three of his four children. The only surviving one is the one with Down syndrome. Mr Martins is completely paralysed, as his spine broke. Why do bad things happen to good people?

Or this true life example... Dr D K Olukoya has a deliverance ministry. Through his ministry, God has delivered people from oppression, depression, sickness, demons, legions, childlessness, poverty, spiritual manipulation of all kinds, yet this Man of God searched for a child for fifteen years. Why do bad things happen to good people?

As mysterious as this question seems, such that people have been searching for the answer like they are digging for gold in a London, a land which we all know has no natural resources, the answer is quite simple. And if we are really sincere with ourselves, we will find this to be true. Stay with me, I am going somewhere.

Why do bad things happen to good people?

First let’s dissect the question, and define some important terms in it.

What is the definition of a bad thing? Something that hurts people, make people cry, the loss of a job, the loss of a loved one, etc? What exactly qualifies for something a situation to be called bad?

What is the definition of a good person? Someone who is good? What does that even mean? He gives to the poor, does not lie, does not cheat, does not curse, goes to church/mosque regularly, tithes, gives to the less-privileged, is polite? What exactly qualifies for someone to be called good?

I will not answer the both questions for you, but I’m sure you tried to get the point I made. What we see as a bad thing might not be a bad thing, and who we see as a good person might not be a good person. It all depends on what angle you are looking at it from.


But still… that is not the point of this post.

Why do bad things happen to good people?

With the way many humans ask this question, I believe if we had our way, then bad things will happen to bad people, and good things will happen to good people, and that is exactly how we want God (if you believe in His existence) to play it… just the way we see it.

So if God obliged us and made bad things happen to bad people, and good things happen to good people, what would that amount to?

It basically means we can tell the future of any person. We can know who will die young, who will die old, who would lose a child (in which case both the child and the parent would have to be bad for the formula to apply), who would be falsely accused (in which case it would not count as false, since the person has to be bad), who will live a fulfilled life, who will be rich, who will be poor, etc. We can all tell the outcome of people’s life just by knowing whether they are good or bad. Soothsayers will definitely be put out of business.

Basically, we would be able to manipulate the outcome of our lives! No need for effort, no need for hard work, and surely no need for God!

And the concept of freewill will disappear like we never even heard of it before. Or tell me, who wants to live a life where only bad things happen to them? Why would you want to be an armed robber, if you can’t even rob successfully? Even armed robbers and assassins have good things happen to them… until they get caught. The outcome is that we would all be good, and we would all be walking robots.

Since we all love freewill, we all love to choose, to do things the way we want to, we will have to accept the fact that bad things are allowed to happen to good people. That is the only way it can work.

Before I continue, don't get me wrong. I am not making a case for licentiousness. We will receive the consequences of our actions. We reap what we sow, so we can't start murdering people on the street, or doing wrong to people. In this case, I am talking of random and inexplicable series of what we have termed bad things, and not consequences of choices.

If we are honest with ourselves, we will admit that the below statements are true.

Bad things happen to good people
Bad things happen to bad people
Good things happen to good people
Good things happen to bad people

The reason it always seems magnified when bad things happen to good people, and not when bad things happen to bad people, is that we feel the bad people deserved the bad things that happen to them, and believe it is an injustice of destiny for good people to suffer a similar fate. But sad to say, life doesn’t always agree with us.

Therefore on no account will your conduct or your character determine whether a good thing or bad thing will happen to you. Events in life will not pick you based on your being good or bad.

That is the only way the world can run well
That is the only way freewill can work
That is the only way you will understand that you can’t always control the outcomes of life.

And there is my two cents… and if you are sincere, you know I’m speaking the truth.

P.S: I saw Ayo of 1 + The One yesterday. OMG, she is so gorgeous from head to toe, forget the picture you see. That lady is foooiiinnneee. And I am glad to say I will be seeing more of her in the next couple of months. Are you jealous yet? Lol.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Of Security Guards and Facebook deceits

I have not been able to write much in about two weeks now. So much coming at me, and a little block, lol. Because I love this blog and you guys very much, I can't afford to leave it vacant.

And so, I bring you a not-so-funny, but real life article of something I experienced two years ago. Enjoy.

In my days of dropping proposals with Security Guards as my legs were not long enough to enter the main building, I encountered many eccentric characters in the name of Security Guards. There were some who felt you should worship them because they held the power of letting you into the building, and there were some others you just didn’t want to offend, lest they get angry, and throw your proposal into the nearest trashcan. In my own opinion, Security Guards are one of the most power-drunk people I have had to deal with on a regular basis. Putting my bias aside, I remember this short encounter with a Security Guard, which made me realise that they are just like any ordinary person when they are not in their uniforms.

I had gone to drop my proposal at the Corporate Affairs branch of an indigenous telecommunications company, and was registering my proposal in the Log Book when the phone of the Security Man rang. He had one or two friends around. As the phone rang, he hesitated to pick and started complaining out loud.

Security Man: Haa, this girl again. She just dey always disturb me, I no wan pick her call joo. Na Facebook she see me last week o, wey she come send me message. She see my picture, and she no let me rest since then. (Ha, it’s this girl again. She just always disturbs me. I don’t want to pick her call. She saw me on Facebook last week, and then sent me a message. She saw my picture, and hasn’t allowed me rest since then.)

At this point, I looked beyond the guard's uniform and studied his face. I must confess, he was really handsome, and had naturally curly hair.

Security Man: I really deck up for that picture o, I wear shades, I come pose well well. Na the picture wey I put for Facebook be that, wey she no let me rest. (I really dressed up in that picture. I wore shades, and then posed well. That’s my only picture on Facebook, and she’s not allowing me rest).

The phone was still ringing, and we were all grinning in the security post. He finally picked the phone and surprising to me, suddenly started speaking very good English.

Security Man: Hello... How are you?... How is work going?... Hope you are fine?... I have missed you... I am at my 'office'... My office is at VI… Where’s your office?... Ooh Allen Avenue.... I hope you are having a nice time... I love you... Bye... Muah (kisses)!

Ewww, did he just kiss her over the phone?

At this point we all burst into uncontrollable laughter when a female friend of his finally spoke.

Female friend: Na wa for you, I sorry for the girl. She dey think say you be better person, she no know say na security officer you be. She think say she don hammer. (I am sorry for the girl. She thinks that you are a good catch. She doesn’t know that you a common Security Officer. She thinks she has hit it big.)

I wondered about the girl at the other end of the line. She must have thought her handsome Facebook boyfriend was a big man working on the island. I imagined her sitting behind her office desk at Allen Avenue, speaking to him and smiling. I also wondered what was with the profession of love to someone one met on Facebook just a week ago. Was this the level desperation could get some of us women to at times? I left the security post saying to myself, only God knows where this internet relationship and its deceits would lead to.

This ‘relationship’ has already entered voicemail , even before it started.


Monday, August 11, 2014

I failed a whole generation. What of you?

On 22nd of July, I entered a public primary school for the first time in my life! And it was all mixed feelings. As you might know, I am one of the ambassadors for the Child Campaign, which is an initiative of Beyond the Classroom foundation. BTC has many projects, but one of the things they do is go to primary schools, and educate kids, renovate schools, organise child empowerment events, repair uniforms, stock up sick bays, have after-school classes, etc.

At the moment, they 'adopted' a school, as their model school. This is where they would do all their projects, and measure its impact. They would leave after about two years, and adopt another school. Their currently adopted school is Ladi-Lak primary school in Bariga, which is where I went. As at now, they teach the students, renovate classrooms, sick bay, library, provide educational materials like books, bags, socks, sandals, etc., and so many other things I can't begin to count.

The children were having a graduation party, which BTC foundation organised. It was their first ever graduation party ever. BTC rented gowns for them, gave them photo books, food, party, basically every single thing. Immediately I got to the front of the school, a foul stench hit me, and I felt like throwing. The environment was distasteful, and no child should have to learn in such an environment, with classes without windows, chair, etc. I quickly adjusted myself, and acclimatised.

The kids were doing their thing, and having fun. At a point, I wanted to cry. I felt the government had failed this set of kids. I felt for most of them, their future looked very bleak. They were from a class of society I have never really had anything to do with, but I know God brings out treasure out of trash, so who am I to say what will happen to them? These kids were not dumb or anything, but it was obvious they weren't living up to their potentials, just because of lack of facilities.

I can only doff my hat to Raquel Jacobs and her team. They are so selfless, going up and down impacting lives, sourcing funds from ordinary Nigerians like you and I. Don't underestimate the power of the ordinary Nigerian, and the impact you can make with that your N500 or N5000. Someone will sleep well tonight because of it.

See some pictures of the event below.

Over 100 bags below were given to the graduands. In each bag were mathematical set, socks, books, etc.

BTC volunteers trying to finish up the photobook

Kids love to play

Headmistress giving a speech

Some of the BTC volunteers

Choreography team swag

And then the drama team below, basically doing their regular heaven and hell primary school drama. Good wears white, and black wears black. Normal cliche, but fun for the kids.

They seemed happy to get the role of people
to eat the apple and chicken

The devil, lol.

Head boy, reading his speech

Head girl, reading her speech

Me, admonishing the kids

Ruby, Nigerian musician, signed
under MI,  admonishing the kids.
She's a fellow ambassador

Some members of the BTC team

Raquel Jacobs. The convener of the program,
and head of BTC Foundation

Some of us who volunteered, after
sharing gifts to the graduands

And so, what can I say? Life is more than the cocoon we live in. Maybe a day out of our regular social class will open our eyes to the fact that we can do some very little things that would make a big difference in someone else's life, especially the failed generation in Nigeria.

Raquel Jacobs and her team are impacting lives in primary schools across Lagos, you can do something too. In case you are too busy, and just want to drop a little thing like N1000, N5000, or even N5 million for the BTC team to brush up more lives, mail me, and I will hook you up with them ASAP.

Remember... it is cascaded little things that make the big effect in the end.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Cascaded Little Things

My cousins came to visit us in Nigeria, after 15 years of being away. A total of 5 siblings left, the youngest being 2, and the oldest, 13. Three of them came to visit, and they ranged from 17 years old to 26 years old. It was really fun hanging out with them, but that I am not ready to bore you with the details of our fun, in this post. I want to mention one or two lessons I learnt from hanging out with them.

Of course, they were shocked about how much Nigeria had changed, positively and negatively. Immediately they came, I started feeling for them because NIDs receive their welcoming shockers right from the international airport, talk less of those that have no idea of what Nigeria looks like.

We went to Genesis Deluxe cinemas to catch a movie, in order to avoid the Jakande-Ajah week day traffic. After the movie ended, the youngest one looked around, and told her brothers “I don’t think we are supposed to take that.”

Apparently, my three cousins, out of habit, carried their bottles and popcorn packs to go and dump in the trash, while every single person in the hall, including me, left ours where we had sat during the movie. One of the boys said “We are the only ones packing up. Everyone will know we are not from around here,” in his American accent. They started looking around for trash cans as we walked out of the viewing room, but they did not find and until we got out, towards the ticket sales stand.

I tried to cover it up with smiles and senseless talk of how the cleaners will come and pack it all up, and they shouldn’t have bothered packing up, but inside of me, I was ashamed. These guys were sticking out like sore thumbs, just because they conducted themselves properly in a system where chaos is normal.

Two days later, we went to ice cream factory, again to avoid the Jakande-Ajah traffic. We sat outside, under the shade. Three of us had cones, while one had cup. When we were about to leave, instinctively, my cousin took his cup, went into the restaurant, searched for a trash can, dumped it, and came out. It was very instinctive. It had become part of him, so much so that he was not even thinking when he did it. It was quite robotic. I didn’t say anything this time. I just watched and observed him.

Earlier that day, we were in front of yellow chilli, and waiting in line to park inside, for about 30 seconds, and then the security guy beckoned on me to drive into the compound, and one car behind us just swerved, and wanted to take my space. Like seriously? He wasn’t even hiding his senselessness. My cousins observed what happened, and couldn’t believe their eyes. To say they were shocked was an understatement. They couldn’t believe a human being with a human brain, and not a goat brain, just did that.

I mumbled something like ‘that’s how many people do here o. They said if it happened in the US, everyone will get down from their car, and fish the guy out, lol.

At Genesis Deluxe cinemas, two of my cousins waited in line to get our drink and popcorn for the four of us, cos we didn’t think all four of us had to queue. Then a girl came out of nowhere to beg my cousin to get her own drink and popcorn, because her movie was showing. The thing is our movie too was already showing. He, being the Mr nice guy of them all, agreed, and then she brought out like three popcorn and drink tickets. Seriously? He realised she just wanted to use him to cheat her way through the queue, and he was already getting stuff for us anyway. He respectfully declined, and told her point blank that it wasn’t fair for everyone that was on the queue. He didn’t tell me about it until two days later.

I then realised that it is little actions like these that form a cascaded effect in setting apart countries like Nigeria from developed countries. Largely, we lack the culture of responsibility, being responsible for things as minor as your trash, staying in line, and respecting other people’s time. In my opinion, this is not a government or leadership problem. This is a system issue. The government doesn’t tell us not to pick our trash, but the system supports litter. We are even encouraged to litter cinema halls and restaurants, while our servants pack up after us.

The thing is we all know this is wrong. We travel out a lot, and see things being done properly, and even do things properly ourselves. So we know we have the ability to do things properly. But it sometimes takes us observing people like my cousins to come into this same system, do things different, and watch them stick out like a sore thumb, for us to know that what we are doing is not normal.

Even though I bring you no big solution, we can start small by doing little things right, things we don’t need anyone to tell us, things like not jumping queues, not littering roads or public places, not trying to be too smart, not being impatient, not running red lights, etc.

If each and every one of us can do this, you will be shocked at how much these little things will go a long way in making a big difference in restoring order to this chaotic system.

All kids of two sisters. Same blood, different mindsets.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Inside Wole Soyinka's Forest and other fun events

So I had the privilege to be one of the 70 spoken word artists/poets to perform at the WS80 project, Wole Soyinka's 80th birthday celebration, which took place at Lagos and Abeokuta between July 11 and 18, 2014. It was a real fun and eye-opening event, which culminated in some real sturves that looked like a scene from an Abija Awara movie, lol.

I did not really take pictures of the Day 1, which took place in Lagos, as I was too busy thinking of my performance. We moved to Abeokuta two days later, and enjoy the pictures below. And yea Wole Soyinka really lives in a forest, probably for spiritual inspiration from the heavenlies. Ijegba forest, to be exact. And no, you cannot go and visit him there. You will soon find out why, from one of the pictures below.

Day 2
I'm small. I know. No need to rub it in, lol

Wole Soyinka's birthday cake

Professor Niyi Osundare

Important people cutting the cake... where is the celebrant?
 Day 3
Famzing with Muta Baruka, a world-renowned legendary poet

Kuto cultural centre, Abeokuta where most of
the events took place

As we got to the movie reception, the first thing that greeted us were the faces of many important people in Nigeria, actors, actresses, corporate bodies, etc, (excluding politicians. I don't think they like Wole Soyinka or vice versa, lol). Unfortunately, I was too shy to go around and ask for pictures. The only drink was palmwine, which you had to drink with calabash. Even water was absent. And the snacks were kokoro and Adun, made with Epo pupa. It was at this point we knew we were in for some serious different stuff,

See this traditional centre mat

Yemi Sodimu: If you are one of those Nigerians who
wear Oleku, and you don't know this man, please
return our cloth to Tunde Kelani,

Do you remember the man on the right from
 all the Mount Zion movies you watch

And this picture below was the first message that greeted us at Wole Soyinka's forest residence.

Of course, since we are not trespassers, we all snapped pictures, and proceeded with confidence. And then...

Efun Worshippers started greeting us, and kneeling down for us. A lot of people were scared, saying "Hee, what is this?" lol. I even heard there was a lady around me speaking in tongues. As for me, I wasn't scared. Since I understand yoruba, I know there were just saying "You will live long, you will not die young, you will grow old..." basically traditional greetings they pass on to people who come to celebrate with the old. I was greeting the back with my simple "Ekale ma."

The below picture looks like I was transported into a scene of a babalawo shrine in a 1985 yoruba movie on NTA channel 7, lol.

Traditional lanterns. Forgotten what they are called.
We finally got to where we were to be seated, after walking through the forest for a while. The stage theatre was set up right in the middle of the forest. It was built my Zmirage. You would know that millions went down in setting up the whole drama. Colourful stage, colourful costume, excellent actors. Who said gret things don't happen in Nigeria.

I kid you not, Wole Soyinka was seated two rows behind me, watching his own drama, but you don't need the Holy Spirit to tell you not to approach him in such a setting, so I just pretended to be gentle, and not even allow the thought cross my mind.

Enjoy pictures of the stage drama, Dance of the Forest, written by Wole Soyinka at the age of 26 (@ilola, see your life). I wonder how he felt watching the drama. The drama was staged in the forest, as you know by now, and ran for about three hours

The actors ran away when the car drove in.
Don't be scared, it was part of the act

Can you see the tree spirit? lol

I tried to get a shot of the whole cast. They
were 203 renowned stage actors

Fireworks after the event was over

Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State.
The only politician who would not be eaten up in the forest

The governor and the people that put the drama together

We all got this gift bag by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism when we were about to leave the hotel for Lagos the next day. Guess what it contained... A calabash to drink palmwine, a traditional wrist bead, and a clay bowl lantern, that you would light up with Epo Pupa (called Fitila in Yoruba). I passed them all to my mum, lol. I was thinking I would get an iPhone.

I stayed at Green Legacy, Obasanjo's hotel, and actually saw him and his entourage walking around the premises, inspecting some things. I'd have taken his picture if he weren't too far from me. Oh well...

It was really a great event, despite the whole Efun stuff, babalawo scenes and all. I am glad I was part of this, and exposed me more the yoruba culture.

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