To my fellow country men and women, it is quite a privilege to use this period of the end of a remarkably demanding year; and the beginning of a new year pregnant with so much hope and promise, to download one’s thoughts.
This may remind you of the seasonal ritual churned out from the distant and de-sensitised offices of executive and legislative emperors (strangely, the judiciary hardly partake of this hollow charade).
We have for many years read and “yinmu-ed” (wrinkled noses) at the colourless, soul-less and absent-minded admonitions, and poor attempts at lifting our sagging hopes and bruised expectations with words and thoughts assembled and distributed at the turn of every national, religious or political holidays.
Hopefully, this “eulogy” will resonate with you in a way that will touch, and perhaps, tenderise frayed anxieties, brutalised frustrations, and similar sentiments fueled by the failures and wickedness of our political class. In many ways, some of us have been betrayed by the wanton disregard of those who promised great and mighty things, but failed (and still failing) to meet even minimal expectations.
Many have abandoned any sentiments that cling to the remotest hope that the current crop of political stewardship, at different levels of governance, can “inflict” meaningful impact in areas that actually affect and advance the quality of living, safety and longevity of Nigerians.
Of course, there are countless issues that warrant our distrust of government: budgets are designed and approved with the supposed beneficiaries largely disconnected, and roundly unimpressed about their usefulness or relevance. Actions and commitment of political operators in observing, upholding and respecting the tenets and norms that sustain and deepen democracy leave the citizens wondering whether people in government are not really confused about the true purpose and meaning of public service, representative governance and elected offices.
Even as we promote loudly the determination of this current government in dealing with endemic corruption and villainy in service delivery, the citizens yet have many reasons to believe that corruption is still a powerful tender in the business of governance… There are lingering suspicions that the optics and reality of our so-called fight against corruption, indiscipline and impunity in the management of public finance and resources have not drastically differed from our admittedly inglorious recent past.
If we succumb to the over-hanging depression that surrounds our national status, we risk running several pages of instances and examples of our meaningless profligacy, unjustifiable brutalities, mind-boggling misadventures in diverse areas of our national life, political arrangements, resource management, administrative iniquities, and so on.
Just as mentally stable persons living with disabilities are best served by not interacting with them from the platform of pity, weepy sympathy, disproportionate quota system, and such imbecilic hand-outs…that imply the “disabled” are incapable of effectively using their faculties not impaired; Nigerians must confront the new year with a determination and hope to rise above the limitations and fault-lines of the shambolic democratic operators. We must resolve, and indeed strive to conduct our affairs – in private and open concourses – at a level that projects excellence, consistency, integrity and innovation.
We must acquire the taste and disposition that wait not for what the government should do to help us, or our neighbourhoods – we must take the rope-ends and pull what is necessary to build a virile, effective and sustainable neighbourhoods and communities for our benefits and that of our children.
We must, as a matter of emotional “sanctity”, avoid acts, decisions and alliances which promote corruption, intolerance, moral bankruptcy, indolence, illiteracy, and similar weakening tendencies that may or may not be displayed by operators and leaderships of our politics and public service.
Even when unfortunate situations stare you in the face, and threaten to disrupt your hopes and plans…dig deep within your personality, and draw from the limitless reserve of power the Almighty has deposited in all of us… resolve to stay the course. Remember, no one goes to war without initially counting the cost. You may need the help of others to stand the test of growth…don’t however mistake men for God. Only the Almighty is worth depending on absolutely. Not man…not a system operated by men.
I therefore wish you a clear-headed new year – for prosperity is over-rated!
Work/Wife 5: How to Uncomplicate Your Life
The success or failure of my efforts to cut down the hours of “enjoyment” reverberated in my home… I wanted to be a good lover (and I genuinely loved her); I wanted to be a great husband and father (and I loved dotting on children); but the external responsibilities of producing the juiciest magazine in the land; the oiling and massaging of sources and resources that would make the success possible depended on my staying less at home, and gyrating all over the swankiest parties and events in town. I was a reporter/editor who could not stay in the office when big news broke; I had to be at the forefront, tapping sources, climbing fences and generally turning into some sort of a nuisance – just to get the most exclusive information.
Before the fourth anniversary of our marriage, Fame Weekly was well and truly on top. I decided to up my game at home, and scale down my night outings. I also decided to start attending events with my wife as much as possible. But it was easier said than done. Some of my friends resented her presence when we attended parties together. It was not that they hated her; it was simply that she was friends to all their wives, and they were sure that as “a woman-wrapper”, I would have told her most of the things the boys did together. And upon all that, for her to now be a witness to what they would do or say, was too much for them to bear.
Thus they were guarded and coy when chatting, to the great discomfiture of my wife. Smart and suitably exposed as she was, I knew her as a tight-lipped babe who grew up with four brothers, and thus was wise to boy’s games. But they were not living with her, and would not believe she was anything different from any other gossipy woman. Gradually, and naturally, I was drifting out of the “setting”.
Sometimes, when we arranged a sortie, I would be warned not to bring my wife. Of course, more often than not, I would disobey their ‘order’, to their loud chagrin. But then, we would leave as early as possible so that the boys could relax. It went on like that for almost two years, before I voluntarily and suddenly gave my life, and became truly born-again. And there was immediate and drastic change in my relationships. Before then, I had stopped drinking, and nightclubbing had reduced significantly. I could not go to as many parties as before; and I would not go to any party without my wife. I could not gist as raucously as I used to; I could not do most of those things that was bringing needless tension to my home. I simply lost any interest or reason to put any stress on the home front. I suddenly had a great craving to make her happy, and thus create the ambience that would influence the growth of my children positively.
Then, I came to an understanding: hardly can you live an open and uncomplicated life with your spouse without a healthy tangible fear of God. I don’t mean the variant being preached to us by politicians at every religious festival. When you pause before you act, and consider whether God will be pleased with your next line of action; then you will receive an unction to do the right things. The result of the personal and candid introspection is what people see and declare that you have a good marriage; that is what your wife sees and believes you love her completely; that is what God sees, and blesses you handsomely. So, the answer to the question: “Is working with your wife madness or miracle?”… Yes, it can be a miracle…the splendor of heaven on earth… but there is a big curve to it.
(To Be Continued)