They saw through me what I wished they hadn’t.

I wrote this a while back. Thought I’d respost it on this blog.Who know’s. Someone might get blessed by it:

We strolled out of her home crossing the tarred road to the other side of the street.We’d barely sat down on the bench next to the mallam’s kiosk,when she fired a question that caught me off-guard.I wasn’t prepared for what she was about to say.How on God’s earth was I to know she was thinking it.”You look old enough to get married”, she says,”so why aren’t you married?”. I paused for a second or two, scanning my brain for the most believable excuse.And with the most unconvincing tone,I blurted out,”I …I …eh…haven’t exactly met the right person”.She looked away suddenly ,but not before I noticed the questioning expression on her face clearly recognisable by the distinct fold between the eyes and the dimming of the lids.”What do you mean you haven’t exactly met the right person?Girls are all over the place”, she retorted.I obviously underestimated her intelligence.She wasn’t buying my crap for one millionth of a split second .I wasn’t going to shake her off that easily.Getting out of this kind of mess is not exactly the kind training you get from home or school.

Later on that evening I reiterated the event to a friend (to a guy this time as we men always do).And he told me point blank, “But Daniel you really must answer that question for yourself !”.This time i responded with a fraudulent giggle, cleverly trying to conceal the embarrasment of being caught ….a second time!

– Nigerian Philosopher

June 14, 2010

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Beauty and Youth can be distractions…..

Beauty and youth can be such great distractions.The young and the beautiful often think they are invincible but don’t realize that their glory diminishes with age.

One day we wake up terrified, after catching a few wrinkles and white hairs here and there. Then we realize like all who came before us, that we are loosing the charm of youth. Since we built our lives and worth on these fleeting attributes, we begin to dread the future. We suddenly realize that we have nothing else to fall back on; No investments outside of beauty and youth.

If beauty and youth is all we allowed ourselves to be known for, we wont be of interest to anyone in our older years.

Be wise cultivate real virtues that last!

– Nigerian Philosopher

This poem always challenges me to demand more from myself!

The poem below is an extract from the Success Classic, Think & Grow Rich.

Any time I am resigned to a mediocre existence and I come across this poem, it jolts me back to life and demands that I raise the bar on my expectations and sense of deservingness ; reminding me of the possibility of living above and beyond my current, perceived limitations.

I don’t want to get to the end of my life filled with regrets, knowing that I could have had more but settled for less.

“I bargained with life for a penny
And life would pay no more
However I begged at evening
When I counted my scanty score.

For life is a just employer
And will give you what you ask
But once you have set the wages
You must bear the task.

I worked for a menials hire
Only to learn dismayed
That any wage I would have asked of life
Life would have willingly paid.”

– Jessie B Rittenhouse

Is it really true that integrity doesn’t sell in Nigeria?

I am sure you’ve heard people say stuff like this. I hear it every day; people saying you can’t make it in Nigeria unless you are a crook. “Integrity doesn’t sell”, they claim.

People who say such things aren’t really thinking about what they are saying. Because if they did, they’d realize their words have no truth in it.

Why would I say such a thing when Nigeria is without a doubt, one of the most corrupt nations in the world? Well contrary to popular belief, integrity sells more in a corrupt society because it’s scarce. Even the corrupt are willing to pay a higher price for the services of trustworthy men/women.

Let me paint a couple of scenarios to prove my point:

Imagine a corrupt politician who embezzles lots of public funds. What bank do you think he’d put that money; the one that mismanages funds or the one with a reputation for honest management?

Which mechanic do people patronize the most; the one who steals engine parts or the one who is dependable?

What pharmacy do we all patronize; the one that sells fake drugs or the one that sells authentic drugs?

Who do you lend money to; the one who never repays a loan or the one whose word is his bond?

Who would you hire as a security guard: a thief or a saint?

Who would you choose as a prospective spouse; a potential cheat or faithful partner?

Which company would you rather invest in; the one that pays proper dividends or the one that is known for ripping off investors?

So you see, even though we have embraced corruption as a nation, we really can’t do without integrity. It’s an essential ingredient for survival. We crave the trust and peace of mind others bring with it even if we are not prepared to travel the high road ourselves. The scarcer it is the more people are willing to pay for it (with the exception of a few who’d always want something for nothing). Of course there is much to lose by being honest. Every good thing comes with a sacrifice. But one things for sure, you’re certain to be in high demand in and out of season.

So the next time people someone tells you “integrity doesn’t pay in Nigeria”, you’ll know you’re hearing the words of a bone-head.

– Nigerian Philosopher

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There’s a tide in the affairs of men…..

I had a conversation with my dad recently. And somewhere n the middle of the conversation, he told me of  a former collegue of  his who is now in his 60’s, and retired. He said he met the old man on his way to pick up his toddler kids from school.  “At a time when this old man should be resting”, said my old man, “he is punishing himself with school-runs”. My dad felt so sorry for the old man.

He told me how this man had chased away his wife of over 15 years and remarried a young woman. Of course you know most women are never secure in a marriage until they have a child for their husband. It’s usually a way to guarantee a portion of the man’s inheritance in his death. So the old man pleased his wife by agreeing to have kids from her in his old age. But that came with a huge price; working extra hard to pay fees, chasing little kids around, dropping them off at school- the whole works!

My dad concluded by saying, ” there is time for everything in this life o! There are some things that are meant to be done in your youth. Once that time passes, it becomes a huge struggle”.

I thought back on that statement and realized how true it was and suddenly I  had a flashback to a scene in a supermarket years ago. LL Cool J was rapping on the radio,”it’s never too late to chase your dreams”. I said yeah , you’re right “LL”!  The guy beside me said, “wrong my brother,It can be too late to chase your dream”. I said, how do you mean? He says,” if you have a dream to build masts, I’d like to see you climb one in your old age”. That’s true, I thought.That makes sense! There is really a limit to what we can do at a certain age.

Being a “talented” latecomer in everything, that really hit me hard. I realized I had missed out on a lot of stuff I should have done 5 to 10 years ago. I keep wondering what I had done with all those years. I still can’t account for them. It’s almost like I had been in a coma for that length of time. I now find I don’t have the energy that I used to have and I am probably not as daring as I used to be. Truly, there is a time and a season for everything.

Shakespeare says in Julius Caesar,

” there is a tide in the affairs of men.Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat and we must take the current when it serves,or lose our ventures.” 

We must seize the moment and do what we ought to do at the right time so that life becomes less of a burden. We must never be like the man who begins to have children in his old age, or the man who starts to chase his dreams when he is too old, or the mature lady by the side of the road who tries to recapture her wasted youth by dressing up like a teenager with the hope of enticing a prospective husband. A season lost can never be regained.

A word is enough for the wise!

Street education 101

You can read all the books in the world and still never be able to learn all you need to learn about life. Because truth be told, not every lesson of life will be documented on paper. Some things you’ll just have to learn by experience or observation.
I learned one of those vital lessons recently. It had to do with relating with the police ,which I must admit I am quite a rookie in that regard.
Well, it went like this: 
A friend gave me a lift in his car one afternoon. He instructed his cousin to drive behind while he took the lead. After we drove past a junction we noticed that my friend’s cousin had been stopped by the police. In their usual extortion mode, an officer jumped into the passengers sit while his superior stayed in another car instructing my friends cousin to follow his lead.
So we followed them into a side street.Then my friend called his cousin and asked him to stop the car so they could” settle the police”. It was then that the drama began. The officers claimed my friend’s cousin had beat the traffic light( which wasn’t true by the way). But my friend, instead of arguing with them ,agreed that it was possible that it happened and that he had innocently made the same mistake in the past. So he calmed the resistance from the officers and proceeded with more sweet talks.
In the end he pleaded with the officers to let his cousin off. They agreed for a fee as usual. and so he came back to the car , picked a few bills out of his wallet and handed it over to the officers,after which they drove off. When i asked him how much he gave them, he said N700. I was shocked ! I thought they wouldn’t accept anything less than N5000. When I asked him how come they accepted the N700 from him he said, ‘if you nor know you go fall mugu. Dem know say I know what’s up na im make dem take am waka. If na person wey do like novice, na N15k be dat o!”
Hmmm…..talk about street education! Where on earth would you ever read in a book how to get out of a police traffic violation frame-up with just N700? Not even in an Encyclopedia !
I learned a valuable lesson that day on how to deal with the police without “falling mugu”.lol!