Death usually don’t just happen; it’s mostly a long time coming


This reflection was inspired by a friend who had lost a friend. When I inquired of him what was responsible for his friend’s death, he told me that the guy suddenly started gasping for air in the night, and passed on shortly afterwards. I felt sorry for his lose, I silently commended his late friend’s soul to God the Most High, but I had a serious problem with ‘suddenly‘. Yes, inasmuch as suddenly is not impossible; it is not usually applicable when it comes to bodily breakdown.

I come from a country, Nigeria, where people give testimonies in church for not having visited a medical facility in a decade; where all ailments must be malaria, headache or typhoid fever; where one walks up to a pharmacist and demands for this or that drug that one thinks holds the cure to an ailment; where one goes to a doctor, if one decides to, to more of tell the doctor what is wrong with him/her, instead of letting the doctor have his/her way at what he/she does best. Interestingly, the one giving the testimony in church doesn’t know that his/her pastor’s wellness secret is not solely the anointing of the Holy Ghost, but has got to do with both a fully equipped medical facility in the presbytery and visits to India, London or the United States every so often for ‘full’ medical checkups. Ask the Oyedepos, the T.B. Joshuas, the Mbakas, the Edehs, the Adeboyes, the Ogbuelis, the Sulemans, etc., and if they care to say the truth, which I believe they would, they will agree with Homer who wrote in The Odyssey that the gods are not in the habit of doing for man what man must do for himself.

I live in a country, Nigeria, where witches and wizards have their field day menacing the health and safety of the citizenry. Of course, experience has shown that these witches and wizards exist more in our minds than in reality, and that their purported mayhem come more from our fear of them than their actual activity – that is, if they’re even capable of any activity. And when these witches and wizards strike, our first port of call is usually the herbalist homes. With all due respect to the potency of herbs and being in the know that most orthodox medicines are more of herbal extracts than synthetic formula, I wish to categorically state that most of those herbalist homes are not worth stopping by for any reason. They woefully fail as simple as basic hygiene test; their concoctions are more poisonous than medicinal.

Truth be told, the various healing centers do more harm than good. Worse than the herbal healing center is some of the prayer healing centers, where outrageous sums are charged with little or no betterment to show for it. Inasmuch as God’s not dead and reigns supreme over every situation, some of the ministers of those centers are the very ones that would be told I know you not on the last day. At some of these centers, flogging is the recipe for exorcism; ‘holy sex‘ is the cure for barrenness, during which HIV/AIDS and other venereal diseases could be translated, etc. To say it lightly, the concoctions administered in both prayer and herbal healing centers can really get people killed. Of course, they only get to show up in hospitals when the deed is done: failing kidneys, bad liver, infected lungs, poisoned blood, terrible eyesight, and what have you.

Furthermore, we must realize that any condition that got one broken down has been a long time coming. This is because the human system is a fortified barracks, with a formidable arsenal to show for it. The immune system is so great that it settles many health challenges without our ever knowing it. In fact, it is so potent that it can expel a baby on the grounds of Rhesus factor; can reject a transplant on the grounds of compatibility; can eat up malaria parasite like yam is eaten with palm oil. The liver on its part does the amazing function of detoxification; the kidney is perfect at what it does; the lungs too. It’s so interesting that each of all paired organs can function to full capacity for as long as we have to live. Pope Francis, for instance, has lived with one lung since he was a boy; that didn’t even stop him from being Pope since the Vatican knew it shouldn’t.

My point is simple:

Death is as unpredictable as it can be sudden, but it’s most times a long time coming.

And so, if we cultivate the habit of keeping track of our medical records, we could avert this story that touches the heart. With facts from these records, and follow up expert medical advice, we can nip some ailments in the bud or manage those ones that have gone offline.

To-do list

1. Visit your doctor if you have one, or get one if you don’t

2. Visit a medical laboratory and get up to date facts on your blood and vital organs

3. Eat healthy, exercise regularly
Develop an obsession for personal and environmental hygiene

4. Ensure you live out all your years; don’t carelessly cut it short

6 indications Nigeria has not seen the worst yet


Over the past few years, Nigeria has been on the brinks of collapse. This was so serious that her immediate past president, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, conceded defeat to Mohammed Buhari at the April 2015 polls on the ground that countless heads would have rolled if he did otherwise. In Mr. Jonathan’s very own words, My political ambition is not worth the blood of a single Nigerian. Over the years, too, Boko Haram has been a cankerworm in Nigeria’s system. And most recently, the crash in the global price of oil has hit her economic life below the belt. Of course, there are many other national concerns and serious issues that are spitting fire at her.

However, I wish to contend that she’s not even seen the worst yet – unless she maps out a workable plan to arrest the situation. I’ve the following reasons to back up my claim:

1. Education is not yet her priority
Truth be told, all effort directed at education so far put together amounts to little or nothing when pitched against global standard. Needless to say, our budgetary allocation to education is just a little more than nothing; it’s never ever come any close to the UN benchmark. And so, who is deceiving who?

Given that education is the one determinant of development, and sustainable development at that, not according education its pride of place on the national scheme of things is tantamount to national suicide. I can assure you that Nigeria is reaping the dividends already, albeit negative: unemployable graduates and skyrocketing rate of unemployment. Trust me, she ain’t seen anything yet, unless…

2. She’s still paying lip-service to diversification – of the economy
Successive Nigerian governments of the past kept chanting:

Diversification! Diversification!! Diversification!!!

The most some of them did was try, but their trial wasn’t try enough. Of course, it was all lip-service, given that they didn’t pass necessary laws or leave behind a convincing roadmap for the way forward.

And then, oil shocks Nigeria! The price crashes! The Dollar appreciates unbelievably against the Naira! And everyone gets panicky! Nigeria is still lucky it wasn’t the case of oil vanishing, with the pipelines running dry. Interestingly, that’s going to happen someday, and if she’s still paying lip-service as at then, then your guess is good as mine: This house would have finally and truly fallen.

3. Nigerians really don’t understand the difference between value and cost
Nigerians have been winning ridiculous awards lately: Most Corrupt, Most Religious… I think we should add Most Ostentatious to the list; Nigerians are ostentatious to a fault – with the craze for articles of ostentation to show for it. Mega million-dollar cars and jets, billion-dollar mansions, lavish parties, precious stones and metals, etc; even food items, like rice, pasta, drinks, beef and chicken. Nigerians import virtually everything. Terrible!

This ostentatious orientation has a root: Nigerians’ understanding of the difference between value and cost is terrible, to say it lightly. Some things are just not worth the craze, and simplicity has been the most amazing way to lead a worthwhile life. And truth be told, this manner of conducting a personal life has a ripple effect on the general economy. The state of the economy, for instance, is a function of balance of trade: the relationship between import and export.

If Nigerians continue this way, then trust that the worst is on the way. Unless…

4. She’s yet blind to population dynamics
I continue to wonder what National Population Commission, NPC, is all about. Nigeria’s sense of numbers is something else. Do you know that no meaningful national planning can be done without a workable census figure? It’s even held in some quarters that Nigeria’s population is far more than it is being kept out. But where did these people get their figures from, too? What a comedy of errors! Of course, we hear stories of what happen in some sections of the country during census, how figures are doctored to serve the interest of geopolitics. Aside those, Nigeria’s record of births and deaths are nothing to write home about.

Population determines virtually everything, and for Nigeria not to have a close-to-the-truth figure, then the worst is yet to come.

5. She’s still oblivious to the time-bomb called unemployment
Every year, the hundreds of tertiary institutions in Nigeria churn out graduates who only get to fall in place on the unemployment queue. Every year. Every year. And every year. Yet, nothing pretty serious is being done about it. This foretells that the worst youth restiveness is yet to come. In pigin: Niger Delta militancy and Boko Haram dey learn work for where wetin go happen dey. It is squarely a case of do something or…

6. She’s never taken the need for orientation seriously
She said she has a National Orientation Agency, NOA. No doubt. But what has it been all about. It could have been about whatever all along, but it hasn’t been serious business.

Mental reorientation and attitudinal change is everything Nigeria needs to move to the very next level.

Christ said it best: Anything other than this comes from the evil one.

Become a philosopher in 7 simple steps


I’m a philosopher. Not a self-acclaimed one. But by professional training, which was what my Nsukka days were all about. Yes, I make bold to say that I was instructed by some of the finest lecturers on the planet, and they did fashion me into a positive something else. I’m not on some sort of ‘self-trumpet-blowing’ mission here, but intent on demonstrating that my testimony is trustworthy.

By internalizing the succeeding 7 ways, you will turn into a philosopher – almost overnight. And it is darn important to note that philosophy is not so much about Aristotle’s Hylemorphism, Plato’s Forms, Kant’s Categorical Imperative, or Aquinas’ Five Ways, as it is simply and squarely about employing critical thinking to engage the tough choices that daily stare us in the face, and the hard questions that always bother our mind.

So, lets get started:

1. Develop the Socratic mindset: “I know nothing
Of the Greek Socrates the Oracle of Delphi revealed that none was wiser. Perturbed by this startling revelation, Socrates made it a life’s mission to prove the Oracle wrong; he went in search of a wiser person. Guess what? He found that everyone else claimed to know something when in fact they knew nothing. And so, Socrates was said to be wisest on account that he alone knew that he knows nothing.

Seen thus, it has come down to us that the philosopher must profess ignorance, not in the guise of humility but as a matter of fact. So, this Socratic mindset is a conditio sine qua non for philosophizing.

2. Remember that everything makes sense; even ‘nonsense’ has a ‘sense’ in it
Don’t be quick to branding things ‘nonsense’ or ‘meaningless’. By natural default, everything’s got meaning & makes sense. It’s your job to ‘draw’ meaning out of things & ‘make’ sense out of them; it’s a sign of mental laziness to quickly dismiss them as meaningless & nonsensical. Philosophy is such that ‘it is done’; ‘we do philosophy’. It’s a job, & we do it!

Want to become a philosopher? Don’t wish it were easier; do the job! E.g. While a stranger may dismiss a child’s rantings as meaningless, mum knows that little baby is up to something. We’re always up to something; find out by thinking more.

3. It is more about raising questions than trying to answer them
My first lesson in philosophy was the primacy of ‘questioning’ over ‘answering’. In fact, it is the ability to raise questions that makes one a philosopher. Answers are not No. 1 because every answer becomes a new question. Raise question! Why is there something rather than nothing? Why do people die, & when they do, where do they go? Why is the naira crashing against the dollar? Why do married people cheat?

When you begin to ponder on those questions, then you’re a philosopher.

4. Think critically; leave no stone unturned
Admonishing his disciplines on praying, Jesus told them not to babble like the Pharisees. In like manner, the philosopher must not think like the everyday man. No. Philosophy is marked by thinking things through; critical thinking. When the philosopher thinks, he leaves no stone unturned; he stretches everything to the limits. When thinking is critically done, things make more sense.

5. Listen to everyone; someone out there knows something you don’t
The Socratic mindset moves one to listen to everyone, to try to get something from them. And it could just be that the solution to the problem you’re facing simply needs you to pay closer attention to the cab driver or person next door. In essence, have an open mind; this means everything.

6. Argue to learn, not to win
The function of argument is to straighten out thoughts. To marshal out, in a sequence, the basis for our beliefs and conclusions. It’s never about trumping those of others. In arguing, be always ready to shift grounds when it’s obvious that the other person knew something you didn’t. Of course, don’t be hell bent on your position simply because you want to have the day. Argue to learn. Argue to learn. And argue to learn.

7. Communication is everything
Communication is a complex. What happens at the senders end and the receivers end is something else. And it’s a world where it’s the case of communicate or perish. Therefore, we must meaningfully and effectively communicate. Devote ample time to understanding human psychology, because a whole lot come into play during the communication business. Spend quality time to crafting your messages, because a good part of understanding you depends on what you actually sent out.

At the end of the day, and after all said and done, those are all what philosophy is about. Everything else is commentary.

The business of teaching: the classroom teacher does it one way; life does it very differently


This inspiring dialogue between Robert Kiyosaki and Rich Dad in Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad goes a very long way to revealing how life conducts the business of teaching, as different from how our classroom teachers do it. Life has always been a great teacher; just that you may not have known all along. This is time to know.

Kiyosaki: I thought you were going to keep your end of the bargain and teach me. Instead you want to torture me? That’s cruel. That’s really cruel.

Rich Dad: I am teaching you.

Kiyosaki: What have you taught me? Nothing! You haven’t even talked to me once since I agreed to work.

Rich Dad: Wow! Now you sound just like most of the people

Kiyosaki: So what do you have to say? You lied to me. I’ve worked for you, and you have not kept your word. You haven’t taught me anything.

Rich Dad: How do you know that I’ve not taught you anything?

Kiyosaki: Well, you’ve never talked to me. I’ve worked for three weeks, and you have not taught me anything.

Rich Dad: Does teaching mean talking or a lecture?

Kiyosaki: Well, yes.

Rich Dad:

That’s how they teach you in school. But that is not how life teaches you, and I would say that life is the best teacher of all. Most of the time, life does not talk to you. It just sort of pushes you around. Each push is life saying, ‘Wake up. There’s something I want you to learn.’

Kiyosaki: [silently] What is this man talking about? Life pushing me around was life talking to me?

Rich Dad:

If you learn life’s lessons, you will do well. If not, life will just continue to push you around. People do two things. Some just let life push them around. Others get angry and push back. But they push back against their boss, or their job, or their husband or wife. They do not know it’s life that’s pushing. Life pushes all of us around. Some give up. Others fight. A few learn the lesson and move on. They welcome life pushing them around. To these few people, it means they need and want to learn something. They learn and move on. Most quit, and a few like you fight. If you learn this lesson, you will grow into a wise, wealthy and happy young man. If you don’t, you will spend your life blaming a job, low pay or your boss for your problems. You’ll live life hoping for that big break that will solve all your problems. Or if you’re the kind of person who has no guts, you just give up every time life pushes you. If you’re that kind of person, you’ll live all your life playing it safe, doing the right things, saving yourself for some event that never happens. Then, you die a boring old man. You’ll have lots of friends who really like you because you were such a nice hardworking guy. You spent a life playing it safe, doing the right things. But the truth is, you let life push you into submission. Deep down you were terrified of taking risks. You really wanted to win, but the fear of losing was greater than the excitement of winning. Deep inside, you and only you will know you didn’t go for it. You chose to play it safe.”

Kiyosaki: You’ve been pushing me around?

Rich Dad: Some people might say that. I would say that I just gave you a taste of life.

Kiyosaki: What taste of life?

Rich Dad: So when Mike told me about you wanting to learn, I decided to design a course that was close to real life. I could talk until I was blue in the face, but you wouldn’t hear a thing. So I decided to let life push you around a bit so you could hear me

Kiyosaki: So what is the lesson I learned from working? That you’re cheap and exploit your workers?

Rich Dad: You’d best change your point of view. Stop blaming me, thinking I’m the problem. If you think I’m the problem, then you have to change me. If you realize that you’re the problem, then you can change yourself, learn something and grow wiser. Most people want everyone else in the world to change but themselves. Let me tell you, it’s easier to change yourself than everyone else.

Kiyosaki: I don’t understand.

Rich Dad: Don’t blame me for your problems. See, you think I’m the problem. But you are. Well, keep that attitude and you learn nothing. Keep the attitude that I’m the problem and what choices do you have? …

Kiyosaki: So what will solve the problem?

Rich Dad: This, [tapping me gently on the head] This stuff between your ears.

6 Things every woman wishes every man knew


To be a man is not a day’s job, many men say. But what about being a woman? I just hope that the claim that to be a man is not a day’s job does not in any way suggest that to be a woman is a day’s job. In fact, methinks that to be a woman is something out of earth. I’m probably not a woman now because God always knew I wouldn’t have been able to do it. I arrived at this conclusion after realizing the following:

1. “It is difficult being a woman; don’t you get it!”
It’s oftentimes said that the cost of training up the girlchild can comfortably do for two or more boys. Even commonsense suggests this is true: the health concerns, the clothing, the aesthetics, the comfort, and the etcetera. It is way difficult to be a woman; don’t you get it?

2. “Were special; treat us as such”
Who doesn’t know that women are special? If you don’t, then you’re alone in that class. For more than one reason, women are pretty special. God made them so; their indispensable natural and social roles affirm this. And so, it behooves on you to treat them as such. Of course, you should never raise a fist in her direction; there are better and constructive ways to settle disputes and resolve differences. Treat them special; all of them!

3. “We always forget; always remind us”
On the average, a fair lady receives as many I love yous as needed to forget a particular I love you. And so, never leave her in doubt as to whether you love her or not. Truth be told, everything you can possibly get from her depends on her full knowledge of your love for her; loving you back is the least of her problems; its as simple as returning x10 of your love for her. Always remind her you love her, always do, always do, never leave her in doubt.

4. “We care; more than you know”
Are you doubting that your woman cares about you? Then you definitely don’t know that she cares about you far more than you can possibly know. Yes, a woman’s heart is more about caring for her significant other than for other things of seeming importance. And whenever you accuse women of being too jealous or overly sentimental, you’re saying the same thing in another way. However, some of them already know that making that care pretty obvious leaves them vulnerable, and so may not be ‘card-carrying’ about it. Therefore, if you already know that she loves you, then this is time to know that she always care – more than you can imagine. Aren’t you her baby anymore? I don’t mean your mother, please.

5. “Were always under pressure; don’t add to it”
“Because you’re a woman.” That’s the pressure pot inside which every woman is cooking; just too many social roles to fill in. Mainstream society insists that to truly be woman calls for a particular behavioral set, manner of: speaking, body carriage, dressing, curtseying, relationships, sexuality, etc. Truth be told, this is not is! When the expectations are way too high, pressure sets in and fun is kicked out. And what is life without fun? Boring. Indeed.
And so, every woman expects every man to understand that the natural and social demands on her are enormous; she’s always expected to think and act in a particular way, and all she does from dawn to dusk is try to fit in. If men knew this, they wouldn’t complicate the situation further by making more demands.

6. “We try really hard; try to understand”
Before you complain about a woman’s performance, first understand that she’s given it the entire try she could. In fact, she feels terrible already that she didn’t do great, given that she’s expected to always do great. Of course, if a guy understands that his woman try really hard, he will always understand.