BIODUN VS. DAKOLO

< why we should watch out for ourselves instead >

I’m old enough to accept that I mustn’t have or air my opinion about everything, which is why I haven’t uttered a word on #BiodunDakolo, safe when after Mass last Sunday a friend came at me with the topic. Wendy wanted to know what my thoughts on the matter were. I simply told her, and angrily so, that while I’m leaving it to the courts (if they choose to explore the option) to rule on whether Biodun is guilty or not, every generation gets the sort of men of God she “creates.” On a good day, I hope to demonstrate how our generation has succeeded in churning out packs of reckless and fraudulent men of God. And the earlier we started undoing what we’ve done, the better for all of us. I insist that men of God should first be seen, and related with, as men – or women – before God is brought into the picture. Story for another day.

While I’ve restrained myself from going about social media with the matter on ground, I’ve read next to everything on it that came my way. As it was being discussed on different chat groups I belong, I made out time to read everything: what people think, how they feel, and what they recommend. Quite naturally, Mrs. Dakolo is voted victim and deserving of all the sympathies. Of course, the other camp isn’t missing out on points; they think Mrs. Dakolo is up to something. Good for them.

“Cornel, where the heck do you belong?” you may be wondering. Sorry to disappoint, I belong elsewhere. Rape being a serious crime, I think Dakolo and Biodun should go argue the case in court while we await the verdict of the judge; I hear they’re 30 other witnesses to testify. I think we should spend more of this time looking into our very own lives; this episode should call for sober reflection. 16 years down the line, a serious academic should become a professor; get busy considering the possibility of being stripped of your title by the number of plagiarisms you’ve already done. As a young man “dicking around” and not knowing how many seeds have already germinated here and there, bother yourself about the possibility of fruits showing up at your doorsteps after you’ve arrived. And whatever you succeed in becoming tomorrow, bother yourself today with the malpractices and all what nots you’ve already done that’d eventually become the things around your neck. Kindly get busy fixing these things; make peace with the nights of your past before your future dawns.

Lastly, when shit gets smeared all over your face, like on that of Biodun right now, then you’d know that most people in your live today are there for their convenience. They’d just leave you. They’d just join the bandwagon in crucifying you. Trust me, even when you’re guilty as charged, and clearly so, you need friends who still believe in you in spite of your mess and can make bold bets on your future. Let’s get busy shopping for such friends now – by being one ourselves.

Your No.1 fan,
Cornel

PS. It’s OK to talk. It is more OK to reflect.

CALCULATE YOUR FIGHT’S WORTH

< to know when to fight. and when to walk >

This is nothing about me making my personal experience an ideal. This is more of a testimony to the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit. And today is Pentecost!!! In a very shocking way, He taught me something that brought me peace like a river in an instant – and may help you going forward.

I’ll cut the long story short. This “super-silly” customer care rep (and this is me trying to be nice) started talking at me rudely – to my face! The temptation was to cure her madness by saying something that’d momentarily shutdown her brain, something like, “Hey, young lady, why are you being an idiot here? You see how albino you look, right? You can imagine that the complexion of your face will be exactly that of red oil if I give you the resounding slap you rightly deserve for speaking to a customer in such an uncouth manner.” Read that again in Queen’s English. lol!

On the contrary, I found myself suddenly, surprisingly, and immediately turning my back at her and walking away. And I’d zoomed off with such speed that the said human being started begging me to come back, I guess, fearing what I may come back with. Not saying a word, not looking back, not to mention going back to escalate my case up the chain of command…

While I walked, feeling very weak for not having manned up, for not having proven a point to her, that people shouldn’t be spoken to in such an uncouth manner, for letting go of my hard-earned money, a word of knowledge ministered to me, “Don’t be so blinded by your ego that you couldn’t see the end from the beginning.” While still trying to recover from the shock of those words, it continued, “Yes, you’d have won; yes, you’d have gotten your money back, but will the cost of being right you’d have had to pay be worth it?” And while I was trying to figure out the meaning of those words, it concluded, “I who gives you power to get wealth will make up for that.” Funnily, he already did, as I’d gotten multiples of the disputed amount minutes earlier.

Upon further reflection, I realized the following:

1. She knew she’s at fault and was only trying to transfer her liability to me. Why? Because her company will fix her mess from her very next salary. She was kinda fighting for her life. lol!

2. To win the case, I’d need to first get very angry at her for trying to rub off her mess on me. Then spend all the time I’d be needing to establish my case, and still wait for the “management to sit” before a decision is reached.

3. Would I have tried to correct her, to make her a better person for next time? But I’m not her Lord and saviour na. lol!

Don’t get me wrong, there are times when sticking to your guns and fighting to the death is a sacred duty. We need wisdom to know those times. But there are times when walking away is also a sacred duty, when the first isn’t worth it one bit, when you’ve to labour to prove a point that ain’t worth it.

It’s important to always calculate your fight’s worth, so you don’t end up losing even when you win. Like Kenny Rogers’s gambler, know when to walk away, know when to run.

Your No.1 fan,
Cornel

HOW LIFE WORKS

< we always never know >

Last night was the mother of all match nights. I didn’t quite think one could be “shattered” by joy until I read Sammie’s rather hilarious post this morning – of a Liverpool fan who inquired of him how to convince a non-football fan boss that he won’t make work for the “shattering” from last night. No doubt, football match outcomes are highly unpredictable, so much that the multibillion dollar betting industry was built on it, last night’s super-humiliating Liverpool-Barcelona outing was somewhat different for having the ‘Anfielders’ come back from an embarrassing 3-nil at Camp Nou. More so, the arguable god of soccer, Lionel Messi, who was visibly worshipped at the last meeting for “that” free-kick, lost his magic.

While the rest of the football world busied with the fanfare that goes with such a night as last night, I took to reflecting on how much the events of last night simulated how life actually works, to the effect that we just never know.

1. When Messi and Suarez sat side by side having fun for themselves as they jetted from Spain to the UK, did they have the faintest idea what was coming last night?

2. When Ernesto Valverde and his men were working out the squad to be fielded against the Reds, did they even imagine that it was gonna come any close to what played out last night?

3. When Klopp was making those game-changing substitutions, was he hell sure it was gonna deliver big as we saw last night?

4. When Mo Salah stood before his wardrobe to pick a shirt in which he’d watch the match from the bench, and when he did decide for the one that had “Never Give Up,” was he sure the inscription on his shirt was gonna make any difference?

>>> Frankly, Liverpool didn’t know they were gonna win, and Barcelona didn’t know they were gonna win. Just like you and I know next to nothing that’d become of us in the seconds, minutes, hours, days and years ahead. We just never know, and that’s called “life.”

Our best bet is to just try. To always show up with our A-game, putting our best foot forward. To never give up – no matter how bad it seems, as it’s never too bad.

Your No.1 fan,
Cornel

THE POLITICS OF MENTAL HEALTH

< how we may all be mentally challenged, and why you should check yourself >

Just three stories. And my point.

1. Growing up in the Ogoja area of Cross River, I once witnessed a young man – in the neighborhood of the thirties – leave his sister with multiple and really deep cuts. He was just a second away from stabbing her to death when her survival instinct kicked in. The knife was blazing sharp. The cuts were really deep. And no one in the future would believe her blood brother did that to her. Now, the young man in question was a really great guy, but he literally goes ‘mad’ whenever his anger button was pushed. Another day it was a gun against someone who’d insulted him. Yet another day it was a duel with a policeman. And on a normal day he’s a perfect gentleman.

I tell you most solemnly, it’s only a matter of politics that he wasn’t labelled ‘mad.’

2. Sometime in 2015, I learnt of a certain Mia. True life story. Beautiful lady. Terrific chorister; the type with whom the average guy would wish to spend the rest of his life being alive. Asked why he didn’t follow through on his plan to marry her, her erstwhile fiancé retorted that he simply had to pick between dying in her arms and staying alive. He confessed that she literally turns into a monster in the “other room.” She comes at him like only a tiger would, and never seems to get enough of it. For the record, it’s not just the question of high libido here; it’s about being a sex maniac. And if you never get to make it to the “other room” with her, then you’d never know she’s capable of riding a man to an early grave.

3. Recently, I went visiting some friends, and there met a young man who was described to me moments later as “weird to an uncommon degree.” Everything seems to be wrong with him all at once. And as they narrated more of their experiences with him, I just knew it was it. Everything perfectly fit into the bipolar box. But they’d taught he was merely being frustrated by the happenstances around him; little did they know he was simply being his bipolar self.

******

Following the suicide saga, they’ve been loads and lots of conversations around mental health. Some informed. Others uninformed. And some others half-truths. I’m not here to further that conversation but to draw our attention to the fact that it’s only a matter of politics that the people featured in the above stories are thought to be normal – and not forced to seek urgent help. We must change the way we view madness, our impressions about psychotherapy and psychiatry; we should embrace them as fitting remedies for diseases of the mind, which we all have been inflicted with albeit in varying degrees.

And so, if we all look into ourselves, we may as well find that we could all be mentally challenged in some respect – and should as much go sourcing for help.

My point: Instead of busying ourselves in search of those who need mental health support, we should also look inwards to see how we may be in dare need of it ourselves.

Your No.1 fan,
Cornel

PS. The second story is rated 18. If you’re less than 18 and you’ve already read it, now go back and unread it.

‘LEAVE AM FOR GOD’

< why we should trouble no one about their religion >

Whenever people have conversations like the one upon which I’ve set out, those who care about them fear for them. They fear that they’ve lost faith. And if they end up with the sort of conclusion I’d be winding up with, they fear all the more. They fear that God punishes those who pitch themselves against the faith. Therefore, I like to start by allaying them, my crew, of those fears. Guys, there’s no cause for alarm; “What the father has taught me is what I preach.” Did you laugh? You’re wrong if you didn’t.

The encounter between a shopkeeper and a policeman I chanced upon last night really got me thinking. And cracking. Long story short. The Muslim shopkeeper says to the policeman, “By the grace of God, one day you will become a Muslim.” The obviously Christian policeman forcibly retorts, “God forbid! That’s the last thing I’d do.” Me? I had a really good laugh for myself. The catch for me was that both men made recourse to the same God in their mutual hate for each other’s religion. May I humbly request you don’t bother yourself trying to convince me that it’s not the same God? Yea, it’s not necessary. Because I’m unto a different point altogether.

I really think – and this is my own thinking ooo – that we got it wrong when we decided to start helping God do his job; when some human beings transformed themselves into God’s own secretaries, and starting knowing exactly what’s on God’s mind: how exactly he wants things to be done, where exactly he wants all of us to be, who will glory in heaven and who will burn in hell, which religion is the way and which church is true. And, trust me, these are matters of opinion, and we’re in the religious mess we’re in right now because nobody can be wrong in matters of opinion. It’s even a bigger problem when people by themselves convert their opinions into truth claims.

My opinion on this matter has ways been that God should sort himself out. If he didn’t do anything about the rise of Islam, does that not already say he’s fine with it? Unless you think he needed help. Where was he when his priest Martin Luther led the Protestant revolution? For me, not to have stopped him means he’s fine with it. Why hasn’t he shutdown the Catholic Church. Methinks he’s still fine with having us around. Why can’t we just trust that God knows what he’s doing, that he’s already figured out a way to sort these things out on the last day.

Jesus was gentleman enough in his formula for evangelism: “Preach to only those who make you welcome. And if they don’t, leave.” The most they could react was shake off the dust from their feet – not insist. Let’s be realistic, with the number of different religions in existence and growing number of Christian churches with some adopting a ‘bokoharamic’ evangelism method, do you think any human being can make everything one again? Was it ever one at any time?

I think God should sort this one out for himself; “this matter don pass our level.” I don’t see him needing help here. Unless you think otherwise. For me, whatever you think is still fine.

Your No.1 fan,
Cornel

PS. If you’re not God, don’t come and be quarreling with me ooo.