OF LINES AND RHYMES

For brothers in muse…

When I started writing poems some years back, I was literarily drunk in rhymes. For each line, words must entwine like the stems of a vine.

However, along the line, my interest in rhymes faded and I discovered that I could even write better and finer without rhymes. Lending credence to this, I have seen great poets and poems focusing less on rhymes and the results are masterpieces.


Unfortunately, I have seen and read many budding poets and poems chasing rhymes to a fault. Many lose their message in the needless pursuits of rhymes; forced rhymes at that. These days, unconsciously, I only skim through rhythmic poems trying to discover the patterns rather than uncover the message.
So, this is my one cent to upcoming poets, ditch the rhymes, if they are not flowing. Allow your mind and muse the latitude to wander and discover the beauty of words weaved together like braids on an African woman’s head. 

Festive euphoria; how plans fade with it!

Over the years, I have discovered that I have become more reserved in celebration, most especially in festive periods as this. Rather than jump up and down, I, with a straight face but deeply engaged mind, ponder on the mistakes and breakthroughs of the past, the challenges and prospects of the unfolding days, and of course, with a heart of gratitude.

It’s a season of euphoria that brings with it plethora of ‘news’ – “new me“, “new life“, and the common “new year resolutions” – many of which turn out to be fickle. As the euphoria dwindles, the fickleness becomes conspicuous.

However, in my reserved state, I’ve come to the realization that in making giant strides in a new year, it’s beyond some deceptive spur-of-the-moment decisions that will simmer down with the euphoria. You have to be intentional. You know when someone tells you that “you did it intentionally“, it means there’s a sense of deliberateness.

So, you have to be deliberate about every one of your plans. Every one! Be daring and raring to go at each one, not because the atmosphere is electrifying but because you’re charged from within to become a better person; not because it’s a new year but because the breaking of each day demands a better you.

BE DELIBERATE. Write down your ideas as they come. Write them! Ponder on them before you launch. Consult extensively. Strategize. Re-strategize. Execute.

 It’s not going to be easy. That’s why you also should not find it easy to fade with the festive euphoria.

Happy new year!
Fadipe S.O.J.

If Arsenal Were A Woman…

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For more times than I can remember, I’ve wondered, albeit silently, how I became an Arsenal fan. The recurrent heartbreaks; the usual weekend headaches; the dashed hopes; the too many promising footballing seasons that ended up in our customary league position ( you all know it).

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The Invincibles

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Captain Vieira lifting the EPL Trophy won in 2003/2004 season

However, things have not always been like this. This club was once the toast of English football; this club at one point in time went a whole season without losing to any team. Yes! The team lost no match during a whole season and racked up 49 games unbeaten. A feat even the arguably greatest team to have ever played the game, Barcelona, have not been able to achieve. This club is the record holder of the English FA Cup, though this was recently achieved.

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Several other feats have accrued to the badge of this club. But unfortunately, they all seem to be overwhelmed by the failure of the team in the past few years. As many predicted, this season is on the verge of going down the same lane. One of the most, if not the most promising seasons for the club in recent times is already faltering, failing and falling like a pack of dominoes. The team is about to break our hearts in a grand style again and this is the inspiration behind the title of this piece, “if Arsenal were a woman…”

Relationship experts have held that the cliché, “opposites attract” do not really apply to relationships. So sincerely, if Arsenal were to be a woman, with her flashy colours and adornments, I wouldn’t have been moved and attracted. I have a reservation for flashy women. I prefer the conservative third colour of the blue side of London. But we may be friends, just friends. Definitely not more than friends. No intimacy.

If Arsenal were a woman, with her conspicuous attitude of being too demanding; overly demanding more than every other woman in the neighborhood, trust me, we would not even be friends. No one likes a woman who knows no boundary in making demands, especially pecuniary. No one does. No one. (Arsenal match tickets are the costliest in England)

However, if despite her gaudy and needy nature, the untamed man in me still went ahead to win her heart,
she would have long returned to her father’s house, maybe with bruises and swollen face, for no heart deserves to be broken incessantly like Arsenal does ours.

If Arsenal were a woman, breaking hearts as if they are plastic, no man, not even the most patient and callous of men, would hear of her professionalism in heartbreaking and still be interested.

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Listless performances when a win matters the most; the too many outings that suggest lack of belief from the team; the many humiliating results in the hands of both big and small teams. The list is endless. The heartbreak seems ceaseless.

But, like a woman enduring an abusive relationship without an explanation, we are here to stay. This love is unshakeable. We’ve been battered and bruised but we remain allegiant. It might be inconceivable to others why we are so obstinate, but WE ARE THE ARSENAL and this is our team!

However, my only prayer is that I may find a woman to love like Arsenal. That despite her too many shortcomings and inconsistencies,  I’d remain faithful and loyal to her till my last breath.

So, if Arsenal were a woman, with this kind of love oozing in my heart for her, her mistakes are forgiven, even before they are made, and my loyalty to her will be unflinching.

May I find her, like I found Arsenal!

View From Afar

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howstuffworks.com

Come, let’s reason together.

Have you ever pondered on this?
How come when you view an airplane that flies over your house, it looks smaller than it really is at the airport or hangar? An individual with a limited exposure who has not come close to an airplane would be forgiven if he innocently thinks this ‘small’ object that flies over his house should be for lifting of tiny creatures and definitely not humans.

Also, how come that gigantic building in your neighbourhood looks very small when viewed from afar? Let’s be more specific. How come Cocoa House in Ibadan looks like a small building when seen from University of Ibadan? In fact, you may not even see it all. Olumo Rock in Abeokuta, though not far from my house, still looks like a pile of the undersized rocks in “Odo Ogun” in Lafenwa until I come face to face with it through the gate.

In a nutshell, how come great things look minuscule from afar? I really don’t know but there’s a lesson to be learnt.

It is the same with humans. People look insignificant from a distance until you move closer and have a better look or strike a conversation. This is why it has never been and will never be advisable to rush to conclusion about people when viewing them from afar. That person you belittle from a distance might just be one of those people who believe not in a flamboyant and attention-attracting appearance but whose dogs take fresh three-square meals daily. You might not know that that small girl that already has her own baby was drawn into such because of family vicissitudes but you would have condemned her for being wayward, forgetting that no one chooses the family to be born into; you might not know that that “okada” rider is a university graduate but you would have spoken to him in an undignified manner with your phony British accent because he is just an “okada rider”, augmenting his pile of daily miseries.

The quote, “do not judge a book by its cover”, may have become a cliché but its truth and relevance will not wane.

In the same vein, on seeing a lady with poise laced with elegance and a beautiful upright carriage, you might have been rendered speechless until she speaks and you hear, “what I do?” Well, words will still elude you.

#sunfad

2015 GENERAL ELECTIONS; FIVE (5) RELATIONSHIP TAKE-AWAYS

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What started as a fierce and blood-promising battle ended as a show of courage and real sportsmanship; the Nigerian 2015 general elections. March 28 and April 11 served as another avenue for destiny to be re-written and the people have duly decided, using the power of the ballot.

In the build-up to the elections, several prophecies of doom were declared and there were expectations of violence on a large scale but the post-election ambience has been one of peace and tranquility. Kudos to the first Nigerian President to lose the bid for re-election. I do not regard him as a hero as many have done but I see him as a record-breaker in both negative and positive senses. But this is a debate for another day.

Many lessons have been learnt and several articles have proceeded from the outcome of the elections but after spending few minutes in Zik Hall loo some days ago, there was a rush of inspiration to write from another perspective, that of relationships.  I thought, “How did a man’s ladder of ascension turn out to be his source of downfall four years later?” How did the ‘relationship’ between President Goodluck Jonathan and Nigerians deteriorate in the span of four years and how was General Muhammadu Buhari able to woo over Nigerians after three unsuccessful attempts at the Presidency? The following are my five relationship take-aways from the just concluded historic elections.

1. Nothing lasts forever
If there is one belief I’ve always had, it is that nothing lasts forever, including relationships. Relationships break, courtships end, marriages at times end up in divorce etc and definitely, life goes on. It is this belief that my dear friend and mate, Queen of http://www.queenoset.wordpress.com does not feel comfortable with whenever I express. An argument once ensued on this topic some time ago during our days in University of Ibadan. But it is the truth, nothing lasts forever. However, this does not mean that all relationships are always headed towards break-up. Accepting only one side amounts to allowing the dangers of a single story.

The relationship between Nigerians and GEJ was bound to end one day. It was just the early break-up that GEJ never saw coming. And one day, GMB will also become Nigerians’ ex, whether by exhaustion or through the same fate that befell his soon-to-be predecessor.

2. Sustenance of romance
More often than not, relationships can become boring, the initial spark can fade away and monotony sets in.  Then partners start looking for the easy way out. A very good way of preventing this is that initial romance needs to be sustained. That a woman has finally ‘succumbed’ and has become your ‘bae’ should not amount to automatic decrease in the things you did to buy her over. If you get her, you should keep her, except, of course, she doesn’t want to be kept.

Many politicians fail to realize this principle that campaign is done in poetry and governance in prose, as was said in “Yes We Can! The Lost Art of Oratory.” As a result, they sharpen their tongues for campaign but their actions become blunt during governance. President GEJ rode on Nigerians’ sympathy and dogged support to Aso Rock but could not sustain it with his show of over-liberalism towards corruption and inability to protect the lives and properties of those on whose shoulders he rode to Abuja. Consequently, the relationship became strained and the people in turn fell in love with the General.

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3. Love doesn’t cost a thing
It is the truth that love does not cost a thing. It cannot be bought. No amount of movie dates at Ventura Mall or shopping dates at Shoprite can buy love. You’d only end up being the sure-fire ATM. Even though I personally wonder if I buy a brand new car for a lady, she won’t fall in love with me. But definitely, I won’t do such for a random lady if the means abound.

In the just concluded elections and the recent ones, it has been proven that the people have become much more enlightened. Neither their conscience, love nor their votes could be bought with money. Some even collected money from opposing candidates but voted for those they already had in mind. Some of these politicians also realized this. For instance, in my hood, they told people that they would give them money only after they had cast their votes for the ruling party. But after the announcement of results, the victory shout signified that the people cared less about the penny they would have collected. Love does not cost a thing.

4. Blood seldom fails
Out of the different types of relationships, it is the blood relationship that fails the least. Family will always be family. Definitely, I agree that brothers can become sworn enemies and parents can disown children but the failure of marriages, sexual and platonic relationships have put to shame the rate of blood betrayal. Your boyfriend can become your ex, your wife can run away with another man, your friend can ditch you but your brother will always have your back, ceteris paribus.

It was not surprising that after the results of the elections were announced, President GEJ won in almost all, if not all states in the East and South-South and General Muhammadu Buhari won massively in the North. Their respective brothers had their backs, including cattle and minors. Blood seldom fails.

5. Never give up
Finally, another very important relationship lesson to take away from the general elections is to never give up on the one whom you love. For men, some ladies may not give you problem while some may play the hard-to-get game. For the latter, do not give up. You might end up being her knight in shining armour. Keep trying but do not get cornered into a ‘dangerous zone’ that can kill your dream. However, ladies should also note that an over-flogged hard-to-get will make you become hard-to-want.

Buhari never gave up on Nigerians. We played hard-to-get with him on three occasions but eventually found a soft spot for him and gave him our hearts on the fourth attempt. Dear brother, never give up on the sister.

#sunfad

I’m Afraid

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The 2015 polls are fast approaching. In fact, in two days, every mood swing will give way to the mood of election and the teeming Nigerian populace will head out to their different polling booths to once again decide their destiny for another four years.

Like every four years, the hunger is as strong as ever. The hunger for the man who would help bring home our Golden Fleece; the hunger for the man who would eventually fulfill the seemingly timeless saying, “Nigeria go better”; the hunger for our Joseph who would help avert the looming famine, or as many Nigerians may rightly think, help pull us out from this present famine of dividends of democracy.

Deep down within me, it seems my mind is already made up on who gets my vote on March 28. But, on second thought, I’m afraid. Politicians have proven to be among the worst sets of human breeds, reeking of lies, deceit and armed with every instrument of manipulation. Yet, their righteousness is as white as snow and not as filthy rags during electioneering campaigns. This is why the likes of Prof. Remi Sonaiya, Pastor Chris Okotie, Prof. Pat Utomi et al, may never get a chance to relocate to Aso Rock.

Like what every other Nigerian might be going through, a brother told me few days ago that he was in a dilemma as to who to cast his vote for in the forthcoming elections. The people have yearned for a Messiah every four years and each time, he has eluded them. Now is another opportunity, either for continuity or change, and the people once again seem lost in the valley of decision, for these ones, as always, are wolves in sheep clothing. I’m afraid.

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Many are rooting for the former military dictator solely because they just do not want ‘continuity’ to rule for another four years, while many are supporting the latter because they just do not see ‘change’ as a better alternative. The battle of two Cs. Right now, it seems we are faced with the options of two extremes; the seemingly over-liberal and the seemingly high-handed. I’m afraid.

I’m afraid we might not get it right again. Politically, the other Presidential candidates, no matter the level of their capabilities, are only catfish in this ocean of two sharks and they had already been swallowed right from the blast of the kick-off whistle.

I’m afraid if continuity prevails, we might be preparing for another bout of robust insecurity. I’m afraid if change wins, we might have a pseudo-military era for the next four years. German poet, Rilke, said, “a person is not whom they are during the last conversation, they are whom they’ve been throughout the whole relationship.”

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I’m afraid if GEJ triumphs, the leak in our national treasury might become widened like the primary tool of a member of the oldest profession and ‘corruption’ may conveniently be substituted for Nigeria in any sentence. I’m afraid if GMB wins, the messiah proponents of change chant might be a mistaken identity and the Messiah we crave for might remain elusive.

Like every other well-meaning Nigerian, I’m afraid. We have to choose between two evils, two Cs. Cs whose meanings are a function of context. Our context now is election, yet, the meanings of the Cs are ambiguous.

On March 28, we go to the polls with the hope of choosing the right ‘C’. But whichever ‘C’ prevails, one thing is sure, either we get a continuity of misfortune or a change of fortune; either we get a continuity of fortune or a change of misfortune, depending on your perspective.

#sunfad

How Did She Become Our First Lady?

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Patience Jonathan, Nigeria’s First Lady

In as much as my blog is not dedicated to politics, I cannot  control the urge to bear out my mind on the recent unguarded political utterances of our First Lady, the ironically self-styled Mama Peace. Utterances that signify paucity of reasonable advisers and portray the Nigerian women in bad light. To realize that the Office of the First Lady is even only a conventional and not a constitutional office adds salt to the injury. The question then is: “how did Patience Jonathan become our First Lady”?

Indeed, we are not new to her pardonable wide-of-the-mark grammars which have been sources of comic relief to the whole nation, but these recent utterances are utterly inexcusable and in all sincerity, are own goals scored by the First Lady against the re-election bid of the nation’s First Man.  For easy reference, some of these utterances will be reproduced here.

In Port Harcourt, during one of her campaign tours, she said, “If you get belle (pregnancy), don’t worry. Goodluck go marry you.” Seriously, who says something like this?

On March 2nd, in Calabar, she said, “anybody that come and tell you change, stone that person. Anybody that come and tell you he will change, stone that person. What you did not do in…, is now that old age has caught up with you, you want to come and change? You can’t change; rather you will turn back to a baby. You will turn back to a baby.” Apart from the fact that this is criminally inciting, it should not have proceeded from the mouth of the nation’s first woman, who is supposed to be an epitome of womanhood to the nation’s millions of women. I ask, how on earth did we get here?

In Kwara, she uttered this, “Kwara is PDP. They stole the mandate because the Government House they are occupying today is in the name of the PDP. We shall take it over. Every day, they change from one name to another and very soon they will change to Ebola and death will come.”

In Ekiti, she said this: “what did they forget in Aso rock? If you vote PDP and Jonathan, it would be better for you. If you vote APC, you will go to prison. How can you jail somebody for 300 years? I’m not ready to carry food to my husband inside prison oh! “

Sincerely, if ours were to be a sane clime, with these utterances, there will already be certainty that the only place Jonathan will ‘enter’ on May 29 is his Otuoke residence because the statements and body language of a nation’s First Lady are as important as those of the President. Michelle Obama understood this during Barack Obama’s re-election bid.

The last and the most hilarious of her utterances that I will talk about is the unconfirmed report that she said, “am better First lady than Obama wife. Did she campaign for her husband like this when his own eleshun time come?” Now, if she truly said this, it seems Mama Peace has mistaken her uncouth utterances for political points. She has failed to realize that the taciturnity of the First Lady is much more advantageous than her unrefined loquacity, especially in times like this.

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Michelle Obama, US First Lady

Michelle Obama had better acolytes and she was much more tactical during Barack’s re-election bid, dispensing hugs to every available Tom, Dick and Harry, including sweaty basketball players, like an ATM dispensing cash to a successful ‘yahoo boy.’ Nytimes.com reported that she only delivered scathing critiques of Republicans in private, unlike our Mama Peace, who goes about planting her off-beam grammars on every available ground. When she was campaigning, Mrs. Obama approached the task like an Olympic gymnast tackling a routine: she practiced relentlessly and when it was performance time, she executed according to plan.

Also according to the report, throughout her time in the White House, she and her advisers carefully protected her image; she knew her husband would need her for re-election from early on and she mostly avoided controversy, highly aware that any mistake on her part could cost her husband. Unfortunately, same cannot be said of Madam Patience Jonathan. The more she talks, the more she spews egregiousness and destroys the already slim chances of the man that had no shoes, giving more confidence to the proponents of change.

How did she become our First Lady? The answer seems simple: because we voted for her husband and we could not ask the man we voted for to divorce his heartthrob when the most sensitive office in the nation beckoned. I must say it that if there was any iota of doubt as to casting my vote for President Jonathan in the coming election, it has all been erased. The office of the President is as important to me as that of the First Woman, whose actions and body language are supposed to reflect that of a nation-maker, who is supposed to be peace personified in the face of all odds and above the political fray and who is supposed to be a role-model for all Nigerian women as to how to build their homes.

So, if the First Man cannot tame the First Lady, then they both deserve not to remain the First Family. March 28 is the day of reckoning.

PS:
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#sunfad