If Arsenal Were A Woman…


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).


The Invincibles


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.


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.


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!


Will You?


What if?

What if on a day like this I take you out on a date? A date for two. At a private corner on Broad Street. In the eventide.

The path leading to the well-adorned table; paved with jasmine of soothing smell, and chocolate cosmos of light vanilla fragrance. Both creating a tender sensation under our feet.

Your right arm under the protective cover of my left. We walk gracefully.

The corner; dimly lit with candles tardily burning to the rhythm of the atmosphere.

Soul music plays at the background.

From across the table, you look radiant. I’ve never seen you like this. The smile that forms at the corners of your lips melts my masculinity.

Let not this perfect moment be ruined. “Should I pop the question?” “Yes I should”.

I go down on one knee. I start:

“Baby, among many you stood out.”
“I tested many waters but all drowned me; you stood out”.
“I almost gave up on love. But my final trial became my perfect trial. You stood out.

I dip my hand into the inner breastpocket of my jacket.

” Baby, will you?” She gasps for breath

“As I have made you smile with this fantasy date today, will you make others smile in reality in 2016 with a genuine show of love?”

“Will you lift others up when they are down?”

“Will you still believe in others even when they fall short of it?”

Will you?

With love from The B.E.L.I.E.F. Initiative.

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a 2016 reeking of dogged feeling of possibilities.

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Few Weeks to Law School… There’s No Better Time

Law School logo

After several months of waiting for Law School (especially for those of us who should have gone since last year), the wait is now gradually winding down and the big day is almost here. As expected, there is huge anticipation and anxiety in the air and preparation for resumption is in top gear.

However, apart from the expected anticipation, anxiety, eagerness and fear for some, there is a growing trend among the Law School hopefuls which is worth mentioning. This trend will be illustrated in these three fictitious but real cases;

  1. Isaac Odugbemi v. Queen Esther: In this case the “petitioner” is a friend of mine who has been courting the “respondent” for an intimate relationship for a period up to 10 months. During this period, both parties were going out and acting as couples but the petitioner was not satisfied and wanted to be sure of the real state of things before the next big thing in his life. So, few days ago, he asked again for an explicit answer and was cocksure of getting a positive reply but as fate would have it, he got an emphatic “NO”. It was a hard pill to swallow but surprisingly after a few days, he was praying the trial judge, saying, “There’s no better time for judicial separation”.
  2. Abednego Kanu v. First Bank: Both parties had been judicially noticed as couple for some months even though there were pressures from third parties to dissolve their “marriage”. However, after a few months of being away from each other, mistrust crept into them and the petitioner started accusing the respondent of bigamy. Few days ago, the petitioner petitioned for dissolution of their marriage but the respondent had no iota of objection and could not hide her joy, saying, “At least, I’d be free for the next one year”.
  3. JOE & 17 ors v. FFA & 17 ors: Some months ago, the respondents got a decree absolute against the appellants but the latter appealed the decree which has been before the Court of Appeal since then. But few months ago, the appellants brought an application before the court to withdraw the appeal on the ground that “the decree absolute is a blessing in disguise”.

From the foregoing, I believe strongly that you already know the trend. So, the question is, “why are many Law School imminent students fleeing from boarding the “ship of relation”? Ships of relation whose anchor could not hold are getting hit by the iceberg.  The imminent ones still trying to set sail are backing down. But I begin to wonder, what then should singles who are married do? We all know them. Should I mention names?

wpid-img_20150815_220202.jpgWords of Onele Joseph, Esq.

The stories of the arduous, rigorous, voluminous and expensive nature of Law School won’t stop ringing in our heads. As a result, no one wants Iya Kayode’s money or Baba Aanu’s sweat to be in vain. No time for pestering and peevish complaints of “Are you now seeing another person over there?” or “you did not even call me since last week, isnor good o.” “Wait, why should I call you?” “Se ota aje ni iwo ni? “Are you an enemy of progress?”

However, it is worth noting that as there are two sides to a coin, it is the same with this issue at hand. Just as some are fleeing, some are prepping to board this ship or as they always say, “love finds us in least expected places”. I heard one of our brothers found the woman that now makes his heart skip a beat in this same Law School we are talking about.

So, I just think each person should do according to what pleases him or her. But for some of us, during the next one year our emotions will be under lock and key while the key will be left at home.

Few weeks to Law School, give him quit notice and he’ll gladly tell you, “There’s no better time.”

Few weeks to Law School, we can’t wait!

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Elvander Smith

In honour of a brother who fell in the struggle.

It was the eve of the Hallowed Day. It was my third year in the University of Colorado studying the African American experience in the United States from 1863 to the 21st century. The events of that night shaped my understanding of the essence of life; my approach to things.

During my first few months, being my first time away from my home country, I felt very lonely. I called it my “JJC Syndrome”. All that changed very soon thereafter. I found a friend in Elvander. Like every being out there, he was not free of his shortcomings but he was the most amazing talent I have ever seen. Above all, he was warm-hearted and very much forgiving. Like most Jamaicans, he loved good music. His talent was evident in how crafty and creative he was with the art of ceramics.  In a mini-workshop he had carved out of his apartment, he would ‘serve’ himself reggae music and set to work. His ingenuity remains incomparable. He made a living out of his passion. Everyone recognised his talent and he became a grand star on campus.
As Halloween approached that year, the most anticipated event was the much-publicized Award Night which was now seen as a traditional show before bonfire. I was convinced that the most coveted award of “Colorado’s finest” which, usually, goes to the most distinguished student would go to Elvander. On that day, around 4pm, I called Elvander, teased him and congratulated him in anticipation of what I regarded as an open secret. He disagreed with strong conviction. He said “Leo, not me, it is something else.” I laughed it off. “Something”?

He came to the event in midnight blue tux. He looked graceful. When the time came for Colorado’s finest to be announced, I saw him, quite unusually, showing some nerves. I understood. I had felt the same way a year earlier when I won the award. Surprisingly, Mr. Blackstone, the event organiser, called Elvander to come on stage to hand out the award. It was even more baffling because that was my place. It was traditional that the holder would hand it out to his or her successor. Elvander was all smiles though. Mr. Blackstone then announced. He said:
“It has been a special year. Now to Colorado’s finest.” He paused, smiled and then started again
“It has been a landmark year for Elvander but this award goes to another.  The winner is Elvander Smith.”
Convention had been breached in all ways; beautifully breached. Everyone who stood in the Alexander Dumbarton Hall that day was lost for words, for answers, for explanation as to how this beauty had come to be. It was a work of art beautifully made. The award had gone to a work of art made by Elvander. He called it Elvander Smith. It was his first name and that of his late brother. As it was unveiled, there was no sound of applause. We were all caught in that breathtaking moment of amazement. I joined Elvander on stage to congratulate him. I whispered into his ears, asking “Elv, why Elvander?” That question was as to why he would name the 8th wonder of the world after himself. It was a glittering oval ceramic structure. Elvander had been working on a secret project for months; there it stood. “You will get to know why soon” he replied. But “soon” came ten years after. Elvander took to the podium to deliver the acceptance speech which he said was on behalf of the winner, Elvander Smith.
“Elvander Smith represents my life; how we should see life. I….” As he said those words, pandemonium swept through the hall. Elvander slumped. The sorrow that perched on each person’s heart was palpable. That memory lingers in my head and brings agony. That day, I lost my best friend at an event where he was to be celebrated. I held on to it as further light was being thrown on how unfair life could be.

Upon the completion of my study, I travelled back home to Nigeria. It took me ten years to uncover the mysteries behind the last words of Elvander. That day, Mr. Blackstone had called me. The Association of Jamaican Students on campus, in partnership with the Elvander Foundation which I was one of the pioneer members decided to open a Museum in honour of Elvander. My pursuit of a legacy to immortalise the memory of a dear brother had finally come to fruition. I attended the opening of the Museum. It was located where Elvander’s apartment was. An excerpt from a copy of the speech he had prepared that night had been engrained on the wall just beside the waxed image of Elvander. In it I found my answer. It reads:
“…Elvander Smith is a beautiful piece now. I am pretty sure you all love it. But three months ago, it was lying as clay on the coast. As I packed it, a woman called it dirty. It was dug up from the ground during construction of a building in town and was thrown on the seashore. I made a tray out of it but it broke days after. I packed it up and deemed it not good enough until I thought to give it a better try. Through those three months, it took hard work coupled with ideas and intense fire from the kiln to get here. Now, it is a winner. It is not unbreakable but it would take added intensity than a mere fall before it gets broken. And if it ever gets broken, who says it cannot rise to be even better again.”

Tears rolled. I knew of his struggles. Those few words gave meaning to his life and I deciphered how I should perceive life. Of course, the cause of his death remains unfathomable, at least to me, as I could not make sense of all the medical terminologies used in the post-mortem analysis but his life gave value to my existence.

We all desire a better life. No, we desire glittering fortunes. If you ever need strength going forward, remember that, like Elvander Smith, you could be struggling today but with hard work, ideas and perseverance, you will surely get there. You need to be strong enough to not get broken by every fall because it is really going to be challenging out there. But if you ever get broken, a better end could be in the offing for you. You simply need to have the belief. To me, Elvander lives forever in Elvander Smith.

Soladoye Samuel Adeyinka

In honour of a brother who needed just one more year to become a lawyer, Fina Timothy Tosin. You remain palpable to us.


Pay-rent-ing (3)

Let’s imagine this scenario together:

Two pupils, both aged seven, are being interviewed on national television. After series of questions, finally, the reporter asks, “who is your role model?” The first answers, “my dad”. The second, beaming with pride, says, “Wole Soyinka”.
Now, as a parent, put yourself in two shoes. Firstly, imagine yourself being the father of the first pupil. Your child just proclaimed you as his role model on a national television with a far-reaching coverage. It means you’re doing some things right. How would you feel?
On the other hand, imagine yourself being the father of the second pupil, who, being far from an orphan, just said a man he might never have seen in his life is his role model. Imagine yourself being the father of this young boy who just subtly said on national television that Wole Soyinka has had more positive effects on him than the man who brought him to the world. I don’t even need to ask how you’d feel.

When a lady or a young man decides to take the next step in his or her life and tie the knot, he or she attains another level of selflessness. But when a child enters the picture, a parent automatically becomes an altruist. The moment parents make moves to be the channel through which another cluster of sand receives breath, they passively vow to live their lives not for themselves any longer, but for their progenies.

In other words, parents are to live right, whether it is convenient or not. Parenthood is sacrifice and if all parents were to understand this, maybe strong families would have given birth to strong institutions and a strong nation.

Parenthood is even more delicate, though wonderful, when you realize the fact that the first points of contact for a child are the parents. And children learn more seamlessly from what they observe from their parents. An abusive father should know that his recruits are his children and they are keenly studying the strategies; a contemptuous mother should know that she is passing the genes to her children. A cat and dog parents should be ready to quell manifold sell-out bouts.

Parents and imminent parents, take note. Life is not hard. You get what you give.



Pay-rent-ing (2)

Let’s do a bit of play on words. Children are like rented apartments and as is the practice, two things are always NEEDED by the landlords: timely payment of a tenant’s house rent and proper maintenance of the house. Anything short of these, like a triple-filtered beer, eviction plans will be brewed. But, faithful adherence to these two policies might even earn such tenant the award of “best tenant.”

With children, parents are not landlords, they are only tenants meant to give proper care and attention to God’s houses – the children, because when the time comes, ideally, a tenant is expected to leave a rented apartment, just as children are expected to, along the line, get weaned from their parents and become independent.

As a result, parents are saddled with the vital responsibility of pay-rent-ing, which means giving proper care and attention to the children while the tenancy lasts. If all parents can untiringly pay-rents, then the world will be a better place, because as it is always said, the family is the first and most important unit of a nation. If we all can purpose in our hearts to make our marriages work against all odds; if we all can give our all to having coherent and integrated families; if we all can see it as our first responsibility to build enduring relationships, then who needs to be gay?

In the same vein, I’m yet to see a prudent and reasonable person who has several rented apartments. It is foolhardy to bite more than one can chew. Likewise, It is unwise to produce more children than one can cater for. Wisdom is profitable to direct.
However, it is no uncommon phenomenon to see “okada” riders with daily income less than what can sustain a University student, to put two wives at home and rear children like chicks in a poultry but still chase two left-legged girls whose futures are as bright as foggy skies.

Cut your coat according to your cloth; let parents diligently pay-rents and let’s paint our world with the glittering colours of love.




Today, let’s talk about something advanced. Let’s talk parenting.

Yesterday, after putting up a dp on bbm about work, family, health, spirit and friends, a conversation ensued with a friend and mate of mine about parenting. We both agreed that the parents of our generation were more interested in hustling hard to give us anything we wanted, which is really commendable, but in the process sacrificing one thing we needed – their availability. That resulted in a lot of homes with feigned smiles and phoney love. Homes where siblings only tolerate one another. Homes where the point of convergence is to see “Superstory”.

But if you could pay a keen attention, you’d observe that this generation seems to be heading the same path. Precious hours vital for bonding are wasted away on social networks. Some newly weds do not even know how to keep off social networks in order to spend quality time together after reeling out “I do.” A lot of us have our eyes fixed on securing tops jobs in top firms in the top cities.

Do not get me wrong, it is great to secure the top jobs. In fact, some of us are shooting so high. But the “reality cech” is that when the pressures of the job become shoulder-to-shoulder with the home front or even dwarf it, are we going to be courageous enough to root for the latter? Are we going to be committed to the work of raising inseparable kids whose knot cannot be broken even by the hardest of circumstances? Are we going to be bold enough to trade away meetings just to go see our wards collect awards in school? Are we going to be available to play football with them? Are we going to be hellbent on not leaving our kids to the dicey care of we-don’t-know-from-Adam maids? These things seem insignificant but they mean the world to kids. You only need to say “there is no time” to lose them to external forces.

Here is the content of the dp that spurred the conversation:
“Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some 5 balls in the air: work, family, health, friends and spirit – and you are keeping all these in the air.
You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other 4 balls – family, health, friends and spirit – are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same” – Brian Dyson, CEO CocaCola Enterprises.

If we as potential parents are ever going to make a difference, then we have to be ready to give our kids what they need more than what they want.