Sunday 30 July 2017

Thought Picnic: To the gym for a Jim?

Sweet tooth dilemma
I cannot deny I have always had a sweet tooth, a characteristic of which has gone to war against my dentition from decades ago. Whilst I count myself more a tea-drinker than a coffee-quaffer, the beverages have required sweetening and milk.
Then I started changing elements of my diet out of concerns for my health at first and to address some fears of body dysmorphia that might accompany a certain age. I have thankfully never been fat, but I am a bit troubled about things getting out of control, like bundles of unexplained tissue at the back of the neck and a tummy ballooning into an embarrassment.
My medication can change the physiology that some people can be susceptible to lipodystrophy where fat deposits show up in parts of the body to cause discomfort and possible deformities.
Figures and numbers
Maybe if I spent a bit more time in the gym and took up swimming as I have always wanted to, I could bring that and the other under control. When I had cancer some 8 years ago, I lost a quarter of my body weight, having had a 32” waist for as long as I could remember, I was down to about 28” that my doctor in discussing the change to my physique wanted me to gain back all that I had lost and a little more.
I have never been comfortable to gaining back all of it, I would rather I was 10% to 15% short of my peak weight. Besides, I have too much of a head for the numbers in checking the Body Mass Index (BMI) or making metric comparisons between height and weight where I imagine you are fit if your weight in kilograms is less than 100 units taken from your height. So, the comparison for a typical height of 6 feet which is 183cm should carry a weight of 83kg or less.
I guess that thinking, especially for males, belies a predilection to physical attraction defined as slim, slender or skinny, which would put the weight at lower than 75kg. On matters of body dysmorphia, one can suddenly be quite fickle, for both oneself and others.
Changes to diet
On my diet, I started with taking the Maggi essence out of my cooking completely, I am good enough in the kitchen to make tasty food without enhancing it with additives. Though it is not what I would get from eating out. One radical change was when I stopped putting sugar in my tea and consequently stopped having it in my coffee too.
It was not an act of the will of determination, I just decided to try it and then concluded, it was doing me no harm. It has not knocked the kilograms off the scale, but I am a bit happier for it. My next activity has been reducing salt in my diet too. Along with this change, I rarely take fizzy drinks, drink more water and where I make yoghurt shakes, I use honey as the sweetener.
To the gym for a Jim?
I probably can shed a lot of weight by doing more exercise, my three months in Edinburgh involved walking to my office, sometimes up to 2 kilometres each way, even if I could get a bus. I thought it was good exercise.
However, the struggle remains to maintain a fitter body into my 50s without getting obsessed with the way I look. This blog shows I am a bit concerned, I just don’t want it to take over my life. That is my fear of body dysmorphic disorder.

Friday 28 July 2017

Opinion: Why Donald Trump is no worthy example

What in a leader, I seek
With great difficulty but resignation to the reality, I have come to accept that Donald Trump is the President of the United States of America. However, my respect for the office of a head of state may not necessarily translate to the respect for the occupier of that office.
When I see a leader, I want to be inspired, I want to be encouraged, I want to be challenged to see a greater and better side of humanity exemplified in the words, the acts and the activities of people who lead. Now, Donald Trump is successful and wealthy, he has clout and access to places I probably would never visit, but an achievement is no sign or embodiment of character or virtue.
I look up to people for what I can learn of their humanity, their compassion, their empathy and their ability to relate in sincerity to others, taking due consideration of others even to their own disadvantage because they see a greater purpose than themselves.
Not this man
I am afraid that Donald Trump does not embody virtue, character, goodness, favour or attribute that persuades me of example or conduct that deserves followership even though many do believe in his agenda.
One of the greatest exchanges in the interaction between people is respect, respect for the person, respect for their views, respect for their space, respect for who they are regardless of position or achievement.
I see people who have worked for Donald Trump from Sally Yates, James Comey and Reince Priebus who were unceremoniously sacked and vilified in their sacking. A complete lack of courtesy and reflection in calling Sally Yates unpatriotic because she respected the law rather than the person. James Comey was on official duty thousands of miles away when you saw on television that he had been sacked and Reince Priebus who probably learnt via a Tweet today that he had been replaced. [Apparently, Reince Priebus resigned privately yesterday.]
Recently, Donald Trump has taken to undermining and attacking his Attorney General, Senator Jeff Sessions, who happens to be the very first major politician to back his bid for the White House and has remained staunchly loyal to the President. He publicly stated that he was disappointed with his Attorney General.
The measure of a man
My view of Donald Trump is summarised in this quote from J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter The Goblet of Fire, “If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” [GoodReads]
That is the measure of the man that Donald Trump is, a man unable to inspire and between his ego and himself, he conspires to exhibit the worst in manners, comportment or courtesy. That a man is rich and successful does not automatically confer class and decorum on the person. He, by terms, is caught in the personification of a Shakespearean insult, “Highly fed and lowly taught.” That in itself is almost a glowing compliment of Donald Trump.
Don’t stomach it
Personally, I think any person should know when to walk away from discourtesy, disrespect, humiliation, belittlement or indifference. It takes a great sense of self and self-esteem to walk away in the face of possible loss of status, means and opportunity, but if proximity to power saps you of free agency, independence and initiative, you have to decide whether it is worth keeping up appearances or giving respite to your sanity.
In my over 30-year career, I have worked with and for a broad spectrum of people, some amazing and others absolutely rotten. When I have had to walk, I have walked rather than suffer in silence. It is a tribute to my upbringing that I have been able to have the courage of my convictions even I am not always right, that is for my own conscience to deal with.
Revile bad example
My main concern with Donald Trump is how his behaviour sets no good examples and it can easily inspire the gullible, the malleable, the easily led and the mob to similar conduct. That bothers me more than anything else, when people are not respectful, when they are not considerate, when reasonableness gives way to the unreasonable and when being disagreeable is the default stance of communication, it does not augur well for the impressionable or anyone else, it brings an uncomfortable coarseness into our relationships.
We need to rescue ourselves from this crassness before it becomes second nature. I pray it never becomes common place. Maybe parents would start turning off the television in order not to subject their wards to the characteristics of the likes of Donald Trump. It can only be necessary for a better humanity.

Thursday 27 July 2017

The UK: 50 Years since it was Against The Law - Consensual Homosexuality

Sometime ago
50 years ago, today, Sexual Offences Act 1967 received royal assent, bringing into law the decriminalisation of homosexual acts between men in private, as long as they had attained the age of 21.
I was born at a time of interesting changes in society when the worst form of abuse you could throw at anyone was the phrase, “You’re a bugger.” It carried the weight of disdain, disgust, condemnation and disgrace, there was no particular understanding of homosexuality apart from misconceptions that fed the idea they were acting against the law of nature, they were evil, they were paedophiles and possibly worse.
Yet, it was rarely the case that to that point in time, people who found themselves to be bequeathed with the burden of homosexuality were inclined to be anything but normal law-abiding human beings. Only that the law through moralisation and sententiousness or just the need to find those to persecute criminalised the nature of people who happened to be different.
Against the law
13 years before this, Alan Turing died of cyanide poisoning having been persecuted by the system for his sexuality, one of the pioneering brains of the computing age and to whom some of the successes to breaking the Nazi Germany encryption codes presaging the end of WWII is attributed. His profile saved him from jail, but it did not save him from the system that literally ruined him.
However, in all this, I celebrate three men, Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, Peter Wildeblood and Michael Pitt-Rivers who were charged and convicted in 1954 for conspiracy to incite certain male persons to commit serious offences with male persons" (or "buggery"), for which they went to jail.
Despite the sensationalism of what became known as the Montagu Trial, Lord Montagu admitted to being bisexual and Peter Wildeblood was first to publicly admit his homosexuality. The police were involved in a widespread clampdown on homosexuality even acting as agent provocateurs to entrap unsuspecting homosexuals for a prosecution that there were at least 1,000 men sent to prison yearly for being homosexual in the 1950s.
Against bad law
The way the prosecution and trial was conducted led to an inquiry which submitted the Wolfenden Report in 1967 suggesting consensual homosexual acts between adults be decriminalised. 14 out of 15 members of this inquiry agreed to this.
Peter Wildeblood wrote about the trial in his book, Against The Law: The Classic Account of a Homosexual in 1950s Britain, which was adapted for television and shown last night. [BBC Two]
Finding myself different
I began to realise my own same sex attraction from around the age of 7, just about the time that I had my first sexual encounter with a much older girl who was twice my age. I did not know or understand what happened between us, but I know I was taken into the toilet, told to pull down my shorts and instructed to put my thing in her thing.
How that impacted my sense of sexuality, I would never know, but in that singular event, I lost my innocence and became sexualised. In the following years up to the time I was 10, I suppose male servants seeking a sexual outlet found easy prey in me, to which I somewhat acquiesced, none the wiser about what it meant.
In fear and loathing
Through secondary boarding school, there was a fondle, some frottage and consequently lots of fellatio with one friend who assuredly was not homosexual. In fact, I met no homosexuals in any sense in school, or at least never knew of any until I saw some of my schoolmates in the UK.
By my late teens, I was in great conflict between understanding my sexuality and embracing spirituality, I could never square the situation of being naturally attracted to men and yet feeling condemned for what I did not choose as a matter of cause or course.
Meanwhile, I found amenable and willing partners for sexual expression into my twenties. On one occasion, we were caught in the act and literally blackmailed into complying with some norms. At the eve of my departure from Nigeria, one such liaison had revealed the tryst to another party and they both schemed to blackmail me, I refused to budge, told them to do their worst as I was also about to leave Nigeria.
The journey to accepting myself
By then, I had become aware that there were much more people like me, even if I did not know where to meet them. Back in the UK, I sought out men like me, I found a bar in the West-End called the Brief Encounter, now defunct, and from the moment I stepped into the bar, I began to the journey to the acceptance of who I was.
There were still many battles to fight for being homosexual in 1990, the police still found opportunity to harass, coming out had grave consequences for life and well-being, Justin Fashanu had just come out as gay and there was a great backlash, gays were being queer-bashed without finding any recourse or redress, discrimination was tolerated everywhere against homosexuals with homophobia expressed from politics to pulpit without sanction, we existed in an underclass of secrecy finding community in minority and the persecuted.
We were also in the first decade of the AIDS epidemic, I watched friends and acquaintances grab each day as it came, them wasting away until they expired. It was scary, then there was Section 28 enacted in 1988, which stated that a local authority "shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality" or "promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship." That’s Russia today and worse.
We’ve come a long way
Within this period, I found companionship and love, great tolerance and understand at work where my managers protected me from abuse from colleagues and much else. Many never understood homosexuality but accepted we existed and respected us for who we were. Our sexuality and sexual preferences do not define us, we are first human beings and there is much to us than labels.
In the West, in 50 years, we have come a long way, equality is the norm, discrimination is condemned, expression is free, gay marriage is legal in many countries, we’ve had gay heads of government in Iceland and Belgium, and currently in Luxembourg, Ireland and Serbia, coming out is not such a big deal anymore.
The spectre of AIDS that strafed the gay community is not so much the sentence of death it was some 20 or 30 years ago, because of new treatments that limit the debilitating effects of HIV.
Many battles remain
Yet, there is much to do for gay minorities, to tackle sexuality and status stigma, to address homophobic laws gaining traction in other countries where gays are abused, persecuted, prosecuted and murdered, just for being who they are.
Many are caught in that morass of being against the law – of nature to some when that is what they naturally are. Homosexuality is not a mental disorder, it is part of our humanity and human nature, but the journey to accepting, tolerating and respecting our varied and diverse humanity is still a long one.
Today, I must celebrate that where I live, my homosexuality is not against the law.

Tuesday 25 July 2017

Opinion: Granted the privilege to father, he chose to murder

People are better than this
Marvyn Iheanacho, 39 has been sentenced to life in jail for the killing of his stepson Alex Malcolm, he is expected to spend a minimum of 18 years in prison and I honestly do not think that is justice enough. [BBC News]
Through fables, fairy tales and stories passed down from generations, we have heard ugly stories about stepmothers and their evil machinations. Tales that immediately coloured our views of people and stereotyped them long before they had the opportunity to prove they were much better and just as loving as any parent can be.
Recently, I saw a viral video of a stepson asking his stepfather to legally adopt him as his son, the stepfather broke down in tears at the request, but also showed a great love for not just the mother he had a relationship with, but also for the stepson who he loved and treated as his own. The fundamental point is we all have the ability, facility and capacity to step into loving guardianship and parenthood of those, not of our loins, stepfathers and stepmothers all. [Metro]
It should never cost a life
Having a parent figure in the home during child development can be a wonderful experience for child and to be given the opportunity to impart into a life must be a privilege.
Now, I do not know Marvyn Iheanacho’s background apart from the fact that his name suggests a Nigerian heritage. Some of that might have informed his need to be a disciplinarian in the family into which he was accepted and that is not a bad thing. The problem is when discipline crosses into battering and brutalisation occasioning harm and in this case death.
Alex Malcolm was 5, he lost one of his shoes and at that moment was in the care of Marvyn Iheanacho. Maybe Alex as prone to losing things for whatever reason, I was quite a bit careless as a child too, whilst I was scolded and maybe excoriated, I was not inflicted upon with physicality. In the same vein, Marvyn can find no excuse in the way he physically abused Alex, denied him immediate and needed hospital treatment which consequently led to Alex’s death two days later in hospital, in November 2016.
There was a better way
Marvyn could have approached this matter in a different way, he would have taken Alex by the hand and gone around with him to look for the missing shoe. By so, building a bond between himself and the boy, because the missing shoe was eventually recovered.
However, Marvyn was less a man than his physicality belied, he harmed the boy who sustained head and stomach injuries in the assault, lied to the mother about what happened, attacked the mother when she sought help for her son and when faced with taking responsibility for his actions, he pled not guilty.
Rot in jail
I am glad that the judge saw through his lies and perfidy, his sentence should be a veritable lesson on the role and responsibility of parenting. A child left in your care is first vulnerable and then dependent on you for protection and safety for themselves, their happiness and their lives. It is a role that as an adult one can choose to excel at, bringing all the resources of our deepest humanity to bear to mould the child into someone better than ourselves.
Marvyn Iheanacho failed to grasp that opportunity, he killed a poor helpless boy out of rage or ill-discipline and for that, he must go to jail for a very long time. My hope is he never again sees the freedom and pleasure of life he denied Alex Malcolm. Only then would justice be fully done for the sad and unpleasant demise of the little Alex Malcolm.
Rot in jail, Marvyn Iheanacho.

Wednesday 19 July 2017

Opinion: Oiling Diezani's prison wagon

Oiling the wheels of hedonism
I had previously passed commentary on Twitter about the case of the erstwhile Nigerian Minister for Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke.
In a statement released by the US Department of Justice last week, they are after the recovery and forfeiture of $144 million in assets that are proceeds of corruption and money laundering conducted within the jurisdiction of the United States of America. [DOJ]
Kolawole Akanni Aluko and Olajide Omokore, both of whose Wikipedia pages are urgently in need of an update because the colourful profiles therein are anything but, they apparently conspired with others to bribe Mrs Diezani Alison Madueke with gifts including property and furniture to win lucrative oil contracts in Nigeria.
Oiling global scrutiny
Kola Aluko for instance, owns the luxury super-yacht, Galactica Star, it is the world´s largest fast displacement yacht [Wikipedia]. It is valued at about $65 million and it gained a rather high social profile when it was hired by Jay-Z and BeyoncĂ© for her 32nd birthday. [Business Insider]
Basically, Aluko and Omokore seem to have gotten their hands on lots of money from their nefarious activities and have not been reticent about living high profile lives of acquisitive hedonistic eye-watering ostentation.
In any case, let’s look at an aspect of this matter that does not seem to be dawning on Nigerians of power and influence yet. The fact that no one has the resources to completely control the narrative anymore. The power you wield in Nigeria that could be overwhelming in that locality is paltry in global terms, Nigerian smarts do not essentially suggest you are smart about things, you might well be stupid when taken out of that setting.
Oiling the sheen of stupidity
It brings me to a few trivial, yet interesting conclusions about Mrs Diezani Alison Madueke who we deign to call Diezani.
Diezani, has been both stupid and smart, smart in her involvement with her co-conspirators in crime to have recorded conversations of their wanton thievery and yet stupid enough to allow those recordings to become key evidence for indictment, because she somehow failed to sequester the material far from reach, it’s like being caught in the act, red-handed.
Smart to express a sense of proportion in admonishing the men about their hedonism whilst stupid enough in her cant to exhibit the same characteristic in accepting $4 million worth of furniture for her many properties. [Premium Times]
Smart to find ready patrons lacking in integrity and character to probably insulate her from the corrupt enterprise she presided over, but that itself was stupid because whilst she apparently got away with it in Nigeria, she could not in the UK and the US. [Newsweek]
Oiling the arm of the law
Carrying on the previous thought, smart to have absconded Nigeria since 2015 where she has escaped the hounding of ineffectual law enforcement and prosecution, but stupid enough to think they could not only provide influence but add value to the investigations and indictments instigated abroad.
To reiterate an earlier thought, invariably, what we stupidly assume as smart in the Nigerian context could very well be exposed as stupid in the global scheme of things. Everyone forgets that in our global village, that nothing of note in a secret local grotto is entirely isolated from the global klieg lights.

Enjoy the simple things

Let us begin to appreciate,
Without letting it depreciate,
The singular moments that pass like fate,
From the many distractions, we take as bait,
We miss the beauty of nature that is great,
When on our devices we fixate,
Our sight denied a colourful slate,
And lungs that yearn to aspirate,
When we quietly sit to contemplate,
The passing of time without a date,
Not all captured on photographic plate,
Nor shot on mobile phone can inculcate,
None is significant or adequate,
To observe the wonder the natural does create,
To end all dispute or debate,
Let’s begin again to naturally communicate.

Monday 17 July 2017

Thought Picnic: The flashes of creativity that die

Drawing from wells of nourishment
Creativity is like a flash of light, it might be a well sunk deep somewhere where the water your draw from it only comes in buckets that you sling down easily but draw up with much exertion and perspiration. At least I know that is it is not a running supply that delivers water to your sink as you turn the faucet on demand.
Yet, once you start to create, there is a zone of flow that appears to suggest you are connected to an inexhaustible pool of resources of deployment and expression, and that you must always be thankful for.
It died completely
Just under three weeks ago, I was writing a piece that was an appeal to the goodness and professionalism of someone else on behalf of my sister. I had completed the write-up and was just proofreading it when my computer died on me. I mean, died completely.
Now, for a while, I never thought of using a tablet device my main computing device, I had preferred lightweight laptops until at the end of November 2016, I went on holiday trialling a Galaxy Tab Pro S tablet device running Microsoft Windows 10.
As an entry-level low specification device with just 4GB of RAM and a 128GB Solid State Drive (SSD), I did not expect much from it that I had my laptop as a backup device, but I grew to love the tablet that it eventually became my main computing device as I eventually left the laptop untouched for months.
The voice that spoke in vain
On my last trip to Edinburgh, I had a deep premonition that I ignored, it suggested I take my laptop with me, but that required rebuilding the laptop and working on a few other things; that little voice does matter.
I had not saved the piece I wrote when my Samsung tablet died and could not be revived again. Taking it to the Samsung shop in Edinburgh, I was told it had to go for service and repairs, an arrangement I could complete in the shop and then have the courier come over to my Edinburgh office to pick it up.
For days, I monitored the service records that indicated the device was being repaired, then they were waiting for parts for another week.
The stand-in did not stand out  
Meanwhile, on the matter of creativity, it all seemed to dry up, the replacement, Samsung Tab A (2016, 7.0, Wi-Fi) was the least expensive stop-gap device I acquired in the Samsung shop because I needed to retain online communications. It fell short on one of the critical elements of transcribing the blogs that I usually write and format in Microsoft Word before pasting in the Google Blogger editor, but now on an Android device. The formatting did not keep and that was just not acceptable to me.
Recalling what I had written before I lost it was not easy. Whilst I could remember the context and the ideas, the first run that looked like it nailed all the points I wanted to express was not going to be like my second attempt, which I eventually published using my computer at work.
I pined and pained
The loss of my primary device, however, left me bereft of inspiration and without the ease of communication I was already accustomed to, I became a recluse of the mind, all dried up with a famine of ideas even if there was much to write about and there was.
On my last day at work in Edinburgh, there was much to close out, documentation, demonstrations and discussions, even that suffered from my inability to produce and excel. It bothered me so much that I had to step away from my desk a few times, in the hope that the changes in environment and engagement in other activity might trigger something.
The surprise that arrived
I arrived early and I was the last to leave because of this and then just after 2:00 PM, a phone call from the mail room informed me that I had a parcel waiting for collection. My Samsung device had returned even though I put on notice that I be informed before it was sent back, just in case I had left Edinburgh by then.
The motherboard and power port was changed per the information in the parcel, I cannot explain why the motherboard would just die like that, but I am pleased that the device was under warranty for the repairs not to cost anything, or at least the cost to me seemed invisible, apart from having to acquire a temporary device and then being unable to blog with a sense of flow.
To create again
I still struggle to get back into the rhythm of blogging and I know I would get back there because of all creative endeavours, that is the one I seem to be getting good at after 13 years of doing it.
Creativity is like a flash of light, if your eyes are closed you might not see it, if they are open and you are looking directly into the source of light, it might be blinding, else, it momentarily illuminates your surroundings and in that instance, if you can see, observe and perceive, you get a good idea of where you are and where to go from there.

Wednesday 12 July 2017

Essential Snobbery 101: Simply respecting others

For all that is simply human
In this modern age where technology has become such a distraction that certain elements of human interaction are lost to engagement with electronic devices, one could be forgiven for the sense of shock that overwhelms when strangers are encountered.
By this I mean, certain generational shifts have deprived people of the richness of communication in facial expression, the art of conversation, use of language and if one were not to be too greedy the finesse of politeness.
Already, I might be considered old-fashioned, for the simple reason that I do put my electronic devices away when I am walking the streets, definitely would never be looking at a device when I am crossing the road, I never wear earphones in both ears to deprive me of the perception of my environment.
People are everything
When I meet people, I want to engage with people, my electronic device does not have to be a part of the crowd. We diminish our necessary heightened sense of perception and spatial awareness when we ignore our surroundings to concentrate on the world of our electronic devices that we become oblivious and endangered.
People forget they are standing in the way because they have not developed the communal skill of consideration and presence, the concept of knowing that a public space is, in fact, public, requiring possession and allowance in equal measure, being aware of what is in front and around you, just in case you walk into someone, a ditch or a pole.
Sadly, some have walked into harm and fatality just because they had become unaware of the dangers around them, hoping they could pass that responsibility on to others when each individual is responsible for how they access a public space.
Treat strangers politely
However, what irks me most is those who completely without greeting, introduction, conversation, or acquaintance arrogate to themselves an entitlement to ask personal and private questions expecting answers.
I would be too stunned to react in any useful way to such rudeness. Much I have excused that behaviour from the highly fed and lowly taught of recent times, who probably know no better, it is completely inexcusable of those of my generation. Maybe I am being nostalgic for an era that only existed in my imagination, but I am tempted to believe there was an age of politeness, very middle-class and conforming in many ways.
The simple old ways
You covered your mouth when you coughed or yawned and covered your nose too, hopefully with a handkerchief when you sneezed. In acknowledging those around you, even as you succumbed to the involuntary acts of nature, like belching, farting or bumping into someone your minor social violations suggest you ask for forgiveness expressing regret and you will be acknowledged with respect.
Respect, that is the due regard for the feelings, wishes, or rights of others, it has all become something of a rarity, we begin to wonder whether social graces were never taught or people just feel too entitled to be bothered about others. It is not something I understand at all.
Yet, we must remind ourselves on occasion that we are social beings and hope that the better side of our humanity would not be lost to the passing of the times.

Tuesday 11 July 2017

Thought Picnic: In search of the rational mind

Winning the freedom to be
It is becoming clear that the greatest battle to fight is one for the rational mind, one that is open to ideas and engagement, one that is willing and ready to jettison orthodoxy, tradition and beliefs for a newer understanding of things.
To be able to free oneself from the norms and chart a path of individuality risks ostracism and excoriation. Unique as we are in our beings, the need to belong even if belonging is inimical to our well-being is one of the poor sacrifices we make in conformity and securing ourselves in our comfort zones.
We create insurmountable boundaries in our minds and imagination, narrow our horizons to the perfunctory and limit our expectations to things either already in our grasp or the old laurels that gather dust in a backwater of irrelevance.
Slaves of superstition
Rather than unlearn, we reinforce the subjective at the expense of the objective and idle the mind to being spoon-fed the witticisms of lesser people we have given the power, means and authority to lord it over us and abuse us in our fawning subservience.
Our minds have become the raging mob with those readily incited to the reprehensible and in our subconscious that eventually gets acted out, we diminish the greatest resource of our humanity to becoming mere humans.
We are, by terms, the slaves of superstition – the widely held but irrational belief in supernatural influences, especially as leading to good or bad luck, or a practice based on such a belief.
Beyond reason
In that, we lose the trail of reason, out of which we could find a reasonable purpose of exercising every latitude of reasonableness. A mind governed by superstition cannot be questioning, inquiring, challenging, inquisitive, and precocious or ever dare to be irreverent.
We accept things as they are beyond which there is no other progress but to repeat the vicious cycle of bad traditions disabling our capacity.
It has to be a conscious decision to break free, to ensure that in seeing we observe, in hearing we listen and learn, in touching we feel, in interactions we begin to understand and appreciate other views. When presented with the prism of life, every incident of light brings new perspectives, if we are seeing just one thing, it means you, the prism and the source of light are not moving, we might well be glass-eyed.
Seeking the rational mind
The beginning of rationality in plotting the course from being steeped in superstition is to read and to comprehend. Comprehension requires exposure to mechanics of language, inflexions and intentions, context and usage, there is a world of ideas that would not fall off the trees onto our heads jolting us into conscious revival.
We need to desire that sense and determination of individuality that can change not only ourselves but those around us. Nothing is sacred or sacrosanct, facts must be scrutinised constantly for flaws, data is a jumble to be made sense of and opinions are just what they are opinions.
Yet, we can dare to be original, take initiative even in a crowded field without fearing to think differently from the accepted or what has been deemed the acceptable. We have to battle our idols, our anxieties, our misgivings, our doubts, slaughter the sacred cows and barbeque the steaks for a feast of emancipation.
We war against the superstition that has held us hostage for too long and set out on an adventure into the unknown, searching for new truths, debunking old myths and laying the legends to rest where they belong, in stories, in fables and in fantasy.

Tuesday 4 July 2017

Dear Sergeant Adebisi of Ajiwe Ajah Police Station, please do your job

Dear Sergeant Adebisi,
I am writing to you to appeal to your good nature, your sense of duty, and your commitment as a police officer to public service to rise to the challenge of doing your job.
On the night of the 23rd of May 2017, my sister and brother-in-law were burgled, or to use an Americanism, they were burglarized by armed robbers. My brother-in-law in the encounter received head wounds that needed immediate hospital treatment and amongst the things stolen were electronic goods, phones and wallets containing bank cards. I reference the crime in the link below:
This would have been the standard-issue armed robbery in Nigeria that rarely takes up police resources, but we have something to work on here. In the morning of the 24th of May 2017, between 5:57 AM and 7:47 AM, 5 money transactions were made from my brother-in-law’s account with the Guaranty Trust Bank (GT Bank) to a recipient account with the Fidelity Bank; that recipient account belonged to Izuka Chukwuemeka Onyema.
This is where your duty as a policeman begins to matter to matter to Nigerians along with the training you received and the experience that has elevated you to the rank of sergeant with the opportunity for more laurels.
  • Who is Izuka Chukwuemeka Onyema?
  • How did Izuka Chukwuemeka Onyema’s account come to be the recipient of unauthorised fund transfers a few hours after an armed robbery?
  • Could Izuka Chukwuemeka Onyema be in cahoots with the armed robbers or is he under duress to have his account used for laundering proceeds of crime?
  • Why is Izuka Chukwuemeka Onyema not being apprehended for questioning, maybe interrogation and possibly held for conspiracy in committing an armed robbery?
  • Izuka Chukwuemeka Onyema is the only link to the armed robbers and at the very least should be made to return the sums of money transferred to his account back to my brother-in-law’s account.
  • Izuka Chukwuemeka Onyema should be eliminated from being a person of interest with regards to the armed robbery, but that requires he be questioned and the stolen money returned at the very least.

As you can see, this is all police work, not what you or anyone would expect civilians to do. This matter is complicated by the fact that my sister after much agitation was able to get GT Bank to correspond with Fidelity Bank, the result being Izuka Chukwuemeka Onyema’s account was restricted, but the funds have not yet been transferred back to my brother-in-law’s account.
When Izuka Chukwuemeka Onyema’s account was restricted, the armed robbers returned to terrorise my sister, my brother-in-law and their neighbours. We were lucky no one came to any harm because as the armed robbers were trying to gain access to their building, everyone was alerted and so my people escaped harm.
Not only have my people (my sister and brother-in-law) lost things, he was wounded and had to be operated on twice, they have their money stolen and locked away in an account owing to inertia on your part and that of the banks and they have been so terrified of reprisal attacks from the armed robbers that they have been rendered homeless, just 8 months into their marriage.
I have it on good authority that you had to be persuaded by more senior officers to be interested in investigating this crime, yet for one reason or another 5 weeks after the armed robbery, we are nowhere near any resolution, in apprehending the link person Izuka Chukwuemeka Onyema, in returning the stolen money or even retrieving the stolen goods.
The devastating impact on the lives of my sister, my brother-in-law and their neighbours is one that every reasonable person would expect that you are the senior police officer in their locality to be concerned about, but you have been scolding them for seeking justice and going above your head to encourage you to do your job. It is an unfortunate reading of events that are within your power to remediate.
I would think you want an easy life and this looks like an easy crime to resolve if you can rise to that challenge.
So, Sergeant Adebisi of Nigeria Police Force Office in Area A, Ajiwe Ajah Road, Lekki Expressway, I appeal to you once again, please for the sake of your reputation and the reputation of the Nigeria Police Force, get engaged, get involved and help resolve this matter. You have the details, you have the evidence of a crime having been committed, perish the thought that an inducement is required to do your job from the victims of crimes or worse still that anyone in your office is in cahoots with Izuka Chukwuemeka Onyema or the armed robbers.
Obviously, there is an alternative, if you are not interested in being a policeman, you can offer your resignation and allow others with a bit more enthusiasm in police work and bringing a sense of professionalism to the police force to take your place. Any well-meaning Nigerian would applaud the solving of crimes, most especially ones where the evidence is handed to the police on a plate.
Sergeant Adebisi, the ball is in your court.
Thank you for your kind consideration of my appeal and I look forward to the opportunity to celebrate your work as a policeman.
Yours sincerely,
Akin Akintayo (Brother and brother-in-law of the victims of crime in your area of influence.)