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GOV DAVID U UMAHI, ABAKALIKI { EBONYI STATE} and The Return Of The Wawa People!

GOV DAVID U UMAHI, ABAKALIKI { EBONYI STATE} and The Return Of The Wawa People!

 

-by imaji jio ufumaka

The people of Northern Cross River State are predominantly agrarian. They plant all sorts of crops : yam, cassava, rice, sesemiseed (beneseed/éhia ), bush mango (ogbonor), etc. Chief of the crops is yam. As in many parts of that area, be it in Bekwarra, known for groundnut ‘pyramids’, Mbube for garri mountains, Boki for palm oil and ‘eruru’ (afang) , or Ishibori, known for clay pots sculptural designs and production, the Yala farmers made huge mounds or heaps for yams and muddy slabs for rice planting, especially, in Ugaga.
Those who made little heaps were termed lazy. The mounds must be big as either Boki or Obudu/Obanlikwu mountains. The floor of the mounds are usually cleared, as clean as a mirror, in order that the ever budding weeds won’t have easy sprouting.
In all of those farming and hyping of themselves as great farmers, only a few Yala men knew how to handle the hoes to till the soil for huge and mountainous heaps. It was, it seemed, a show of financial muscle, for the rich farmers to advertise their wealth over the village folks by paying for hirelings.
Those hired by the farmers were people of the regions, known by then, as Wawa!
The Wawa people came from the area, known today as Ebonyi State.
The Wawas were looked upon as wretch of the earth : they looked blacker and dirtier than the African native cooking pots. They ate food with bare hands. Many times, while at the farms, where their main delicacy, ákpo (pounded fermented cassava)was taken to them, upon the heads of the native Yala women, these guys would hardly wash their palms before eating. And if they ate with washed palms, they ended the consumption of ákpo without washing their palms ; they would rather use what the natives called ákrehīa (snail shelves) to scrap the palms!
That practice of hiring the Wawa People was largely practiced by the Yala farmers. The Bekwarra farmers were seldom in the practice, whereas, the Bette farmers of Obudu were themselves, a double of the Wawas in farming skill and gift, needing no helping hand to till the soil. More over, the Bette man’s soil was not as strong and hard as the savannah soil of Yala, although, climate change may’ve disrupted all of those natural designs.
The Bette farmer made his farm(ing) from top of the mountain to the bottom, departing homeward as they finished, carrying upon their ebony black skins, the dust, raining on them, making their bodies looked like a mobile salt, likened to the biblical ‘Pillar of Salt’, creamy and chalky!
The Wawas were so primitive and wild, the elementary school kids made an acronym out of their nativity : Wawa was coined as ‘West African Wild Animals’!
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Recently, I’d the privilege of being appointed to represent my local church, The Rock Tabernacle, on a spiritual retreat trip to a place known as Kwali in Abuja. The event was organized by a Christian non-denominational organization which goes by the moniker, HOREMOW, meaning, Holiness Revival Movement, Worldwide. It’s an extremist Christian religious body, one may easily think they are the Islamic Shiite of Christianity!

It’s an organization that broke away from its parent body, the Deeper Christian Life Church, founded by Pastor William Kumuyi.

HOREMOW seems to me, more in a fanatical and bigotry disposition, a body that believes that if you are not a member of that organization, you ain’t ‘gonna be in Heaven’; its cardinal preachment , no doubts, is embedded in holiness. It states, unequivocally that, without holiness, no man will see God, but with an emphatic stamp of spiritual authority that, that holiness is found no where else, aside HOREMOW.
The leader and founder, Pastor Paul Rika, makes no mistake to admonish ministers and church leaders, by which I fall in one of the above, to take the message of HOREMOW as “the gate way to Heaven”, across every nook and cranny of the world, letting the inhabitants of the earth to note and know that its International Director (ID), an equivalent of what other church organizations call G.O(General Overseer), Arch Bishop, Bishop, General Superintendent, etc, is the one who has been mandated to prepare humanity for the so-called ‘End-Time’. His wife, Sis Lynda, a Sierra Leonian by birth, widely, has been reported to have arisen from death, where she met with the Lord Jesus Christ, saw sinners in Hell-fire, many of which were clerics, and have had the privilege of the revelation that many or most of the well respected living MoG (Men of God)have deviated from God’s word and are speedily on their way to the molten magma ocean of Hell-fire!
Among many forbidden wears or dresses, a few are worth mentioning : jewelries, bangles, long pants (trousers) worn by women, certain hair styles, perfumes, ear-rings, mini skirts, lip sticks, anointing oil, healing aprons, handkerchiefs, exciting dance on the floor of the church, music instruments such as guitars, drums, trumpets, etc. Only key boards are accepted or permitted, as if any one ever played a key board in the Bible days of old.
Many of the ministers and leaders that attended the convocation were asked to return home with the message of HOREMOW, preaching, not by persuasion, but by cohesion. They are commanded to insist that its parent body (church), is adjoined as one of the HOREMOW chapters. Wives were (are) asked to make sure that their husbands are re-incarnated into HOREMOW, in as much as the men were told similar stuff.
The scary part of the HOREMOW sermon is the need to collapse one’s church under the aegis of HOREMOW, not minding if the founder was called with a different vision or/and mandate. Every other vision or mandate was not as goodly and godly as that of Pstr Paul Rika’s. Call it charismatic witchcraftcy, if you like !
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It was on our way to Abuja, from Calabar, driven in a relatively new, cossy and comfortable video installed Sienna bus, that, on reaching Abakaliki, I was bemused as well as flabbergasted. The roads. The bends. The country side aesthetics. The winding over-head bridges. The smoothness of the hither-to, very dusty Abakaliki Road, all conspired to cause me some tears. The tears of joy. The tears of pain.
I was welled with joy about the type of leadership demonstration in the state of Ebonyi. Ebonyi, the dusty rice town had become an Ebonyi, the city of paradise, to which fine native rice are packaged as if it were the America’s Uncle Ben’s Rice of the ’70s and ’80s!
I felt pain as my heart bled for my dear Cross River State. I also felt a deep sense of sober reflection on how these group of people were looked upon as the most uncivilized of all humanity. They were most seen as the African Bush men of the Republic of Congo.
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The love of the state, of a people far forgotten by modernity and governance, culminated in the assemblage of the natives, with the sole aim of putting a clarion call to all its citizens, home and abroad, to return home for state building. That was when the state was newly created by the late Gen Sani Abacha-led gestapo-like regime. That was in 1996.
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It may interest my readers to know and note that both Abakaliki and Afikpo in Ebonyi State were under the old Ogoja County Council (OCC).
I was amongst the Ogoja youth delegates that visited the defunct Constitutional Conference, Abuja, meeting with the late Ikemba Odumegu Ojukwu and later, Alhj Musa Yar’adua, older brother of Late Umaru Yar’adua, Nigeria’s president. We also met with the sage, Zik of Africa ( Owelle of Onitsha), in his 90th birth day celebration, an occasion, he pleaded on our behalf to the federal government for an Ogoja State.
Instead of an Ogoja State, Bayelsa was given to appease the gruesome massacre of the environmentalist/author, Ken Sarowiwa, by the Nigerian military regime.
Ebonyi and Ogoja were also an appeal by Zik to honor him before his demise. While Ebonyi State was granted, the old folks of Ogoja who felt that the creation of an Ogoja State would deprive them of a now close to moribund EPZ, conspired to stop the move. Ogoja had the once-in-life-time opportunity of having a member in the Provisional Military Council (PMC). She had a well respected and feared former Senate Presidednt. There were also the civilian-military mafiaso, the big boys of the cartel known as the Obudu mafia ; at that time Nigeria had only two mafiaso groups, the Kaduna and Obudu mafia!
There was the Ishibori figure, a strong and respected member of the Eastern Region House of Assembly. They were the coup strategists, the CIA affiliates, all in Obudu and Ogoja plus Yala. They held sway. They were the kitchen cabinet memebers of the respective junta. One of them was President Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida’s boss, while IBB was his ADC. He was an Obudu man, to whom IBB did him the favor of naming an army barrack in Ogoja after. They all had the power, suave, charisma and authority of making Ogoja a state, be it in the IBB or Abacha era. There was a time it appeared as if the military president, Gen IBB had an extention of his office or Minna home in Yala. There was once-upon -a -time, Ogoja barrack and the TTC (Teacher’s Training College) were a coup plotting ground, producing a military head.
Ogoja, my Ogoja, to whom my ancalestral buddies sang about, now gone with the winds!
Yet, with all of those big wigs, the agitation for an Ogoja State came crumbling like a pack of cards among Columbian drug addicts!
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The Ebonyi people were not schooled. The literate ones were countable. A few of them schooled in the Ogoja State University, sorry, Mary Knoll College, Ogoja, now Yala. They lived in Okuku and Igoli. They were the few privileged ones whose parents were traders in Okuku. Many were blacksmiths. Others were tinkers and cobblers, while not a few came in as ‘obioma’ (tailors). Those tailors carried their hand sewing ‘Butterfly’ and ‘Singer’ machines upon their shoulders, clashing their scissors and announcing, “obioma anumabia … bikonu, chelu kambia o!” (good heart has come, please, wait, i’ll be there). They behaved their names, ‘good heart’, for that’s what obioma stands for. They were not as environmentally noisy as today’s Hausa-Fualni ‘obioma’. They were persuasive and appealing, out on the voyage of stomach infrastructure. But not so with the modern obioma of the North who, like an army of occupation, are seemingly on espionage deal.
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After the creation of the state of Ebonyi, there was a clarion call for statehood : every son and daughter, home and in the diaspora, was literary summoned home. They returned in their droves. It was akin to the call of the Jews at the creation of Statehood of Israel. It was like the clarion call by Israel’s first Prime Minister, Ben Gurion!
Commitments were made, in fact with a vow. All Ebonyites (?) seemed to have taken a vow to surrender their bodies, souls and spirits to nation, sorry, state building. They were asked to pay tithes to the state coffers by giving part of their salaries, say ten percent (10%). The chief priest that would see to the proper utilization of the money is the the state governor. His lower priests are the state executives and other appointees.

Appointment was going to be made on merit, not based on ‘food-on-the-table’ or nepotism and the Nigeria’s ‘man-know-man’. Contracts would be awarded to known indigenous contractors, first, of Ebonyi extraction, then, Ibo and the rest of creditable humanity!
One of the first governors was a Maryknoller. He worked his work. Cleaned up the system. Drew the architectural new Ebonyi. After all said and done, came the present man, the working machine, an engineer by profession, an industrial bulldozer in spirit, yet a man of honor and sincerity, full of holy and enlightened chauvinism for Ebonyi!
He is David Nweze Umahi, to whom unfounded claim says he’s a civil engineer by scholarship, son of a rural farmer and of lowly beginning, stating unequivocally that, most great things start small.
Gov David is fondly addressed as Dave by his teeming lovers and followers, within and outside the state.
He was born in the January, 1964. Dave was very close to his mother, Mrs Magaret Umahi.
His deputy (governor) is a lawyer, Barr Eric Kelechi Igwe (PhD). Dr Igwe hails from Ndufu Alike in Ikwo Council.
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Today, Ebonyi State is rather the haven for serious-minded local and international contractors. It’s not a cultural carnival melting pot. It’s not a crude oil destination. Neither is the state a gold or diamond pot.
Ebonyi State is also know as the ‘salt of the nation’, having a huge deposit of salt lakes at Okposi and Uburu.
The 2005 population figure pegs the state at 4’339’136 inhabitants, carved out of old Abakaliki Division and Enugu State. Its a state that boasts of 13 local councils, namely, Abakaliki, Afikpo North, Afikpo South, Ezza North, Ezza South, Ikwo, Ishielu, Ivo, Ohazara, Ohaukwu and Onicha.
The people’s chief crops are : rice, yam, palm produce, cocoa, sugar cane ,melon, beans, fruits and vegetables and fishing in Afikpo.
The people are inter-ethnic, linguistically and geographically : Afikpo, Mgbo, Izzi, Ezaa, Edda, Ikwo, Kukele, Legbo, Mbembe, Okposi, Uburu and Oving !

Governor Dave Umahi has never promised the Ebonyi people a spaghetti or inter-twinning bridge : there was not an inaugural speech that stated that he would build a super high way; his campaign speech didn’t harp on turning Ebonyi State with its capital town, to an Eldorado!
And guess what, the entire Abakaliki is a salt water ground. Wells of water are not dug up to three feet before water flows out for use ; it WAS not a state of beauty. It was a salt lake town. The governor has not spoken with tongues, tied to his lips, promising that some German salt producing company would be hired to build a so-called world class Salt Factory!
The Ebonyi people were known for a certain worm. Because of that, every Wawa person was treated with disdain and absolute disregard, as if they carried the dreaded ebola disease, fearing that any close association with them may result in contracting death by instalment ; no one wished to drink Abakaliki water.
Like palm seed was to Malaysia, so was rice to Abakaliki. Like Malaysia had no palm seed, as has been sold to us by industrial historian, so was Ebonyi State without rice seedlings. It was the Bansara rice farm, (in)arguably, the biggest, any where in Nigeria, that gave birth to the now so-called ‘Abakaliki Rice’.
As a very young boy in elementary school, when the then Head of State, General Olusegun Aremu Mathew Obasanjo, aka, OBJ, visited the old Ogoja Region, test-running his Operation Feed the Nation (OFN), Bansara Rice Farm was a MUST stop for the junta head. The farm had the best of mechanized machines, ever seen any where in West Africa, just like Boki Oil Palm Estate was the ‘crude oil’ of the then South Eastern State of Nigeria.
No one can readily tell how the rice farm and its mill/s exhaled.
Cross River State’s loss became Ebonyi State’s gain. While my dear state was busy selling its estate of farms like Pamol, Rubber Estates, etc, Ebonyi State was conjuring how to be like my State, having all that we had.
Everything Cross River State was, especially, under Mr Donald Duke, is what Ebonyi State boasts about today, and much more!
The erstwhile ‘Red Dust State’ is now the beautiful state of the East and South of Nigeria.
Perhaps, it was due to the very honest and sincere developmental strides of the state that an oil magnate, Arthur Eze, (speculatively ?) parted with a ‘paltry’ one billion naira as gift to support the state’s governor. An unverifiable source of information has it that the oil magnate did the same to all Ibo states!
Over and again, Ebonyi State, aside Rivers State, under Gov Wike, has been adjudged the sample state for ultra modern development.
Since I didn’t travel with my car, the vehicle that took us to Abuja never stopped for pictorial view or ‘photographing’ ; it stopped only when there was a flat tyre. That was under an on-going construction of another of the governor’s ‘aesthetic fly-overs’. The contractors were busy, as busy as bees.
While buying a phone charger, I demanded to taste-drive it, but the seller quickly informed me that there had been no electricity for upwards of six months. I feigned anger and frustration or/and disappointment, but the response I received from the young lady was sharp and straight: “oga o, weda NEPA no de for one year o, we no worry, as far as our broda de develop our state for us and our chudrens”.
I was totally in a state of bemusement and hypnosis. I thought I was in an Indian magic shop where a priestess was applying some voodoo on me. I didn’t believe what I was hearing.
What I learnt from that brief conversation is that, once a leader is doing the right thing, even the peasants will support the demolition of their only house, be it a hut or zinc. They wouldn’t mind being in darkness, knowing for sure that, at the end of the tunnel, there would be light !
In Ebonyi State, the present governor is treated and seen as a god, a demi-god, like a tin-god. Not because he is a tyrant or a make-belief god of Artemis, Rome or Greek. He is not known for garrulous dramatization of speech, neither is he sarcastically celebrated for unknown and formulated lexical engineering. He’s is known by his actions, not talk. Gov Dave U Umahi walks the talk, not merely talking the walk.
In Ebonyi State, the governor does not go with long queues of motorcade. He blows no siren, nor displays empty show of political bravado; he is as simple and gentle as a dove, wise as the serpent, yet brazen like the harmmattan wind of the South East, in the industrialization of his state. The way he is in a hurry to develop the state of Ebonyi, one would imagine that he has just a day to die.
He is an always constant factor at sites. He checks, inspects and interrogates workers at work sites like a gynecologist does a pregnant woman. He is not known for globetrotting. He is at home with his homies. Unlike some of his colleagues, Brother Dave is not a guest to his home state.
Ebonyi State is pregnant. Pregnant with ideas, ready to be put to birth, birth of a new nation. Nation of a generation that has surrendered its soul and spirit to capital and structural projects, putting its agricultural bestowment at the front of it’s blue print.
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As we drove by, on our way to Abuja, tears welled up in my eyes. While on our return, both my eyes and heart shredded tears of sorrow, the sorrow that resulted in me, an almost permanent state of psychological melancholy!
I began to wonder : I wonder if the Ebonyi State governor is not a Nigerian. I keep wondering and wandering in thoughts ; why can’t the likes of the Ebonyi helmsman be given an opportunity to lead Nigeria to that state of Eldorado that we all yearn after.
Today, in Ebonyi State, a hither-to, dessert and dusty land, there are flowers and even synthetic grasses, planted under some of the over-head bridges, devoid of both dust and miscreants. The grasses or fields are as green as natural palm trees, planted by the water side.
I began to fear that there has been a mystical and mysterious exchange of the two cities : Calabar and Abakaliki
The pot-holes, dirts, dryness of Abakaliki, one time a mere town, had been replaced with the formerly sparkling city of Calabar, truly known, then as the Canaan City ; the Abakaliki ‘Sea Port’ of yesteryears has become Calabar’s today’s ‘Sea Port’, as every nook and cranny of our dear city state has become a sea port of no economic relevance. It’s truly a tale of Two Cities’!
But again, political pundits may ask, ‘WHO WILL BELL THE CAT’? Remember that story about the wild cat of the ‘wild-wild West’, of America, where it was reported that there was a particular cat that had become so wild, it devoured both its own and that of others, a situation that left cat tamers/trainers to develop goose pimples ? Every one tried to catch the cat, but each time they tried, it disappeared. Someone came up with an idea : Let us put a bell upon the neck of the animal, that would enable us to know, by the ringing bell, when the cat approaches.
Every one agreed that it was a great idea. The problem was, who would summon the courage to put the bell on the ravenous cat, hence the popular dictum, ‘WHO WILL BELL THE CAT?’!
As I conclude this piece, it’s with tears and pains that I make bold to counsel all state governors, ministers, executives, ordinary appointees, the presidency, to sit up, for its not too late.
I believe that with determination, the states and local governments can become a better place. The federal government can become the people’s paradise. All we need do, as a people and government is to rise beyond mere rhetorics and highfallutin grammar, the impressionist grammar, like a lover who wishes to impress his new ‘catch’ with certain romantic words or like the scientist, Bambuloo’s, in ‘This is our Chance’, who was set to prove to a young girl that he is a genius of no mean comparison.
In very civilized and saner climes, grammar means nothing more than traditional way of communication. Be it in English or French language, simple words are used to communicate to all, the learned and unlearned, so that they may understand and appreciate government’s policies.
Speaking high sounding grammar, in civilized worlds, is not equated to show-casing one’s academic laurels, rather, it appears to sbow-case a sign of psychological deprivation, a sign of both inferiority and superiority complexes!

At last, grammar shall go. Long motorcade shall shrink. Political sycophants shall disappear. Tribal supporters shall face the reality of a huge and terminal failure. Sirens shall cease.
The only siren that may be heard would be that of an ambulance. Whether we accumulate all the beautiful estates of the world, what will be left of us would be a six feet grave. In that grave, we may not be opportuned to wear our best dresses, and even if we do, we shall be preparing both dresses and our fleshes for the maggots.
There are no PAs or SAs in the grave. It’s a lonely abode. An abode where there are no society wedding or burial. No impressionist birth day parties. No clubbing. No gangsterism. No political trickery or campaigns. No religious manipulation. No chieftaincy investitures. Our houses, lands, cars, jets, aeroplanes and all what not, shall not be buried along with us, and worse still, we shall not know who may lay claims to our wealth. Etc.
When we die, we, many times, are bathed by unknown persons. The poor mortician tears our bodies and injects us with formalin. In many murtuaries, dead bodies are thrown on bare floors. Sometimes, we may die in a plane crash or drown in rivers/sea, not having the privilege of being thrown on the bare floor.
VANITY UPON VANITY, says the preacher!
Then, above all, we shall face, for the first time of our creation, our Creator. While on earth, our works shall speak volumes on our behalf, be it good or bad.
So, why don’t we realize this little mystery of life. Why don’t we live to live for ever, both in the eyes of mankind and the Almighty Creator, Yahweh (Jehovah)? That’s when both the earth and the heavens shall sing the beautiful welcome songs of eternal Paradise, at least, before the final Rapture takes place, where, the Christian holy gospel reminds us that Christ promises to take us to where He is, the Heaven whose streets ARE tarred with gold!
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While we await that time and period of our demise or Rapture, may those of us that have been privileged to lead our people, copy the Ebonyi State model of development, and if possible, make it a national blue print, if that would clear our consciences or restituting for defrauding those we have been given the divine opportunity of leading.
Like the Jews, and as being echoed in the case study of the Abakaliki, let us join hands with our respective state governments to build a virile and enviable future for us and our children and their children plus children’s children.
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Whenever you travel that way, you may join me to say, ‘Truly, the Wawa people have returned home to Ebonyi State’!

Be Toughened for Leadership

Be Toughened for Leadership

#MorningChargeWithChris

Be Toughened for Leadership

It was in the early/mid 1990’s. A millionaire and one of the popular pioneers of luxurious bus transportation business in Nigeria back in the days had his first son in our boarding house at the same class in Abuja from Form One. Myself and others of our mates wondered why a millionaire dad will send his son to a rugged school as ours with no electricity or pipe borne water plus strict disciple and hard labour though of sound academic legacies to suffer instead of sending him abroad or some highbrow private school. Little did we realise what the Igbo millionaire was up to by toughening his boy. The boy was very humble and even better behaved than the average student. Years later while an undergraduate and working at his dad’s business in summer, his dad wanted to buy some brand new Marco Polo luxurious buses but he pleaded with his dad who he had earlier failed to convince to buy mini Toyota buses(Hiace), to lend him the money for one of the buses which he did. He bought the equivalent number of small(‘hummer’) buses at the cost of a Marco Polo. On the morning of commissioning, they loaded the same small buses and loaded a luxurious bus. Guess what? The 13-seater buses made much more money than the single luxurious buses of equivalent cost. That’s how the dad’s eyes opened and diversified to smaller buses and later to cargo and courier services as well. Before you know it, other transporters started copying them. Today the boy runs the transport company plus numerous other business concerns as the MD/CEO while his dad, now a philanthropist is the chairman. Today, most of the old luxury bus transport businesses are either no more or almost out of existence mostly due to tough times and poor succession plans but their transport company is getting even stronger with time as he even pioneered transnational bus transportation across West African countries from their Maza Maza terminal years ago. He is a tough businessman because he was toughened years back, so I realised. When we were returning from St Mary Catholic Church Karu to Nyanya for Catechism back then, we used to see a big man drop off his two children of about 7 and 10years of age at a local block making factory near a low-cost housing estate under construction and pick them up in the evenings during holidays. I think the ideas are the same. You see? No great leader or achiever came in a ready made 23-karat gold. They were rather heated and toughened to such. Jesus was toughened. Socrates was toughened in his youth as a soldier. Mohammed was toughened in the desert with persecution. Steve Jobs went through hell. Thomas Edison, the founder of General Electric is one who difficulties we all know. Top business leaders world over even those born with silver spoon didn’t have it easy contrary to what many would want to believe. Do you see extra works by your boss as punishment even if he or she is being deliberately mean? Do you resist giving extra or working longer to see off tasks? Do you love pampering your kids and protege? Do you enjoy things you never worked for? Do hide from work? Do you see difficulties as tribulations or as challenges to explore? Think again.

About 20years ago, Donald Trump was in so much debt that many business associates and situations surrounding him suggested him filing for bankruptcy but because he was toughened by his dad’s grooming and military education as a youth, he said NO. He pulled himself back and charged harder into recovery and half a decade later became one of the richest men in the world mostly as a realtor. Today, he is the President of The United States of America even against difficult circumstances and murky controversies that drown even the greats. Wondered why he keeps sailing without sinking? Toughness is best carried out in the formative stage of a person’s life so it grows into a person’s subconscious and reflex arc in much the same way as a metal is toughened by being given appropriate heat treatment and controlled quenching that adjust their interstitial grain nucleation to rugged microstructural constitution so that any component or machine part produced from such metal with not fail and put people’s life at risk wherever applied. Leadership is no different. Leadership is no vocation for sissies. Gbile Akanni loves to talk about the University of Hardknock. I think that’s the spirit. A metal well treated, heated, and toughened will make the blacksmith and metallurgist proud for knowing their job. The world is tough and unfair. Sometimes, might is actually right and only the strong have access or right to things. One needs to be tough to cut above the rest and survive the hard times that causes the mean to buckle. A concrete structure with steel reinforcement is the builder’s pride. A child that can hold his own is the parent’s pride. Tough soldiers that can survive even inclement environments are their nation’s pride. A house that didn’t fall after hurricane is the builder’s certificate of excellence.

Don’t hesitate to give those tough tasks you give to your house boys/girls , employees, and apprentices to your children too. They will need the spirit of discipline, resilience, self reliance, and thick skins such may endow them somehow, somewhere, and someway in future. Bella once recalled how their dad, Mike Adenuga drills them hard from tender age attending marathon business meetings and having it tough. But today they mostly run his business empire. Fifty years from now the mansions in VGC and exotic properties and businesses will be taken over from softened children by toughened children. It’s best to toughen your relationship with truth and reality so marriage will be better appreciated and minor matters will not be strong enough to break your home. The best succession plan for a business is to make leadership of all employees. A man should make his wife and children invulnerable so if the worse happens to him they will keep going. It’s good to be stern and candid with children and employees even while being fair and friendly. Inasmuch as the tender and soft touch of a mother is needed to raise humane adults, the realities out there demand that the father figure be present to instill discipline and ingrain steely toughness in a child as he or she shouldn’t expected roses or kindness from the world. A striker that only depends on passes from other players wouldn’t last. You have to be tough and able to take up leadership any given time it suddenly falls on you. You have to be tough and be able to get down from the high horse and DIY if no one wants to do it for you. It’s easier to have them do it when they know you can do it too. A General that has never seen action commanding soldiers in the field without being ready to do field work is a disaster; that’s part of the lessons from Boko Haram. Be toughen beyond what the situation around you can break. Be mentally toughened beyond heartbreaks and disappointments.
Good morning and have a great new week flourishing irrespective of the prevailing circumstances around you.

Christian Okwori 201117.1.196.

ILLUSION BY JOHN CHIZOBA VINCENT

ILLUSION BY JOHN CHIZOBA VINCENT

And this picture on the wall of my heart told a story of men giving birth among themselves in the north promiscuously…
Sipping memories from the lungs of the girl child.
They were not ashamed of the little ones watching their nakedness which howled at them mannerlessly.
We bathed the oceans again and again,
We made the sand shone like the moon,
We washed the sky daily to see clearly of what the earth has in stock for us.
We painted the earth and added more colours to the chirping rainbow.
Life became wet in our palms because we saw images and figurines of women whose shinning womb were made abnormal by men of yesterday.

And mother told of an innocent girl that killed her father, mother and brothers,
She was patted by the king for doing so,
As she told this ear breaking tale,
we saw the rain emerged from the ground instead of the lonely idle cloud that watched us through different mirrors.
They said we’ll live forever on paradise,
They said there is heaven and hell,
They said evil people will be punished on the last day,
They said we will burn for thousand years,
But how could a father punish his children with fire and brimstone?
How could spirit burn in a fire?
How could we tell lie to ourselves and expect the sun not against us?
We have seen cock making love to a duck and, dog to a cat, and grandma told us it was normal.

And Father told of the miseries of the black spirit in our village streams,
How pouring of libation on the family shrine brings good wife and good harvest,
how rubbing oil and wearing palmfrond on your lips wad away demons.
he said there is a third heaven above us,
He told us why the He goat smells,
He said white ghosts do fly day time; he has seen the flashes of one of them at Benin.
After Christopher, I creed,
After Achebe I loved again
After Seghor
After Wole and Niyi’ folklores,
After Habila Helon,
After Chimamanda’s truths,
We’ll retrace this fables with a knitted thought towards strings of our voices.
How does the patient dog eat the fattest bone now?
Does the silent cock still live for a lifetime?

Mother lied to us
Father lied to us
Grandma lied to us
Grandpa lied also
A mirage formed
Teachers lied to us
An illusion created
We are not who we are through those illusion told to us through their lips.

Yours Poetically,
©John Chizoba Vincent.