A bus ride in Lagos

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Lagos is an energetic state with a teeming population of over 21 million people. A significant number, even in the world’s most populous black nation: Nigeria. It is the nation’s commercial centre, a former capital city and has been dubbed Nigeria’s centre of excellence.

It is located in Nigeria’s south western  region, with the Yorubas as the native tribe. The unique appeal of this state has rendered it a rare heterogeneous blend of people from all tribes in Nigeria, neighbouring African countries and beyond. Many have settled in, some are just visiting, but whether for work or pleasure, they contribute to the ever swelling population of this largely urbanised state.

A few weeks prior to writing this article, I decided to take a bus ride to a certain place in Lagos where I had an appointment. I got to the appropriate bus stop along the express way, to board a bus going towards my destination. Upon my arrival at the bus stop, I noticed that it was less rowdy than I had expected. There were very few commercial buses parked and these were a long way off from the bus stop itself. I also took note of the numerous Policemen stationed at the bus stop. They were armed mostly with make shift batons made of pvc pipes, huge tree branches, planks etc.

These Policemen were very alert and active, in fact bordering on manic, as they violently rammed their batons against the chassis of any commercial bus that slowed to pick up commuters. They yelled at the top of their voices threatening the bus drivers to move or else…I guess most didn’t want to find out what would happen, so they kept moving.

The commercial bus drivers in Lagos are notorious for stopping indiscriminately at undesignated bus stops, leading to unnecessary build up of traffic. I tried to rationalise that this was just the cops way of trying to maintain order on the roads. Something still felt wrong, they were just too overzealous. There was definitely something “fishy” about their behaviour.

I walked to the side of the expressway and observed the way commuters had to break into a run and hop aboard moving buses, as they only slowed down rather than stop, due to police harassment. It looked a little dangerous, but no one had fallen…not yet. I took a moment to contemplate doing the same. A part of me was too “polish” and careful to do such a thing, but my adventurous side won this duel as the thought of me being late for my appointment was enough motivation.

I broke into a nicely timed run and 5 seconds later, I was in a bus! Yes, I was breathing hard, but smiling due to my “Achievement”. Thanks to my adrenaline rush, I felt like a part of Lagos. Lagosians (as residents are popularly called) are known to be quite daring.

Recovering from my “rush”, I looked around the inside of the bus. Commuters were being crammed in. Five five o! Five five! The conductor yelled as a few more brave souls hopped aboard. We were made to seat 5 per row (long wooden seat) as opposed to the obvious 4 people per row capacity of those benches.

The driver of the bus made an attempt to stop to pick up some commuters who were just a few metres away at the side of the road. He was immediately thwarted by the loud thuds and bangs of the cops’ batons crashing down on the sides of his bus. Amidst the shrieks and yelling of passengers, he quickly zoomed off. The bus conductor voiced out my suspicion that most likely a Police top shot was going to pass by the area, and they were doing the usual “eye service”. This “eye service” was repugnant to most of the people on the bus, prompting discussions on the issue, while a youth started calling the police “Were”! (Yoruba word for Mad man).

The bus ride continued with the usual bus chatter, even between total strangers. It was pleasant to watch them, and this helped douse the discomfort of being cramped up in the bus. About four bus stops later, we were free from the excesses of the Policemen (I guess their top shot wasn’t getting that far).

The driver stopped the bus at a certain bus stop in order to get other passengers. After about a minute, there was a sudden uproar of complaints from the passengers. It was just then that I took note of what was happening. The bus conductor was standing just outside the bus, facing the side of the bus repeating this statement in Yoruba language over and over again: o nwole o! Meaning he’s boarding please! Yet no one was boarding. The conductor kept looking down while talking. It hit me! He was taking a piss right there on the road! I didn’t know what to say, I just laughed. His gig was up. The passengers were all fully aware of what he was doing and mildly pissed(pun intended) that he was wasting our time. He quickly finished his business and hopped aboard the bus, smiling sheepishly. He was welcomed with lots of giggles and smiles and he quickly took over as the topic of discussion. I thought to myself: this Lagos! I was just glad I had payed my fares and didn’t have any change to collect…if you get what I mean.

When I got to my bus stop I signalled the driver. He stopped the vehicle and a couple of us alighted. While trying to get off the bus, a middle aged Woman hit me by mistake. She wasted no time in saying: sorry my brother. I made a gesture meaning no problem. I alighted thinking about our communal/family mindset, exemplified  by this lady who called me her brother, though this was our first meeting.

There are those who only speak disparagingly about Lagos: it is rowdy, rough, unkempt, a corrupt city. I opine that that is a grossly distorted view point. I have experiential knowledge of the state and can talk about its rich culture, the marked improvement in electricity supply, giant strides in improving transportation etc. The people of Lagos are mostly warm, daring, fun loving and hard working with a strong communal mindset. This is the true spirit of Lagos.

Eko o ni baje o! (May Lagos never deteriorate!)

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a Flower?

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Humans are often described as flowers. This metaphoric representation is a double edged sword which highlights our beauty on the one hand and our frailty on the other.

I believe humans are also “flowers” -ones who flow (rare usage) [1] [2]. We basically “flow” like a stream from the point of our birth to the point of our death. How we live life is a reflection of the course(s) we take as we flow.

All “flowers” are not the same. We may have similar starting (birth) and end (death) points, but our courses define us. The length of our flow is not the principal thing, but rather the quality of it. Lands may be supplied with debris, salt and wastes by your flow or adequately nourished with seeds and nutrients by it.

Some “flowers” do not really ponder on what course to take, but passively flow or navigate based on presets, the defaults of the society. I sincerely feel for such people because even the society is confused and would likely lead them in circles.

I believe that each “flower” must ponder his path and chart a course. Beyond the presets we go, to blaze a trail we must. In and out of the defaults we move, but not because they said it rocks. Coursing just the presets, “going with the flow”, is okay and nice, but that is done at the expense of your fulfilment and a chance to live up to your potential. …Little wonder about the suicide rates these days.

You may be scared of charting a course beyond the defaults, but God has imprinted into every “flower” the codes for strength and greatness. Equipped with the right attitude, challenges you face will only succeed in reverse engineering your flow. Which will yield a Wolf. Flow spelt backwards is Wolf, meaning right there in you as a FLOWer is an immense potential for strength!

Never let problems disrupt your flow, lest it gets scrambled and produce a Fowl. Scrambling of the word Flow can produce Fowl (chicken), a prey depicting weakness and failure. In essence, let your problems reveal the strength (Wolf) in your flow. Succumbing to them only scrambles you to produce weakness (Fowl)

Everyday is an adventure, but after all is said and done, only those who rely on the God of the Flow can course through life well enough. Have you met Jesus the Chief Flower? John 14:6

Just one more

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Just one more, the most seductive phrase I ever heard. So little so small, yet it packs a punch.
One more puff and I’ll stop, yet you “drag” on till kingdom come.
Oh, I hate myself for doing this, but I’ll stop right after this one. Yeah right…did you?
One splif more, one sniff more and I’ll be done doing drugs.

Oh how we have dimmed our reasoning with the power of one more. For when we should say no more, we say one more.
Therein lies the power of addiction, to drugs and alcohol, masturbation and fornication, even the simple things like games, food and TV.
Break free from her seduction today, by the power of God and say: no more, in the place of one more.
(P.S: sorry for not writing for a long time.)

After Now…

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The earth seems to be a ball of chaos, with the human race at the center of it all. The death, pain and tears are a testament to wars, terrorism and hate.

I cry out for peace, world peace. I speak not for a piece of land or a piece of gold; not even for a piece of the proverbial national cake or much coveted oil wells. Many have in their lust for these caused peace quickly to rescind.

Oh, that we may do away with avarice! I hope for a world without prejudice. ‘Tis true that we have been wronged, but at what price do we pursue war?

Yes we are wroth, but why don’t we leave vengeance to the Divine and break this cycle of hate once and for all, lest our humanity be approximated to brutality.

Now that you have heard these heartfelt words channeled through my pen, i ask you leaders and followers alike: WHAT WOULD YOU DO AFTER NOW?

A REMINDER TO WATCH

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One night, a friend of mine went into an open court to pray. She carefully placed her lovely mobile phone on the cool, hard, floor of the court and squarely faced her business of the day…oh, night: PRAYER. I imagine she had sweet communion with the Lord that night, blasting in tongues, interceding for others, praying in the Spirit. Oh, sweet hour of prayer!(I feel like praying already).
Okay, back to the story. So, she had just finished praying and was about to leave. She walked over to the spot where she had left her phone while praying. Your guess is as good as mine…the phone was gone. In utter disbelief, she stared at the empty spot where just a little while ago, a lovely phone lay.

When, who, how? The questions flooded her mind. But the phone was gone! Maybe it was while she was praying vigorously, taking some long strides in the opposite direction, or when she was calmly muttering words of prayer, I don’t know. The thing is someone had obviously stolen the phone, while she was praying!

A few days later while speaking on the incident, she jokingly said: “the Lord said we should watch and pray. I was praying, but not watching.”

The classic internet response to this story is probably going to be “lol” (laughing out loud). I for one am beginning to take the statement: watch and pray very seriously. If God wanted us to pray only, He’d have said so. But rather than that, he started out with saying WATCH!!

Be cautious, look out, be careful, whatever you do, just WATCH! We live in dangerous times. At least on this point, both the world and the word of God are in agreement. So, why not watch?

A teacher of mine once said, you know a society is depraved when Doctors and the Clergy are being robbed.
That this is being done is no longer news. The audacity of the criminals of this day is alarming.

Robbing churches during services; not sparing the poor, aged, physically challenged or young during robberies; senselessly killing people for the flimsiest of reasons is testament to the prevalence of moral degradation.

Please all, be security conscious. Don’t neglect one command for the other.
WATCH & PRAY!!!!

RUN FOR YOUR LIFE

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It was a pleasant cool evening as opposed to the hot uncomfortable evenings of the previous week. Motivated by this, I picked up my pen to write. Just then, as though someone spoke audibly to me, I heard these words: RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!

I paused, made a quick visual sweep of the room just to re-affirm what I already knew … or at least thought I knew; I was alone in the room. Indeed, i was alone in the whole building. Oh well! I thought to myself, my mind was being overly imaginative again,  I needed to stay off the movies.

I turned my attention back to the pen in hand, ah! Yes, I was about writing. But what do I write about, i thought? Then as though in response, I heard a repeat of the same words that intruded my mind only moments ago; RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!

At this point, I decided to give those words ample attention. I looked around the room for any imminent signs of danger and found none. I tried to observe if I could perceive the odor of anything burning; there was no such smell. I got up and looked through my windows, I could still clearly make out the figures of the four Rottweilers lying lazily and quietly in the compound. Even the sun had almost completely set and seemed to be saying relax Kunle, everything is alright.Though everything around seemed reassuringly calm, I still couldn’t shake off those words from my mind.

I returned to my chair thinking; since everything looked so calm outside, maybe I should look inwards. I took note of my breathing pattern, it seemed normal. I then shifted my attention to my heart rate, placing my right hand on my 5th left intercostal space, mid-clavicular line, to feel the apex of my heart (Hehe). Basically, I put my right hand over the left side of my chest. I could feel the soft, gentle thuds of my heart drumming merrily against my fingers. I had no signs of anxiety; no rapid breaths, palpitations or sweating.The bottom line is everything still seemed normal.

At this point, I thought to myself: What the heck is going on? How could I be thinking of running for my life when there was no apparent danger! As a Medical Doctor, I started recollecting accounts of Patients with paranoia, auditory hallucinations and delusions and thought to myself; so this is how it starts! I got a grip of myself and quickly refuted that “Crazy” thought and said out loud: God forbid!

As a Christian, I also remember the story of a young boy named Samuel. He heard a voice call out his name 3 times, and it turned out to be the voice of God. At this point, I decided to say like Samuel, speak Lord, your servant listeneth.

As I closed my eyes and muttered those words, I felt a stir on my inside. I opened my eyes with a whole new attitude. It seemed like my mind had gained altitude, my perception of what those words meant and their relevance to me had changed!

Three distinct scenarios came to my mind and they offered me much needed answers:

  • The first scenario is from Greek mythology,
  • the second from a song
  • the third from history

1. Greek Mythology:

It tells us the tale of King Odysseus and also that of Percy Jackson and the Lightening thief. The particular point of similarity in these two tales of interest to me is the Lotus Flower. Legend has it that the plant has psychotropic properties and gives those who eat it such a pleasurable feeling that they just want to stay put and continue in “pleasure”. Literally, they say “to hell” with all other purpose and activity in life.

In the tale of Odysseus in the Odyssey, King Odysseus and his men’s priority was getting back home on their ship when storms threw them off course to an island of lotus flower eaters. Once there, all the men who ate of the lotus plant instantly let go of their topmost priority: returning home! They even payed no heed to the dangers of remaining on that island. Two of the men were captured by a Cyclops, but later rescued by Odysseus. The men who ate the Lotus flower literally had to be carried back on board and forced to fast.

In the tale of Percy Jackson and the Lightening thief, Percy Jackson and his friends were on a very important mission to prevent a war of the gods, which would most likely consume the Earth, he and his friends inclusive. The other important point to note here is he had a limited time to complete this mission, else the war would begin!

As Percy and his friends progressed in their mission, they encountered a set of Lotus eaters in the Lotus Hotel who fed them Lotus flowers. They, just like Odysseus’ men instantly gave in to pleasure and lost sight of the urgency of their mission and the gravity of the grave danger looming over them and the world. To them now, all around them was fun and not even a tint of danger.

I thought to myself; there could be real danger and yet no apparent danger… hold that thought.

2. A song:

the second scenario is from a song by a Nigerian musician named ASA, titled Fire on the mountain. Part of the lyrics of the song say: there is fire on the mountain, and nobody seems to be on the run, there is fire on the mountain top, and no one is running.

Another part of the song says: One day the river will overflow…and we (they) would run, run, run.

This song apparently talks of imminent disaster against the backdrop of a calm unperturbed people. Are you seeing a pattern? Hold that thought.

3. From History:

The third scenario is from two occurrences in history.

The first historical occurrence is the 1986 disaster of lake Nyos in Cameroon which released an estimated 100-300,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, killing an estimated 1,700 people within about 25 km of the lake, as well 3,500 livestock. Many of the victims were sleeping at the time of the disaster and died in their sleep.

The lake was dubbed the world’s deadliest lake by the Guinness book of world records in 2008. The point is this; many were living close, probably bathing in the world’s deadliest lake and didn’t even know it!

The second occurrence from history is the biblical account of Noah and the Ark found in the book of Genesis.

God was displeased with how evil man had become and decided to destroy the whole world with a flood! He decided to spare a few Righteous, namely Noah and his family. He was instructed by God to build an Ark and enter in with his family and a lot of animals before the flood began.

Noah was known as being a preacher of Righteousness (2 Peter 2: 5). In those evil times, people may have mocked him for his devotion to God, and may have scoffed and deemed him Lunatick if they saw him build the Ark.

The people were eating, drinking and getting married, oblivious of any danger, when the flood came upon them ( Matt 24: 37-38). No one or thing survived the flood, save everyone and thing in the Ark!

Now, remember those thoughts I told you to hold? Put them all together with your thoughts spurned from this final account. You should be able to conclude that many great disasters happen to people, many of whom weren’t convinced or aware of any apparent danger….till it struck them.

My reverie was shattered abruptly by a sensation on my right arm. It was then I noticed that moisture had dropped onto my arm from my now very sweaty forehead. At this point, I could feel my heart beating rapidly (palpitations).

Like one being weaned off a lotus flower meal, i was starting to feel a sense of urgency! Like…like there was danger! What exactly is this danger, I thought?

The feelings bubbling inside me at this point made me realise that the issue on ground was bigger than the fear of Robbers, Terrorist attacks, famine or war. It is a deeper one, an eternal one, an issue of the soul!

Jesus Christ the son of God said about 2,000 years ago that He’s going to come back for His own, i.e those who believe in Him and are living Holy (not all church goers and people who say they’re Christians fall into this category).

The rapture is the hope of every true believer in Jesus. On the other hand, it spells doom for others.

But He didn’t leave us a date some may say. He definitely left us clues for example, those in Matthew chapter 24 verse 36-42

36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,[a] but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.

The days of Noah sure seem similar to these times we live in on the basis of the level of evil that is prevalent.

You may also want to ask; where is the danger if I’m dead before Jesus Christ comes? The truth is judgement still comes. Everyone who dies either has an eternity of joy (heaven) or an eternity of pain, and regret (Hell) all based on if He or She died as a believer in Christ who was living right at the end or not.

At this point, I turned my thoughts inwards. I had become complacent, at ease, a bonafide Lotus Flower eater. I had somewhat become too familiar with the truth that it was losing its impact on me. Thank God for this necessary jolt!

Noah’s time may have had a lot of atheists and Lotus eaters who could’t see the truth. I have a feeling atheism became extinct the moment the floods came on them. Belief in God came a little too late for them!

We all need to remember that a day of reckoning is coming, only those who run for their lives, who run to Jesus will be saved.

This post may seem apocalyptic and unreal to you, but the truth is it is real. It is not a message of fear, but of hope for a better day, achievable only through Jesus Christ.

As I drop my pen, I know what I must do. I must RUN FOR MY LIFE by surrendering totally to Jesus, trusting Him daily, living a responsible life and not one of complacency.

I leave you with these words from Amos chapter 6 verse 1:

Woe to them that are at ease in Zion…..

RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!!!

A tribute to truth

Truth is a concept, a person. So simple, yet converted by the faulty spectacles of many into a hideousness bearing little or no semblance to the original object- truth. Many excuse this by saying; oh, that’s just my point of view.

The thing is truth has no point of view, it is “THE” point of view.

So what exactly is truth? Truth is what it is! Simple. No matter how complex a definition for truth is, it must have this definition at its core. Basically, a spade is what it is, that is a spade. A tree is what it is – a tree! Any attempt to call it something that its not would result in crossing the border from the region of truth to the treacherous domains of lies.

Truth is my hero, one of the greatest role models one could ever have. In case you still have your doubts, let me educate you.

1. TRUTH CAN’T BE COERCED TO CHANGE:

Truth isn’t fickle, like most people are. Who can blame them? The barrage of influences encountered on this 21st Century earth are stifling! Pressure from the media, peers and the society cause people to change their minds so very often on matters such as fashion, politics and sadly morals.

Standing tall even in a generation of fickleness and easy swayability from righteous fundamentals is truth.

Truth can’t be coerced to change. It doesn’t matter how many people rise up against the truth, it is never swayed. Truth laughs at statements such as : majority carries the vote ; the truth is what I say it is, etc.

Truth is never swayed by the fray of the majority ; Truth is never swayed by dignitaries ; Truth can never be bought over… That’s my hero for you!

2. TRUTH ENDURES

It is futile to fight against the truth. Truth is the fighter that never gives up, no matter how beat up he is; the runner that never quits, no matter how long the race. Falsehood may prevail and have a field day, but I assure you that it’s only temporary.  Truth is undoubtedly, always the last man standing.

Truth endures from this world to the next, it goes on forever, bringing all things to light.

3. TRUTH OFFERS FREEDOM
“You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free”. The greatest freedom fighter ever is truth. It offers freedom, promotes trust, and grants illumination.  If ever anyone truly wanted to make the world a better place, truth must be his best buddy.

Now, having outlined a few points on why truth is my hero, I needs must present  you some warnings:

* So many counterfeits to truth exist, so be sure to sincerely and conscientiously seek out real truth. It’s definitely worth your while.

* Truth is a double edged sword: it never discriminates, it reveals both good and bad ; motives and actions; It could be bitter or sweet.

Ultimately, truth heals and brings freedom…if allowed to run its course and accepted. Those who deny or resist the truth are both judged and shamed by it. Don’t be fooled, this may not occur right away, but it will eventually.

In conclusion, truth is a person who sees and knows all things… every noble or dirty detail of our lives, all lives. He doesn’t seek to judge, His revelations are to prompt a change (if bad) and praise ( if good).

Truth is my hero and this is my tribute to truth, my tribute to JESUS – truth personified.