Monday, 13 April 2015

A Year after, yet we hope!

Initially, the government abandoned them and denied that they were ever abducted;
then they raised a fact-finding committee that confirmed (after about a week) what the people already knew: more than 270 school girls were kidnapped and majority was missing!

Then the government resisted being questioned and being reminded, they attacked the campaign group that ensured the school girls were not swept under the carpet like their brothers that were massacred in their dormitory a few weeks before.
They called them names, threatened and harassed them and tagged them psychological terrorists!

Thereafter, they made promises and claims over and over again- they would rescue them, they knew were they were! They even lied and announced that they had rescued our sisters, only for them to dash our hopes and refute their claims.

We had our fears from the beginning!
We feared that our sisters would be forgotten by their government;
We feared that we would not see them again;
We feared that our sisters will be defiled by evil men and made to face untold hardship and wickedness;
We feared that on the 14th of April of subsequent years, we would commemorate their abduction and the f
ailure of our government!
We feared, yet we hoped.

We hoped that their case would be different,  that the government will rise up to the occasion and become responsible for them:
We hoped that we would sit at the table with our sisters again:
We hoped that together, we would help each other heal from this gruesome experience:
We hoped that our sisters would someday tell us their stories and celebrate how they survived the hellish moments:
We hoped that our sisters would return to their schools and gain the education they so desired.

And yet we hope, even as we commemorate their first year post - abduction.

We hope that it will mark a new dawn for our Chibok sisters.
We hope that they will come back to us alive and well.

Today, I ask that if you haven't been praying for our Chibok sisters, please do so.
Their only crime was to go to school, and it could have been any of us.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

The Nigerian Factor

For the first time on this page, I will feature a guest. 
He is a concerned Parent and citizen who poured out his heart after hearing about the Kidnap of 3 siblings by a maid in Lagos yesterday. 
It's longer than my usual posts, but i promise you, it's a worthy piece. 


The News has become boring these days as it ends up leaving us heartbroken irrespective of how stone hearted an individual  may be.
 Sadly that is the world we find ourselves living in , where human lives mean next to nothing to fellow humans. How did we ever get here?
From ISIS in the middle east, to Boko Haram in Nigeria, Al Shabab in Kenya, to trigger happy & excited cops in the US.
May God help us all.

However, in all of these cold blooded killings & evil happenings all over the world, the most heartbreaking ones has to be the ones that involves kids, innocent kids whose only crime is that they were born into this world at such a  time when bloodshed is the order of the day for some sects.
 We have failed them as a generation, and as if that is not bad enough, they now suffer and partake of the sins of their fathers/ past generation.

First to come to mind are the (STILL) missing Chibok girls that drew international attention and yet as we speak, the girls are STILL  missing, unbelievably it’s a year already. More sadly,is the fact that we ,i.e. most of us that are not directly affected, are forgetting already.

 THE NIGERIAN FACTOR. * we forget too soon*.

In a normal society/ country, those girls would not only have been adequately protected, they would have been found hours after the kidnap and they would not have been forgotten so soon.
It is bad enough that these evils happen. However what makes it worse, scary and indeed hopeless is the fact that its happening in a country where security of lives and property is a function of your financial status and what security you can afford for yourself and loved ones. The common man in Nigeria is left at the mercy of God.

 THE NIGERIAN FACTOR. * adequate security is meant for the rich and the rich alone* .

Back to the recent missing Surulere kids. I took a last glance at my phone last night before going to bed & saw like 5 BBM broadcast messages from different contacts all over the world as far as the UK and Canada about 3 kids that have gone missing in Surulere, Lagos Nigeria.
I normally do not engage in sending broadcasts (at least not in the past 3 years), however, I could not see myself sleeping or finding sleep knowing that 3 innocent kids, ages 6yrs, 4 yrs and 11 months are probably in the custody of some blood thirsty ritualists in some thick forest, or perhaps being sold off by some mean devil incarnates.
No way would I close my eyes to sleep knowing that it could happen to anybody, me inclusive.

 I looked beside me and there was my 3 year oldand my 2 month old daughters  fast asleep, both of them knowing they are in the safe hands of daddy and mummy. No I just could not sleep.
I sent the BBM broadcast, if it was the least I could do, said a prayer for the safety of the kids and went to bed hoping to wake up to some good news that the kids have been found, hale and hearty.
That was not going to happen anyway, as I woke up this morning to the news that they have been found somewhere in shagamu & later came in a counter news that it is false and they are still missing.

 THE NIGERIAN FACTOR. * we are quick to spread unnecessary, false rumors irrespective of the sensitivity of the subject matter*

Now this brings me to the whole essence of this write-up. The Nigerian factor.
In a sane country/ society, those kids and their story would make front cover of most ( if not all ) Dailies this morning 9th April 2015. they will also probably be all over the news on TV stations; all policemen & security personnel nationwide would be on red alert for any sign of the kids and infact all kids would be double checked.
However, the search of these innocent kids have been left solely to the social media and concerned Nigerians like you and I who can actually actually relate to what the poor parents of these kids could be passing though at a time like this. Twitter retweets, BBM broadcasts and facebook have been the major search platforms in over 24 hours since the disappearance of these kids.

THE NIGERIAN FACTOR. * we do not have value for lives, old or young* only the rich and influential gets the best of attention.

I just could not stop asking myself if these kids were kids of a top government official, let's say a senator or a governor or even a honorable in the house of assembly. I am very positive the search would have enjoyed wider coverage, been more intense and yielded results.


My initial reaction when I read through the broadcast about the missing kids was: 'How on earth would the parents leave 3 kids with a maid that just resumed work the previous day?'
 However, just as I was about to blame the parents for negligence and start feeling like a saint, I quickly remembered I was almost a victim too and truly it could happen to anyone.

I had my second daughter 2 months ago & due to work pressure on both my wife and I (we are both bankers), She had to resume work just as my baby turned 7 weeks. We did not have any help and contemplated her resignation at some point as our only option was either that or to hire a nanny and probably fix a nanny cam in the house (yes, to avoid a repeat of the Ugandan evil maid story). It was at this point, my dear mum inlaw showed up for “omugwo” and salvaged the situation.

We were lucky to have my mum in-law come to the rescue, but how many couples out there have such luxury? How many couple/ families out there are left at the mercy of maids and nannies?
This I see as a result of inconsiderate, harsh working conditions in the country.


In some developed societies and their companies, nursing mothers get up to 6, 9 months and even a year of maternity leave. And not only that, certain companies, offices are mandated to have crèches, nurseries for nursing mothers.

I do not know the full story, but I want to believe that if the mother of these 3 kids had the option of keeping her kids in her office nursery or crèche now that schools are out of session, she would not have left her kids in the hands of a maid. (same thing I would have been forced to do 2 weeks ago).
 It is NEVER a wise decision / option to leave
kids in the hands of maids. NEVER. They will always remain what they truly are, STRANGERS. Irrespective of the number of years they might have lived with you or how close/ fond of you or your kids they have become. DO NOT BE DECEIVED.

My prayer is that before I am done with this sad write-up, that these poor kids would have been found, safe and in good health.
Like I pointed out earlier, let us all pray for their safety, after all, that’s all their parents can afford in a country like ours. Prayers.


Olumide Akinlawon.
Concerned Parent.

Friday, 3 April 2015

The Real Change

 I was more apprehensive over the past few days,than I had ever been in my entire life! Not even when I was awaiting the release of our Final MB in Medical School did I feel so much tension! 
It was a different experience and I am glad I was part of the whole process!

We all agree that this is the dawn of a new Nigeria. I don't need to reiterate the point that various bloggers and commentators have made very obvious to the public.

While we celebrate the advent of a New Nation with such high expectations about the leadership of General Buhari and Prof Osibajo, I would like to take us down a different trail.

We have clamoured for change, we have voted for change, and in less than 2 months, the change we asked for will be institutionalised.

But have we ever asked what CHANGE really means?
Are we ready for what is about to befall this nation?

I wonder if a people so used to indiscipline and anarchy will embrace discipline and order just like that.
I wonder if  has sunk into the subconscious of the average Nigerian what change really means.

Change means discipline,
Change means obeying laws, rules and regulations,
Change means staying on queues,
Change means proper disposal of waste,

Change means not urinating in inappropriate places,
Change means not cutting corners,
Change means getting employed based on your performance and not on who you know,
Change means respecting constituted authority,
Change means proper handling of the Naira,
Change means an end to money laundering,
Change means accepting responsibility,

Change means a lot more than I have listed, and by now you should have realised that it's not the General that will keep us on queues or help me dispose waste properly; it's our job.
We are the change that we have clamoured for!
It begins with you and I.

We must be ready to be the change that we want to see.
I believe in the General's ability to lead us on this path, but we must be willing to co-operate with him and be followers that are ready to embrace change.

We have started the process, we must sustain this process and together, build the Nigeria of our dreams:
A Nigeria where fools will no longer become celebrities nor crooks be rewarded with fame;
A Nigeria where the King will reign in Righteousness, and the rulers rule with justice.
A Nigeria that will be exalted by our right actions!
God bless Nigeria

What does Change mean to you?
I would like to know, please type it as a comment. 
Thank you