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Poetry: Lines composed shortly after the demise of Nigerian literary icon, Chinua Achebe



..... Universal resolution master stroke served:
The abolitionists’ armor frigates scrambled
Hoisting their sails in the waters of imperial Union Jack;
The primary altruistic charge was intercepting merchant ships
Laden of human merchandise bound for the new world;
Swift tactics changed the imperatives of seemed accomplished little;
Attacking the root now is Westminster’s new strategic option;
This, argued, will help nip in the buds the profusion menace;
It belied, however, as history later showed, impending atavistic ambitions.
Namely: conquest and containment and colonization or diplomacy;
Dawn of protracted gunboat diplomacy with continental Africa;
Crystallized into invasion 1860, Lagos, and the rest, as they say, is ……HISTORY.
Alibi, its royal court abounds with slaves;
And trade-missioners poured forth the decks of berthing liners
Into the virgin interior and into Goldie's wide waiting arms.
The future Mastermind of all an empire truly desires
stevedores forth with mixed bags of imperial cargoes
Check the list-  the barges line's led by holy scrolls,
And books and Guns were hidden for the most
Beneath clergies owns' cassocks
Driven by fierce sophistication of racial supremacist legions,
And a hundred years down the line, "There was a country,"
Birthed, arguably, forsooth in the beauty
Of a painless warm incubate struggles.
Nigeria's very promising yet a crudely thoroughbred;
And the gadfly comes, he comes from the east.
He goaded and pilloried gentle and stung prophetic
The slow and unruly and dimwitted horse of state.
And for its chaotic excesses and vices and blunders
On all sides through the soft muses of his wondrous art.
The veiled deep activism from his Novels count
Masterfully crafted under ever bright Ogidi moonlight.
And burst forth like flowers with love and concerns
Through such foreboding classics for the obstinate
Beast always gamboling down precipitous cliffs
Where, Things, almost completely, fall apart.   
Post-mortem stalled, thorough or aesthetic, and nothing is learned;
The clog of all clinical posterity;
And the nation's behind sprawl-draggled choke holds
Still in profusion bends of tragic bubbles
Like an Elephant, whale dived too deep at sea.
Though not a hopeless- No longer at ease   
If but his distress calls all and sundry obeyed.
Chinua was an unrepentant nationalist;
An arrow of truth searing the conscience of a straggling nation
Till now forever laid in his sleep of death.
Adieu, the merchant of didactic tales.
Adieu, Chinua Achebe!
  

  
  
   
      
    
  
      
              
          
    

  
  
   
      
    
  
      
              
          

     

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Opinion: Where is 'Baba Nee'?


Guess he needs no introduction!

Well, if you're still lost as to whom I'm talking about here.

Let me do a brief introduction.

Baba Nee is, back in the day, the hip-hop artiste who had a prolonged battle with 9ice, the Gongo Aso crooner, over copyright issues in some of the songs that appeared in the hit debut album 'Gongo Ago'.

He alleged then that 9ice used some his songs in his debut album
without due credit to him. And most especially that the style 9ice uses belongs to him.

According to the story, the Omo ghetto crooner insisted that 9ice took his lyrical ideas during a music competition organized by Kenny St. Brown in 2004, where he performed before him

When he discovered this he was said to have frontally reached out to 9ice for proper acknowledgment but was rebuffed.

This was said to have angered him a lot more so because he had neither the money; nor the clout; nor the record label to fight the battle for him.

After all, he isn't asking for financial compensation.

He later resolved to pick the gauntlet by fighting the injustice musically. To this end, he did record some songs back then with the intentions to get at 9ice.

I could remember the song: '2ice as 9ice' and the follow-up video in which he squared up with a 9ice look alike so that 9ice does not miss the message.

He took the song 'Pete-Pete' from 9ice's follow up album as a response to his allegations which didn't go down well with him also.

At the height of his desperation to settle the score, he even called out 9ice to a street musical duel to underscore the fact that he truly owns the proverb laden style now synonymous with 9ice but didn't get as little as 'ear of a camel' for his audacious efforts.

While the beef lasted he indeed had what I’d call snatches of fame. Did I hear you say fortune! I don't know anything about that.

Seriously, I sometimes wonder where the guy is now. Not because I sorely missed him. Doubt if any serious musical buff does.

I mean it’s been a long while he did anything of note musically. For someone who lays claim to originality, it’s unacceptable.

Could it be that he is, after all, a flash in the pan.

In contrast, however, you will agree with me that his enemy number one, 9ice, is still very much around and loud too.

It does appear that he's even more mature with an eye for CSR.

Because recently he released an album with the eponymous title 'I. D CABASSA' tributary to his pioneering manager with an icing on the cake price that the proceeds from the album will go to him. 


Now the question is who truly owns the tradition or style between the two? 

Is it the ‘Super mother’ singer, Baba Nee or 9ice.

Honestly, it's no hard decision for me comparing the endurance level displayed so far by the two in the game.

While no one will argue about who had had a fickle shine in the firmament of Nigerian music and who is an enduring personality as far as the musicianship game is concerned.

It is very possible they both had an idea of the stylistic concept but Baba Nee I think has the burden of originality on his side but didn’t proof it eventually.

The fact of their differential successes is another sign that one towers above the other. And all fingers point towards 9ice.

For a recap, I don't miss Baba Nee for whatever he's worth musically simply because 9ice cuts it for me and everyone who has got hears for good music.

But those who choose to stick with meaningless ranting of musical losers or cheap popularity seekers if you like Baba Nee are free.

They can follow him as well into oblivion and we won't miss them either,

Bye and talk soon!




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Poetry: Stopping by with you on a Nostalgic Midday


Perhaps in death, who would have thought we'll ever be apart!
But that is the way life sometime goes.
You push in one direction,
It pulls you in another.
You hunger for hopes,
It fills you with despair.
You stare defeat in the face,
It surprises you with a victory.
You thirst with impatience,
It calms you with waters of humility.
You promised twelve long months a-going,
It stops you dead in your track before the break of next day.

At midday, who would have thought we'll still be alive!
But that is the way life sometime goes.
Imagine the multitude of rainfall
That the earth has drunk up;
The multitude of burnt houses;
The multitude of houses with leaky roofs;
The many kidnapped for ransom;
The many killed for rituals.

Who would have thought you will be married and I would not.
You, who multitude of children
Daily welcome at the door with joyous sing-song
Of papa oyoyo, papa oyoyo till fades.
And I, in an empty home,
A sleepy lonesome bachelor with slimy spit
Running off my mouth at waking time.
Don't tell me it's all for my good
That our musician friend sings that rude advisory song.
When else you see him, tell him I'm looking for him.
He deserves some reprimanding. But the message sinks!

Who would have thought I'll be doing this, not even you!
But that is the way life sometime goes.
Today, I am renewed.
I am refocused.
I am fortified.
And you, I doubt if there is a building so tall
That you cannot climb. And a plank so thick
That you cannot smooth or chop to pieces.
But I trust your carpenter,
You dare not try for food the nails!

                                                For Akeem Adelola.






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How to Find and Use Ideas


I’m sure you’ve heard the expression ‘ideas rule the world’ more times than you can count.

If this is not a reality with you, it’s most likely you live in some caves underground.

For if you live on this earth, you’d have seen the glory of ideas light up our world per second like moonlight in the nightly skyline

Am I being rude? Of course not, at least, not deliberately.

Now don’t take my word for it. I’m only
joking.

But frankly speaking, everything that’s and will be is a by-product of ideas once held in the mind of men; from your slippers to the flying machine.

Then, ideas must be precious and expensive.

Appealing as that thought is, the contrary I can confirm is the truth.

The thing is ideas are cheap and exist everywhere in space and time; and you have to believe me.

The only expensive part, however, to holding an idea is that of EXECUTION.

Despite the staggering evidence all around us both in time past and today, I’ll shock you by saying that the greater number of ideas that have ever been generated are never put to any good use.

It’s either they die as paper tigers or remain dormant in the minds of those who conceive them.

Evidently, countless number of people had died and many more will still die with great ideas, and that I sincerely think is tragic.

This I believe must have trigger panic in some of you. 

Now I’ll insist you don’t worry at all because it won’t help your cause one bit. It never does.

One question that I strongly feel will forever gnaw at the entrails of your evolving lives is ‘are you going to die with your ideas or put differently your dreams,’ unfulfilled? 

My answer to that is a resounding No.

And if you wish you can always achieve your dreams. No matter how frighteningly lofty

It’s only a question how much you want it.

To help you, I’ve thought through some methods not just on how to find great ideas but put them to use them and gainfully too.

Which bring us to the question, what is the nature of an idea? 

                                                                                                                                                                     1) Idea is a mental picture of solution or innovation to the existing problem(s) or solution(s)
Ø    
       2) Idea occurs in a flash.
Ø    
       3)Idea is flighty
       
I      4)Idea is deceptive
Ø        
      5)Idea is a like seed that has unlimited potentials for growth.  
Ø        
I     6)Idea is like a young hummingbird that will fly out of sight once it feathered.

The ancient philosopher, Socrates, definitely knew this and he admonishes us ‘To always endeavor to tether the young bird of idea to a stake or else sooner they grow wings and fly away’.
  
 By implication, the basic import of this is to track and record our thoughts on the go by keeping a    notepad or by any device we find most convenient.
  
  For me, the traditional tools of pen and paper still do it for me any day.  
  
  But don’t get it twisted; I’ve often submitted to the use of a mobile phone when circumstances demand.
  
  Consequently, I’ll conclude by saying ideas are everywhere and flighty.
  
  To own it, you must tie them down in writing. 
  
  Merely holding a mental kernel of it will always give you a regrettable slip.
   
  The four basic ways to find ideas:   
Ø           
       Dig-it-up method:

This involves deliberately finding ideas in books and other forms of printed materials or sheer mental exercises.

Ø    Hand-me-down method:

This comes by way of the idea that falls on your laps through generous action of others based on your       insistent solicitations.
Ø         
        Stealing
          
       Now, this is unethical. However, that does not make it any less of another way to finding an idea. 
       
       Ideas have been stolen in the past and will always be stolen in the future. 
       
       The only caveat is to be prepared for legal consequences if caught.  
Ø         
       Outright purchase:

I     Ideas can be bought or sold in the free marketplace of ideas. There are people and corporations who have well developed and willing to part with them at a fee.

Testing your ideas:

This is one important if not the most important stage in idea generation and profitability.

It’s equally the most dreadful because it takes a gamut of resources time, money, consistency, sacrifices etc.

It’s like a roaring hungry lion that threatens to devour us. But right inside its belly, it bears the treasure. Run for it and you are flimflammed.  

Be sure, however, it’s an endurance fight or race if you like.

And if you have not read of Thomas Edison and his electric wizardry now is the time to get your hand on it.

You know what, it teaches many fundamental principles about bringing ideas to profitable fruition.

But at the core of it and quite pertinent to our discussion is that you must be prepared to sustainably put your ideas to tests and more tests until you are satisfied the outcome will impact humanity positively.

Putting your idea to use.

There are basically two ways to put an idea to use.

One, an idea can be freely used both in writing and discussion to engage others with a view to getting more out of their lives.

Two, an idea can be commoditized and taking to the marketplace as products and services.

Readying an idea for the marketplace means it must be taking through the test of fire of refinement and remolding.

How do I mean?

Let’s take for instance you have a story idea which you wish to put in the public domain.

You must first of all determine in which format it should appear.

And the options available to you include Drama, Novel (short or long) and poetry.
Each format has its own peculiar characteristics that must be dealt with in detail by the aspiring writer.

As a writer, you’re gifted with a skill set which naturally disposes you to one or all of these.

Whichever you choose, it must be out of strong conviction that it’s the most suited to the mission parallel to the existence of the ability to pull it off.

Like you know story ideas can come from your own experiences or the experiences of others encountered in person or as told by third party narrators.

It can also be close to home or from abroad.

Finally, the thing is you will struggle as a Newbie but with time mastery will come through.

Nothing delights than seeing intangible ideas take tangible forms as product and services that change our world for good.

If you ask me, nothing gives me joy than words used to good effects both in speech and in writing especially.

As I welcome you to a new world of idea generation and utilization that promises career self fulfillment and human advancement. 

I say ‘may your road be rough’, in the word of Nigeria’s social crusader and Ecclesiastes Dr. Tai Solarin of blessed memory!    

Even if it makes you painfully squirmed in your genuine strides, you nevertheless will agree with him that the road to success is never smooth. 

Indeed, it’s long, tortuous and contoured.

Talk soon!

Deji.



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Opinion: Neymar steps out of Messi's Shadow?


Although long before the historic champion’s league night of March 8, 2017, there is only one god at the Camp Nou, and that god is indisputably Lionel Messi.

A football god who week in week out effortlessly discharges his professional duty artistic, supportive role and goal scoring by the generous torrent, and his adulations are a way of life for multitudes of his admirers and pundits the world over.  

Now it’s needless to go down the memory lane of his long glorious career at both club and National team level.

In a nutshell, he is synonymous with extraordinary class and flashes in the firmament of world football.

It should, however, be remembered that like God of the universe, this arguably football’s only supreme deity is surrounded by a capable army of archangels ready and willing to make light of all celestial challenge, much less that which mere mortals may pose.   

But on the night in question, Barcelona f.c walks the tightest rope possible in spite of their credentials and armory of world-class talents at its becks and calls.

Its chances of qualifying for the next phase of the competition hang in the balance because they are trailing their competitor, PSG f.c by whooping four goals from the first leg.

While there is no question as regards what these crop of talents can do when they are in their element; justifiable doubts, however, persist well into the kick off of the game and beyond.

Proverbially the battle of the night proved once more to be a rule of the forest that is far beyond the ability of a tree.

Indeed, Messi was appropriately recast into a god-in-council.

While he took the backstage, it was his able lieutenant, Neymar jr who shone like a ruby when the chips were down.

He instead led this army of aliens and spearheaded the revival from the 88 minutes on when all hopes were thinning into nothingness.

In the end, he netted two goals.

One from a free-kick that underlined his genius and another from a spot kick.

He then created one from sheer nothing in the dying minutes of the extra time which was crowned by Serge Roberto and sent the faithful crowds at the Camp Nou into frenzied jubilation.

Behold, one of the greatest come back in the history of the game has just been completed.

Like a trigger the world has been waiting for, it sent the punditry train into committing what I will call a disservice to the hero of the night.

Quite strangely, many had likened his heroic performance to one of a cast finally coming out of the perpetually looming shadow of Lionel Messi; thereby unduly benchmarking the player. But I differed!

Agreed, Messi is a class apart.

Yet Neymar like the rest of the trees in the forest of Barcelona play complementary roles; though there is plenty to suggest some towered above the other in a certain respect.

But not in the sense that one constitutes a shadow on to the others has been peddled.     

One thing we should get straight is they are all different and unique in so many respects which are what make any team tick.

Imagine if they are all same of the same. Nothing can be unforgivable.

Although Neymar may barely have scratch five-star performances all season; this is not an indication he is eclipsed by 

Messi’s shadow or anyone for that matter.

Messi is Messi just like Neymar is Neymar and that applies to the rest of this team of heroes.

They all bring their unique abilities to the table of Barcelona and must be so appreciated.

He has his unique abilities as exhaustively demonstrated on Wednesday night against PSG.

Everyone we all know suffers a dip in form at some point in their career, but class will always remain permanent.

So, Neymar’s heroic performance against PSG is only a reflection of his permanent class and not a one-off display of forced brilliance.   

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Opinion: The North Is The Reason Nigerian Education Is Backward!


It’s no longer news that global competitiveness rating of Nigerian universities has plummeted of recent.

The latest of such exercises revealed that no Nigerian university is anywhere near the first 500 top universities in the world.

But like some kind of consolation, the only Nigerian university on the long list is the University of Ibadan; and it comes in distant 801.

No doubt, the grave implications are there for all
to see especially vis-a-vis the country’s growth and development because it’s a known fact that no country can grow beyond its educational capacity.

Since the break of the bad tidings, importantly, stakeholders have at different fora and wherever opportunity avails exhaustively discussed the problem, identified causes, and proffered solutions.

Some of the causes cum solutions highlighted include poor funding, which experts agreed has grounded the research functions of our Ivory 
Towers leading to gross underutilization of national intellectual resources and brain drain.

For this reason, academicians are finding it difficult if not impossible to proceed on sabbatical needed for intellectual revitalization which in turn guarantee improved service delivery to their primary forte

While most of the statutory responsibilities of these universities have since become unaffordable luxuries and eternally deferred.

Another is the need for universities to have some form of autonomy for effective operations which they do not have because the powers that be think otherwise...

Experts also bemoan the lack of transparency or what many called gross monetization of admission processes into Nigerian universities whereby admission have become a bazaar of a sort with admission slots sold to the highest bidders while indigent students are turned away empty handed..

There is also the lack of unified educational policy operational across the country’s North-South geopolitical and educational dichotomies.

Similarly, increased private sector participation was also strongly canvassed to compliment the efforts of governments own institutions of higher learning.

From the foregoing, it’s clear the problems are largely systemic.

If that be so, how come a problem requiring emergency systemic reinvention or overhaul be fixed by any appointive window dressing based, worse still, on a quota system and other similar tangential administrative interventions and inconsistent policies.
Last year for instance, while though genuinely concerned and un-mincingly decrying the global low ranking of Nigerian universities; President Muhammadu Buhari like many of its predecessors’ ideas of solution came yet again in form of appointment of new administrative heads for both National University Commission (NUC) and National Tertiary Institution Intervention Fund (NTIIF) with clear mandate to urgently reverse the downward slide.          
It should be remembered, while not trying to detract from his good intentions, that this is the same pattern followed by previous administrations in a situation unanimously agreed to be an emergency and has yielded no meaningful results predictably.
It remains to be seen how far or what impact this recent intervention will have on the ailing system.
While genuinely or so the search for permanent solutions is on, there are other long-standing fundamentals underlying the problem that will help in our appreciation of how soon the problem can be solved.
For one, it a well-known fact of our national life that attitudes and sentiments towards education sharply vary across the country.
In the country South to a higher degree, education is seen as a right and necessarily pivotal to the pursuit of both individual and group multilevel emancipation and access to improved opportunity and living standard.
As such, an average southerner is more than prepared to go the full length to acquire either the minimum or maximum educational qualification required to be effective both in the highly competitive professional marketplace of today and the larger society.
A disposition, though positive and laudable, but has over time attracted continuous scathing remarks from some wretched critics within the same socio-political space.
Can one ever forget the ‘The mad rush for certificate’ remarks credited to a notable Northern element at the realization that southerners will and can do anything for knowledge which includes going to the institutions of higher learning even at great personal cost?
A sad commentary no doubt, and a case of vicious dislike for those who dare to be educationally excellent while doggedly refusing to be makeover in the pathetic image of the ignoramuses..  
 In the North, on the other hand, the situation is disturbingly different.
This is a section of the country where the attitude towards education is a direct antithesis of the South in so many respects.
Indeed, it is characterized by both pathological indifference and minimalist expectations.
Its education sector long known to be in a state of complete disarray was again recently attested to by no other person than his royal eminence the Emir of Kano, Alhaji  Sanusi Lamido Sanusi at a public function.  
Its a long way coming!
The North it is on record has more educationally less developed states in the country where minimalist policies of different kind s are in operation since God knows when; while the rest of the country is maximally pushing all boundaries of learning and education.
In the so-called educationally less developed states and indeed all the North, policies which negate national and international best practices are introduced by way of inducing students aspiring for university education.
For example, entry requirements into the university, as well as primary and secondary schools, are ridiculously low thereby paving the way for students who are no better candidates for technical or vocational training or somewhere down the rung of the educational ladder.    
In the end, they want to sit among the very best from other parts of the country as co-equals whereas their training and qualifications are a far cry from expected standards.
The many ills of education in the North.     
The north is the only place where educational facilities exist but are scarcely fully utilized.
The only place where education is free yet pupils males and females will not come to school even when governments at all levels practically go on their knees for enrolment.    
The only place where Islamic education is prized over and above the equally good if not better western education that is functionally necessary in the globalized world of today.
Which other evidence do we need to cement its inglorious place as the reason for Nigeria’s education backwardness but the existence and threat of the Boko Haram sect?
A sect which has killed and maimed thousands of people, destroyed educational facilities in the North-East because it ideologically viewed western education as sin yet uses various high-tech gadgets like cars and computers for its operational ends in a show of blind hypocrisy and ideological paradox.      

So evidently across board, the North will always be in support of any arrangement that could lead to a deliberate crash of standards especially in education arrears to accommodate its penchants for academic laziness and mediocrity.

Look no further, therefore, when the talk is on education at any levels beyond the North being the real reason for Nigeria’s backwardness.

And until there is policy unification nationally the situation will not get any better now or in the nearest future.  
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