Thursday, May 7, 2009
And when good people stand by and do nothing while wickedness reigns,
their communities will be consumed.
- Bob Riley
On the night of Sunday, May 3rd, 2009, I was at home enjoying the company of friends, oblivious to the trauma plaguing Charles O’Tudor, Principal Consultant of ADSTRAT BMC and my own very boss. The discovery of the article on First Weekly magazine for the week May 3-9 with the cover title Brand Expert, CHARLES O’TUDOR in financial crisis and rider: Banks Threaten To Take Over Properties shocked me immensely and for a couple of minutes I was bent over in pain like a man hit in the gut. A myriad of emotions enveloped me. Shock. Pain. Despair.
My union with the PC, as he is referred to, was never orchestrated by happenstance. Since my first meeting with him whilst still in the university, I have come to admire him as a man who unreservedly believes in my vision and has provided me with an enabling environment for the achievement of same. It is rare to find such men and as such I am peeved as well at the deplorable level of Journalism displayed in this part of the world. I will try as much as possible not to go ad hominem on this one even though I very much doubt if I can.
I might come across as a bundle of boundless and riveting energy, but my powers of observation have served me well over the years. From my first day at ADSTRAT, I have taken some time to study the man I work with, perhaps in a bid to quell the hangover of my drunkenness over his facade. What I have discovered is that the suave, assertive flamboyance he portrays actually masks a rugged determination to subdue the highly competitive clime of brands and branding. With a flawless espousal of strategies and a seamless execution on the CrossRiver state brand [the first state brand in Nigeria], it is not far fetched to assert that he has fought a good fight.
I can attest to the potholes that attend the path of entrepreneurship in Nigeria. To succeed, one must be consumed by a vision to render service which drives him through hardships and battles. O’Tudor has survived 8 years in one of the world’s most rigorous business climes through painstaking diligence, hard work and whether you like it or not – a prophetic call. Why would someone decide to end all that by a deliberate act of malice? So when I see a person who through hard work and God’s favour decided to dare the odds and wade the storms being defamed thus, it is disheartening. This indeed threatens to annihilate in one sweep the years of labour, dedication and resilience.
I am thrown in a quandary - what do I attribute this behaviour to; malice or sheer stupidity? Indeed what I see is that both play a role in the recent transpiring. Although democracy comes with fringe benefits, libel is a limitation to freedom of speech. As is customary, the referendum of my heart manifests as questions seeking an answer. Has the human mind become so wicked to attempt to wipe out 8 years of decent labour? Is libel and slander de rigueur in Nigerian Journalism such that people publish anything without caring whose ox is gored? Does one assume the position of a clog in the wheel of success of a fellow man, and expect to be successful in turn?
I am not a journalist by any standard, but I understand a fair share of the obtainable tenets which guide its practice worldwide. The article can only be described as a debasement of the most fundamental journalistic ethics. Investigative journalism pre-supposes that if a journalist gets wind of a story, before it sees the light of day, confirmations should be made to establish its credibility. In this case, no such thing was done. Every claim by the soft sell magazine was false to say the least. I worked on the team for BrandsArise Season II which held at the University of Lagos and I can say categorically that the allegation of the event being “unofficially” funded by a bank manager is a trailer load of bollocks. It is even unthinkable that such a laudable cause as BrandsArise was also connected to this charade.
If at the very least, a phone call was made to any Consultant within the ADSTRAT consortium, the claim of unpaid salaries would have been debunked as the salaries for the month of April was availed to Consultants before the last day of the month.
In the face of what I have termed “stupidity of extortionate proportions”, to stay mute may become a sin. I refuse to remain silent while a man’s sweat is rubbished by myopic, malevolent tyrants. If people like O’Tudor are shamefully portrayed, then who serves as a role model for young people desirous of a sojourn in the rigorous land of business creation? Can young people like me who aspire to erect a dynasty do so without the fear of the lily-livered men who disregard the values of ethical business practices?
This assault on O’Tudor’s character is not the first, but this time, I am sure that the men who have written this script will need to be patient enough and postpone rejoicing over premature triumph until the play is over. Indeed they have bitten more than they can chew and the repercussions of their actions would certainly serve as a note of warning to all who intend to tread that path.
Right now, all I can do is pray; that the damaging articles do not affect my boss adversely, that the perpetrators get the full due for their unprofessional conduct and the fear of God would pervade Journalism and transform it to its initial position as a honourable tool for the spread and promotion of justice.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
On Wednesday, after obtaining permission from my departmental boss at the office, armed with the medical form and a frail sense of courage, I set out for Nene Clinic at Ikeja. After struggling to locate the building amidst a cluster of boutiques and ‘high profile’ shops, I finally spotted it, standing – or maybe sitting – inconspicuously amidst the row of buildings. With my best foot forward and my heart in my mouth, I stepped into the clinic. There was nobody at the front desk; giving me a false sense of hope. Maybe they were on strike. Maybe they rushed to Kaduna to help some people and will not be available till December. As my impartial mind began to reel in its conjecture of endless prejudiced possibilities, the receptionist walked out into the lounge.
After filling the necessary forms I was led into an operating room to see the doctor. A dark skinned lady clad in immaculate white top and pants. I heaved a sigh. A female doctor would make the procedure considerably less painful. With a sonorous voice she greeted me and informed me of the doctor’s soon arrival. One more busted bubble! She then motioned for me to get settled in the reclining chair where the procedure would commence. As I lay there, I could not help but think about a guillotine and the events that occur therein.
As we waited for the doctor’s arrival, she started to produce all manner of sharp objects, needles and items which looked ominous. Very ominous. Alarm bells started to go off in my head amazingly at simultaneous rates. The foreboding had long returned and I was perspiring intensely even though the A\C was on.
The doctor walked in some minutes later with a fatherly attitude that immediately put me at ease. He set to work on me explaining in detail every step he was taking. I was relaxing albeit at snail’s pace. When he brought the first needle out, I stopped him and asked if it would hurt. In that gentle, reassuring voice he explained his intention of applying a local anaesthesia around the tooth region to numb it and excuse me of all pain. It stung a little bit, but after that, no pain. No Pain! My nerves were still stretched taut refusing to acquiesce to the pleasure of premature triumph. Lai Lai, until the end, before I start rejoicing o!
In about 15 minutes, he was done and I was on my way back to the office. So the stuff worked! I was so glad I was given that injection that helped me through it.
I left the clinic unscathed physically and mentally. The only evidence I carried was the numbness on my jaw and I didn’t really mind as it saved me the unpleasant pain I would have felt if I had gone through the procedure without the anaesthesia. After a while, it started to come across as obnoxious. My jaw felt as heavy as lead causing me to be unusually quiet all through the day. I could not even engage in my usual innocuous mischief with Ferdinand. I could feel nothing. No pain, no pleasure; nothing!
As is customary, submerged questions in my sub-conscious began to surface amidst a torrent of disarrayed thoughts, feelings and emotions in my bloated spirit.
What is life without the ability to feel? How does one cope with the heaviness of numbness? How many Nigerians, injected with the anaesthesia of a better life overseas, abscond to pursue surreal dreams? Do you solve a problem by assuming it doesn’t exist?
Whatever it is, I would still love to feel. Pain. Pleasure. Joy or discomfort.
I find it disturbing knowing that millions of Nigerians are eager to abandon this beautiful nation to sojourn in an uncertain land due to hardships. I say it time and again, I am one person who is not unmoved by the plight of Nigerians; having tasted of the bitter-sweet experience the nation offers. I was never born with a silver spoon, but I decided to buy a gold one and affix it to my mouth; discovering that the negligence of pain or sorrow is not the absence of it.
Indeed, Nigeria is yet to be defined as a nation, but as a group of states journeying towards nationhood. Gruelling as it is, the odyssey is further browbeaten by the malicious tendencies of narrow-minded, blood sucking leaders. However, the answer is neither in denigration nor defiance but in a self-motivated resolution to create the change the nation needs. Remember that the failures and disappointments of yesterday are the opportunities of today. Be the change.
So how are you doing?
Friday, March 13, 2009
I have been told several times that I am handsome. Yes. You heard me; I am handsome! As difficult as it is for you to swallow, many ladies have told me that I suffer from 'SEXYLITIS' and as such I have unwittingly earned the title; 'HIS ROYAL SEXINESS'. Aint my fault was born that way! Anyways, before you start to swoon over tales of my beauty and sexiness, I will love to let you know that I grew up practically all my life in Jakande estate, Isolo and for five years i went through Mushin frequently on my way to school, so I possess some latent uncivilized proclivities. Bottom line, I can be 'bush' if I set my mind at it. So it did not shock me last week when, on impulse, I decided to stop at Ladipo on my way to work to eat yam and beans by the railway.
After some minutes of complete oblivion, enthralled by the magnificence of the delicacy, I began to take in my environment: people assuming different positions, unabashedly smoking weed! The atmosphere was filled with its stench and for a while I thought I was going to throw up. And that’s when I started to ask myself; if this people could do this in an open environment, what else could have happened under the cover of ‘inconspicuity’? That is when I started to appreciate the work of Governor Raji Babatunde Fashola. Whoever said we get the politicians we deserve obviously did not envision BRF. In the midst of a perverse generation, convolved in an intricate knot of mediocrity, avarice and unpatriotic manifestations, BRF stands out like a sore thumb.
The events of the past few months have left Lagosians in a state of awe-inspiring shock. Although we had clamored for change in certain areas, when it came, it did so in a manner most unpredictable and speed highly unprecedented. The level of growth and development in Lagos is one we would not have expected for another ten years. Perhaps, there is hope for the future. BRF has successfully done more for the outlook of Lagos and the Spirit of Lagosians than any Governor since ALHAJI LATEEF JAKANDE. I am not particularly a supporter of any party or person and even during the elections i was endeared to the DPA candidate Jimi Agbaje, but I am strongly of the opinion that if someone does a laudable job, he should be commended immediately; not after his death!
BRF has taken a resolute step towards the strategic alignment of Lagos and his efforts seem to yield tremendous results. In one bold sweep, he cleaned up Oshodi, Mushin and other notorious places in a way that would have inspired OMO and KLIN.
This success has not been limited to the demolition, of illegal shops, shanties and homes, which swept through the metropolis like a hurricane.
The Beautification process of Lagos has been overwhelming. His talk about his administration combating employment, environmental issues, road construction and management has in the least been carried out with some success. The result: a people aflame with a genuine love for the state. However this level of progress has generated mixed reactions from the general populace. Some have stated that the governor's hurricane-like sanitation is nothing but a flagrant disregard for the rule of law. Others, cynical over any allusion to a great Nigeria; express fear over the developments being merely a placebo administered solely for the gratification of our frayed nerves.
I, BRIGGS, P.U., would only want to dwell in the present, in hope and in faith. May history be the judge!
Listening to his songs on my phone evokes a passion within my spirit that words cannot describe. His soft voice, though meek and gentle, radiates energy similar to the suns’. Age Beeka enthralled me early on when I heard an acapella rendition of ‘’Angelica’’ on Music Africa. Immediately afterwards, my detailed military manhunt for him and his began. I garnered some tips from Gulder Ultimate Search, added them to my arsenal and hit the streets. My search didn’t yield much result for years, despite my military tactics, until a friend of mine; Andrew Adigwe gave me the debut album - Age.
His entry into the music industry, though orchestrated by happenstance circumstances, was highly inevitable as his love for music created a surge in his early years and since then Age has been relentless in his pursuit. Really Age may not pass with the Nostradamus phenomenon, but when it comes to music...Age saw the future. As I lay on my bed letting my mind get soaked with the rhythms and essence from several of his tracks, I couldn’t help but agree that Age came ahead of his time.
If you are anytime like me, the first awestruck feeling I had, reverberated from the realization that he his Nigerian. At the time his single hit the airwaves in 2002, many were unsure if this good thing can really come out of Nazareth (speaking of Naija), his nationality became an issue on the street, in the buses. People started to troop into his residence to ascertain his identity.
Driven by excellence, he began by personally studying music great artiste of all times in the likes of; Mozart, Beethoven and a host of others. After, his first album, he attended a music school in Los Angeles where he developed his love for music into a first class item. I say first class, because the standards of the world are unworthy to serve as a yardstick in classifying his kind of music.
Age like his name is boundless as he easily connects with people from all ages. Though, in some shallow farce one could easily dismiss him as foreign with the wave of hands. Nonetheless, Age’s music transcends nationality, tribe or social status. It is for those who appreciate the intricacies of professional music, and whose heart resonates with unsaid words.
After his first album, which was heard by a handful of music lovers, he totally dropped off the radar. Whispers have been heard about a second album and some stage appearances, but really nothing substantial.
Nevertheless, all who have caught a glimpse into his soul attests of his addictive ability. A single ‘drag’ on his lyrics, instrumentals and productive prowess leaves one hooked to his passion, excellence and infallible talent.
Age Beeka has effortlessly ravaged our souls, invaded our beings and disrupted our lifestyles, but we do not complain. We are content. But as our proclivities oscillate us towards the status quo, towards bland music; inspired by perversely hollow minds and dominated by empty, mediocre lyrics, we can only ask; WHERE IS AGE BEEKA?
THE NIGERIAN CLIME….
Nigeria, a wonderful nation is sadly one created to administrate and not to produce. As years roll by, universities churn out graduates into a very competitive global society. Young graduates plagued by a chronic myopia which affects the depeest centre of their spiritual minds jettison their dreams in search for the highest paying jobs. So the guy who always wanted to become the world’s greatest communicator, ends up being a banker and the lady who always wanted to be a top sewage diposal expert ends up working in an oil firm. Their reason? Frustration and impatience!
Frustration? Impatience? Hell yeah! These are emotions I am all too familiar with. Impatience and pain is watching helplessly as your mother rushes out to work at 6:00am only to return at the most ungodly hours for 31 years. My hands are tied, I want to salvage the situation, to make enough money to force her into resignation but I am helpless. In the obscure labyrinth called my mind, I roam aimlessly searching for answers to questions produced by my heart. Am I stupidly ignoring the facts? Is my obstinacy just another act borne out of youthful exuberance? Do I decide to work in a bank or an oil firm, instead of pursuing my vision to be the world’s greatest brand strategist? Do I abdicate my responsibilty to the world to face a more pressing call to my family?
NO! This Nigerian clime which threatens to asphyxiate our dreams and obliterate our hopes is not enough to stop us. Our spirit as a Nigerian people is strong, tough and resilient by default. We refuse to falter even in the face of staggering opposition. We are tenacious to the point of oobstinacy in the pursuit of our dreams. The truth remains that if that does not happen and we continue to overflood these “choice” industries, the system will collapse.
So we stick to our purpose; how? INTERCOURSE.
This subject is more spiritual than physical. Albert Einstein said that you cannot create a solution at the same level of thinking you were in when you created the problem. Whatever dream you have in life, there is a person who has walked that road before. Someone who functions on a higher pedestal in your line of vision. So you engage in the act the Greeks refer to as koinonia. A fellowship. A mingling of spirits. You pick these mentors, connect with the aura they exude. Drink of them. Rub minds together. Engage in high level intellectual and cerebral discourse. This process is what develops you and gives you a higher playing field to function from. With the advent of globalisation and its resultant effect – the death of distance, it is great to know that this intercourse process can transcend the barriers imposed by nationality. You can undergo a fellowship with a person you have never and may never meet. You doubt it? Visit Facebook.
But remember, the intercourse is not the only process in eliciting the “eureka of a lifetime.” You need to take the next step!
The purpose of the fellowship, mingling and intercourse is for you to create your pool of resources. But the gestation period is actually the defining moment of the process. Here, you connect with God and your inner person. You process all the information with the mind of the spirit. Here you develop all the ideas you have, brooding upon them, setting things in place for the ultimate awakening. This process is what has given birth to the world’s greatest ideas. Remember to detach yourself from the crowd to enable a seamless fermentation process.
..when the clouds are filled with rain, they empty themselves upon the earth.
Your great idea might be the one that charts the course for the next generation. It could be the defining idea that liberates the world in the next period of global meltdown. Beleve it or not, we have not seen the end of the days of austerity measures and depleting economies.
After your process of intercourse and gestation, you are conditioned by nature to deliver. It is not a decision you take. It is ochestrated by the grand design of the universe. It does not require concious effort. It just happens.
INNOVATION is a powerful tool in fixing this decrepit society which is unwittingly driven towards annihilation. You cannot afford to conform to the norm. Your ideas can be the single key which positions Nigeria positively on the world map. Your idea can catalyse our journey towards nationhood. We have to build our capacity to produce and it all begins with you.
ARE YOU READY FOR INTERCOURSE?