The very rainy Benin City

One place you may not wish to reside during the rainy season in Nigeria is Benin city in Edo state. It rains just anytime and every time. It is even better nowadays. In recent pasts, it would rain and rain and rain, pushing people to become repentant of their known and unknown sins because it would appear as if the biblical Noah and the ark episode is about to repeat itself. Besides, with what we hear in the news daily, atrocities committed constantly, fathers raping daughters, 70 year old men raping 4 day olds …..erm sorry 4 year old children, why won’t we think God wants to wipe the slate clean all over again?

Those days, the 7-days-rain and 13-days- rain myths were fully evident in Benin city, without an intervening ‘August break’. No wonder the business of ‘rain holders’ booms in this part of the country. Infact , if you have a ceremony such as a wedding or a funeral and don’t  patronise the ‘ services’ of traditional rain holders, you are perceived as someone not ready to hold that ceremony.

The CEOs of these ‘organizations’ charge per hour ,as I have learnt and also charge depending on how prestigious your ceremony will be. It is only in Benin I saw rain falling heavily in one street while the weather was absolutely clear and sunny in the adjacent street. Lol…And they say Africans don’t know science abi? This is science ‘extraordinaire’. Which other continent can beat that?

It is interesting to know that these weather practitioners are not just skilled in preventing rain from falling when you have a special occasion. They also have the ability, as reported by hear-say, to stimulate rainfall. I mean, stimulate a huriccane- like storm. So those ladies who are angry with their exes for jilting them can send rain on the day of their exes’ wedding to scatter the programme and send guests running for their lives, leaving the bride crying her eyes out.

Generally, I don’t enjoy protracted periods of rainfall because it disrupts laid out plans, keeping everybody indoors, bringing with it very chilly weather conditions. Even while writing this, its still raining. I understand Benin is located in the South-South part of Nigeria which geographically is prone to extended wet periods ,but we need a break. Can someone send a memo to the forces which control the weather that we fully understand and appreciate their power but we need clear weathers too?

Truly, a sunny bright day brings with it an elated mood and that is exactly what we need.

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My new found Sport

My friends have always teased me that I have reduced interests in things that a  guy should be interested in. For instance, I don’t enjoy watching football. I know the jaws that drop each time a guy passing by me asks me to remind him who is playing what match and I reply , “I don’t know”. They usually give me this look like, “Huh? Are you on this planet at all?” “Are you a guy? ” “Should you maybe take a cue from Caitlyn Jenner and, you know, become your real gender?” Lol.

Anytime I try to explain that interest in sports do not define who a guy is, I appear as If I’m speaking Spanish with a little dash of Swahili. My friends have constantly encouraged me to play at least a game of football to perhaps bring out the “apparently non existent masculine side “of me, but they’ve come to realise swallowing balls of eba without soup would be easier. Okay , to the Association of guys, men, and related genders, I have good news for y’all. I love a sport. Yea. Thanks. It’s called swimming. And yes, it’s a sport. I’m no pro yet but I have been able to improve my skills so far, and it calms my nerves. Makes me forget my sorrows and keeps me in a great mood afterwards. So congrats to me for officially joining the male folk, since one of the requirements to join seems to be loving a sport. I’v tried.

Swimming is a great form of exercise because you make use of every skeletal muscle in your body, at least most of them, while also learning how to maintain holding your breath for longer periods. I mean swimming, not standing in a pool and splashing water on other people for hours.

Besides the exercise and how beneficial it is to the heart and general well being, it could be life saving. You never know the day you would be on a ship, sitting at the edge and fall off into the sea due to uncontrollable sleep attacks; those kinds that come upon us just when the pastor is about dishing out his sermon in church, and miraculously disapears when the choir starts to sing. You know that kind now. So you’d need the skill to save your life.

Therefore, learn how to swim, and keep swimming. I love it and so should you.
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Without You

Without You
What else can I do?
I have arrived at the point
Where reality dawns on me
That I cannot function
If I do not possess your unction

Trusting you has made me see
What you allow is all I can be
What is a vehicle without its engine?
Or a building without its foundation?

You are the very essence of life
Your absence is full of sadness and strife
Even when I dont measure up
You remind me your love for me wont stop

I know you always look out for me
In your time I will become what you want me to be
When dissenting tongues wag against me
Your actions silence them permanently

When the world on me looses hope
You make me the chief corner stone
When society calls me unclean
You make me chaste with hyssop you have gleaned

In my weakness you are my strength
In my darkness you shine exceedingly bright
In my confusion you are my peace
In my lack you provide perpetually

What then am I outside you?
A revelation so true
If I am to survive
My love for you must surely thrive
My Father, rescuer and confidant
Living is nothing if it is without you.

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Posted by Roland Asiwe

Take Responsibility For Your Life

The world we live in is a very competitive one. Scarce resources. Teeming population. Everyone struggles to survive. This is why it is becoming an herculean task to live your life dependent on others. Those who you consider your benefactors are too busy trying to manoeuvre life’s daily challenges and as such may not remain so for too long. Now is the time to ask yourself salient questions. What are you doing with your life? What machinery are you developing to ensure you survive just as everyone else? Are you going to leave your life to chance, hoping things would eventually work out fine, or would you take active steps to ensure future occurences work in your favour?

Too many young people lately do not think about their futures, make long term goals or consider the long term consequences of their present actions. Instead they indulge in wishful thinking, fantasies, end up in unpleasant eventualities as a result, and seek who to blame.

The reason living beings grow physically is nature’s way of informing us that life is meant to be lived majorly by self effort. Consequently, we develop in strength and in mental capacity in order to face the future. Sadly, some individuals grow physically but remain infantile mentally. They just refuse to be accountable for their lives and actions and yet expect everything to fall in place. This mentality is wrong and is a major pointer that the affected person may have a grim life hereafter.

Much of what we experience today, and the present state of our lives are as a result of the choices we made in the past, or worse still, our refusal to actively make choices. Life shouldnt be viewed as a stormy night at sea where the wind blows the ship just anywhere it chooses. True, unforseen contingencies do occur; but the chances of such eventualities making major changes in your life is influenced by your decisions, responsibilities, and actions in the past. You shouldnt be a victim of circumstance but a product of well thought out and properly executed goals.

Perceive life as a vessel at sea and yourself as the captain, and that ship will sail wheresoever you steer it despite how stormy the weather may be during your voyage. Every human being is well equipped naturally to actively live a happy life if he or she chooses to. As the notable quote says “you were given this life, because you were strong enough to live it”. If eventually you find yourself living an unfulfilled life which you supposedly didnt bargain for, it is sometimes your fault.

The future belongs to those who will take charge and be responsible for their present in order to attain whatever they so desire later. Life isnt as difficult as it appears to be. It becomes unlivable when we fail to obey the rules by which its game is played. If you dont direct it, it would direct itself, and when the latter occurs, the results are hardly desirable. By the time we realize our mistake, it may be too late, and we spend the remainder of our years in regret, wishing we had done things differently.

What do you want out of life? What future do you envisage? Is that future acheiveable? Is anyone living that kind of life currently? If yes, what did they do in their past to attain their present? What can you do now to become that future? Are you currently on that path? Should changes be made? Should you start all over? You have the chance now to correct mistakes and redirect your movement to a desired future. Quit the games. Quit the child like behaviours. Grow up. What we sow now is definitely what we would reap eventually, that the universe may be balanced.

Begin to get serious with those things that would build your future. Acquire academic degrees.  Acquire skills. Read wide. Interact with the right people. Keep social activities and self gratification to a reasonable level. Be serious about your health: eat right, work out, stay away from harmful substances. Learn from the masters. Be responsible. Act quickly as time moves fast, for one day you could awaken and discover that the game is over and you lost. It is possible to have the lives we want, but we must actively create it, and that process has to start now. Take responsiblity.

“You must take personal responsibilty. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of.”– Jim Rohn.

Roland Asiwe

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My University Clearance experience

Seven years ago…..I sat staring intently at the computer monitor screen. The delay was killing me. Well I had made up my mind to accept whatever was displayed on the screen.I had tried my best in the PUME examinations. Besides I was no Eistein so failure was a possibility. The portal page just refused to open and my ticket time was running out. I was already nursing the idea of visiting another browsing cafe across the street when I saw it. Finally I had gained admission to study medicine.

Shockingly I wasn’t as excited as I expected. Maybe the sudden realisation of how long I would have to spend as a student or the financial and physical strain that the clearance process will cause me doused the thrill. I went home to announce the good news, and of course my parents reacted the typical Nigerian way: loudly offering oblations to God in such a way that made the whole street become aware of what had happened. The clearance exercise was just two weeks away so I had to get all my documents ready along with massive prayers that money would be available by that time as I knew my parents’ excitement didn’t translate to naira notes.

I packed my bags and got to Benin in no time, settled into the hostel room provided and prepared my mind for the stress that would greet me the next day.The crowd I saw the next morning at the venue for the clearance was astonishing. All these people gained admission? What was disturbing about the whole thing was the idea of clearing all admitted students in one venue. Was the person in charge suffering from Alzheimers disease or contesting for Moronic idols? I decided to locate the queue for medicine intakes. It wasn’t hard to spot. It was full of nerdy looking boys and girls all dressed in cooperate wear. I hurriedly joined the queue.

I closely studied all the people on this queue. They all looked like little Isaac Newtons, with this aura of pride and arrogance enveloping them. While some kept mute, others chatted away as if they had lost control of their oral cavities. There was this guy who kept speaking loudly and spraying saliva maybe to help bathe those who didn’t that morning.We stood on that queue for close to three hours with no one attending to us. I was already getting restless, the sun was already in its full strength, and I was really hungry. I decided to inform the guy in front of me to maintain my space and go get something to eat. Then I saw him. He was slim, elderly and was dressed in a grey suit. He came to us and quietly inspected us. Then he informed us that we were all improperly dressed and that we were to leave and return the next day. Shuo! After three hours of standing under this hot sun? So this was our clearance officer? We were in for it.

I returned to the queue the next day, and the day after that, and the day after that. He seemed to clear only five persons per day. A trip to Antarctica on foot would have been faster. After what seemed like a century, my turn finally came. Everyone who had already been cleared came back with unpleasant accounts. There was the tale of a girl who was denied clearance for whatever reasons and she burst into uncontrollable tears while her friends turned the hall into a mini Holyghost service. I determined to be of good behaviour, present all the necessary documents and record no evil report.

I got to the table, faced him and waited for his instructions. He just stared me in the face. Dead silence. “Are you mad?” He asked with an expressionless face. “Sir?” I asked. I was already confused. Was I not supposed to wait for instructions so as not to be seen as being too forward? He should commend me for my ‘humility’. “Get out!” He screamed. Now he had an angry mien.There was a young lady sitting beside him supposedly acting as his assistant. She quickly motioned to me to bring out all my documents. “Seperate the originals from the photocopies” she instructed. I did all that, arranged everything neatly on the table.

He proceeded to enter my details on his laptop,then clicked and clicked and clicked. It appeared as if he was enjoying the click sound of the mouse as he just clicked away. After what looked like forever, he pushed a sheet of paper to me and continued clicking. I’m not a dull guy. I’m very sure the appropraite centres in my brain are functioning just properly. Therefore I presumed he wanted me to sign the column for student signature and pass it back to him to sign his, which I confidently did. It appeared as if I had just killed a literal sacred cow. He screamed at the top of his voice “Get out. Who told you to sign? You want to clear yourself abi? Go and write JAMB again. We don’t need morons like you in medicine!” Na wa o. Which old witch in my village was doing this to me? After all the testimonies my mother had countlessly given about my admission, only for me to call them and say I had lost it because I signed something.

I began to beg him in the name of God, Jesus, angels. I wish I knew his religion. The assitant also joined me. The man just felt like a demi god. We managed to appease him, so he asked me to wait outside the hall and return in an hour, which I did and I was cleared.That day remains indelible in my mind like a tattoo on a caucasian skin. Little did I know that this experience was just a tip of the iceberg of what I would experience in medical school….

My Amoretto

Why do I keep doing this?
Allowing you drain out all my bliss
This isnt fair
Why dont you care?

I’m seated deep in thought
The mind battles I have fought
Each time I look at you
Like a diamond so true

Your smile
Your scent
Your eyes
Your gait

When will you look at me
And say I am all that you see
Just as you brighten up my day
Whenever you come my way

Reality isnt friendly
Treats me not gently
Makes me aware daily
You’re what I cannot have mainly

I choose to let you go
An arduous task I know
But I will keep hoping
One day you’d come knocking
My Amoretto.
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