Thursday, December 31, 2009


“Hey, did you watch the news?” father asked me

“No, what’s up, dad”

“Did you see Goodluck wearing a kaftan, he looked so Hausa.” Father exclaimed.

“That’s what I’ve been telling you about packaging, father said.

Okay, father, I get the message.

The way you package yourself goes a long way to creating the image of you in the mind of others, father told me.

“Dress the way you want to be addressed, says the popular quote. Now, it’s more about packaging. Image is something, but not everything. Just like beauty is vain without character and riches hollow without integrity; while packaging is still important. I must remind you that content is still king,” he said.

Wow, I have never heard it like that before. So many thoughts and ideas began to race through my mind like speed cars in a Formula One Grand prix.

I wondered how the two Brits, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, felt about each other, now that Jenson Button has signed a new contract with Hamilton’s Renault team; nationals but competitive rivals on the same F1 team. What was Renault bosses thinking? Are they trying to fashion a Chelsea or Man City out of the Renault team in F1? By the way, Button was recently knighted by the Queen. Hmnn, Sir Jenson.

But, at the moment, one ‘dame’ speeds away for my thoughts' top prize. It’s Edna on my mind.

“Before you say anything more, there is something I need to tell you,” Edna had told me the last time I called her. I wanted us to fix an appointment. I didn’t just want to take her out. I wanted to catch her by surprise with my decision.

Now, I might have to reschedule the surprise with this sneak she just chipped in.

“Can’t you just tell me on phone?” I cajoled.

“No, it’s something I need to tell you face to face,”

She had stressed the need so much that it had got my pulse racing faster than any Braun GP or Renault car could ever do in five seconds. Whatever does she have to say that couldn’t just be said on phone? So many thoughts and ideas were racing through my mind. And this was not about winning a Formula 1 grand prix.

I just wondered.

We have so much history together, but can I handle her past, if it turns out to be what I never imagined or expected?

‘Content’ is still king, I had to remind myself.

“Happy New Year in advance,” was the first thing she said to me when we later met. We hugged and she, finally, revealed the contents of her heart to me. Well, so much for image.

And so it was; yesterday ended at the break of today.

…New Year. New beginnings.


Friday, December 25, 2009


We love.
We hate.
We laugh.
We cry.

We bug.
We date.
We bark.
We bite.

We chop.
We play.
We clap.
We fly.

But, whatever u do this season;
Let this infuse your mind, body, soul and spirit:
People make the world go round,
But LOVE makes the trip worthwhile.

Thank God for the Birth of Christ,
If not, living might just have been
A complete waste of time,
And mankind would have been
Nonentity in the face of eternity.

The 'first' word
Is still... LOVE...

Let the world be a better place
Because you pass thro it.
Remember 'His Amazing Grace...'
Have a Merry Christmas
And a glorious New Year!

Monday, December 21, 2009


Driven by the need to give back to the society, Nigerians, including celebrities, turn out en masse to give Mushin, a densely populated suburb of Lagos, a facelift.

Wande Coal, arguably Nigeria’s hottest R & B sensation at the moment, grew up in Mushin, a densely populated community in the heart of Lagos. But, unlike his bestselling album, Mushin 2 MoHits, Mushin has a general perception of environmental and infrastructural neglect that plays like a broken record.

But, on Saturday, December 12, 2009, the area was not only given a celebrity status, but also a facelift, on the back of a community project tagged the Mushin Makeover, a one-day exercise that involved painting of residential houses, schools, road side curbs and structures along seven strategic areas in Mushin - Agege Motor Road, Olateju, Olanibi/Ojekunle, Ladipo street, Isolo Road, Palm Avenue and Ogunmokun Road. According to the project initiator, Fela Durotoye, renowned motivational speaker and CEO of Visible Impact, it was a call from God to do something for the community; while emphasizing that MUSHIN represents a place for Making Unique Stars and Heroes In Nigeria. Thousands of volunteers from different walks of life, which included hundreds of professional painters and celebrities such as Ali Baba, Sound Sultan, Banky W, Djinee, TY Bello, Frank Edoho, joined hands with Durotoye and his team for an eight-hour non-stop work to paint the selected locations. “I hope our leaders can also do this in other parts. It would make the country better,” said Sukanmi Ajah, one of the volunteers who has lived in Mushin for over twenty years. The so called ‘area boys’, with a fearsome notoriety, were also on hand to volunteer their time and effort.

Abimbola Fashola, wife of the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, commended the initiative and noted that the state government is already working hard to continue making the positive changes in Lagos state as a whole. “If we are asking for change so we need to make that change by ourselves,” she said; as she kick-started the initiative with a symbolic stroke of paint on the entrance of the first house to be painted that day, picked because of its historical significance. Located on Agege Motor Road, it was built in 1960, the year of Nigeria’s independence. “We welcome what you people are doing and we really appreciate it,” said Mabel Modupe Amadasum, whose father built the house.

It also proved a good week of business for paint shops in the community who were patronized by many volunteers. “With the rate we are going, we should have used possibly five to ten thousand gallons of paints by the end of the day,” said Durotoye of material donations from individuals as well as corporate organizations such as Berger Paints, DN Meyer Paints, Stanbic IBTC Chartered Bank, Fidelity Bank. “If we had bought everything on our own, the total estimate may have been N61 million,” he noted.

Dulux (CAP Plc) donated 98 drums of Emulsion, 26 gallons of gloss, FREE. 300 drums of paint was bought from Berger Paints, which also supported by training twenty five unemployed Mushin youths and giving them certificates. Stanbic IBTC also paid N2, 500 to each painter - 30 painters on the first day, 100 painters for three days and 120 painters on Saturday. From figures made available by the Visible Impact team, more than two thousand volunteers (including celebrities) participated in the exercise; which saw over two hundred and ninety one houses painted.

“This shows that simple things like getting involved in the community can go a long way and that people can come together for a good cause,” says Okechukwu Okoro, a mechanical engineering graduate of Michigan State University, USA, who is currently undertaking the mandatory one-year National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme. He, together with hundreds of other corps members from Mushin local government, participated in the exercise.

“It is just an iota of what can be done,” noted Kennis Saint-Brown, popular gospel music artiste; inferring that Mushin, as the most central part of Lagos, might just be a microcosm of Nigeria, needing not only a fresh coat of paint, but a pool of willing hands to give it a long, overdue facelift. For a tenant in one of the houses being painted, the project couldn’t have come at a better time. ‘There have been disagreements among tenants and landlords over renovation work before now,” he said. “This shows that change lies in us, if we don’t do it, nothing will be done,” noted Wale Salami, another volunteer painter.

For Durotoye, the project is a call for national action. “We are hoping that this particular project would kick off several other nation-building projects into action, we can’t solve all of Nigeria’s problems in one day. The whole essence of this project is to get individuals to believe that their contributions or effort can come into a bigger collective action to make a difference,” he said, while adding that there are plans to undertake such facelifts in other parts of the city in the near future. “Mushin is a catalyst,” he emphasized.

With eight hour non-stop efforts of a thousand plus volunteers, the Mushin Makeover project might have just started a ripple effect, not only a Lagos but across Nigeria.


Sunday, December 20, 2009


Fellow Nigerians, ladies and gentlemen; after careful consideration from our distinguished, indefatigable panel of judges – me, myself and I; we have safely arrived at the names of the four leading contenders for Royal Rumble Nigeria Man of the Year 2009.

After a grueling contest that lasted for 12 solid rounds of impact, these are the chosen fantastic four (suggestions are welcome).

(Suspense music Interlude…Gan! Gan! the normal Nollywood movie sound)


He exploded into the scene like a hurricane (or maybe a tsunami), and with one massive earth shaking swoop, he swept off five powerful Nigerian bank CEOs, including one that had once been named the CEO’s CEO, from their number one, hitherto untouchable positions. Measuring on a Richter scale of 8.5, Hurricane Sanusi reverberated not only in the 25 banking halls, but also in the hallowed vaults of Nigeria’s richest men and business magnates. The tremors are still felt everywhere in Nigeria’s economy. It took many months for the shock to subside in the banking sector, and maybe longer for the tremors to disappear from giving out loans to big, medium and small scale clients. Some say the impact of Sanusi is a good thing for the economy, especially on this road to recovery from the global financial meltdown. For delivering a financial uppercut to banking mafia, LAMIDO 'HURRICANE' SANUSI makes our cut.

(Wild cheers and jeers from the crowd in the jam packed arena)

Contender Number 2…DIE HARD (Part 1, 2, and 3) A-MOOOOOOOO-DUUU!!!

He ‘wumbled and fumbled’ throughout the duration of the qualifier matches for FIFA 2010 World Cup in South Africa, but he still delivered the massive knockout out punch to the dreaded Carthage Eagles from Tunisia with a last minute swerve of timbre, steel and Yaklibre. For most of the rounds, he was written off by many Nigerians as no good for the job, that he couldn’t deliver the ticket….

(He! He! He! But who’s laughing now, the coach at Amodu’s corner sneers)

For literally snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, qualification from the tentacles of world cup elimination, for being resilient and getting results in the face of criticism, for making one hundred and forty million Nigerians happy, for making his fellow home grown local coaches proud…

(You better win the Nations’ Cup, o, Amodu, or else….someone threatened from the VIP corner)

….For qualifying Supper Eagles to South Africa 2010 against all odds, SHAIBU 'DIE-HARD' AMODU qualifies for our final nod.

(We don win o! We don win!.. Amodu’s fan club at the stands sings rapturously)


For many years, he was the lone voice crying in Nigeria’s wilderness, until the cold hands of death snatched him away from mother earth. Gani…oh Gani…..(the announcer sobs, blows his nose into the microphone and wipes a tear. There is silence in the packed arena, in one stroke of bizarre, the whole arena goes on a one minute silence for the late legal luminary)

(Please tell that olofofo presenter to get on with the show, or else we lose our commercial time slots! barked one of the guys at the advertisement corner. Suddenly, someone gets into the rings and motions the announcer to continue)

…the whole nation mourned when he passed onto eternal glory. No Nigerian president, dead or alive, has ever provoked such heartfelt emotions from Nigerians, regardless of tribe and race. He survived the military mafia and its Godfathers, even the feared Don Abachaleone. Gani singlehandedly took on the military and civilian establishments and pummeled them to concede for the sake of Nigerians. For being the dogged fighter for the masses, for being selfless and a true patriot to the end, the IRREPLACEABLE GANI gets our nod.

(The whole arena erupts in a crescendo of applause; our unseen mics could even pick out the ones coming from the viewers watching at home, seriously)


She swerves the national ring like a Mohammed Ali, she delivers uppercuts to fake drug merchants like a Mike Tyson, she has a sugar punch like Sugar Ray Leonard. By sheer willpower and infectious zeal to ‘rebrand’ the battered image of the country, Dora singlehandedly turned rebranding into a national circus. And with one ferocious jab, she delivers a technical knockout to Sony and their PS3 advertisement off the commercial space that they were literally begging on their knees when they came to Nigeria to issue an apology….

(I’m not sure that Mama Dora has seen Matt Damon’s The Informant, all the fire from rebranding drive would have been let loose, one fan whispered to another)

(Announcer continues)….For giving us a Good People, Great Nation tag, rebranded image, for making Nigerians and the world see and know that Nigerians are really good people, despite the yahoo-yahoo boys, their cronies and the corruption in high places, for giving Nigeria a rebranded image in the eyes of the world, through the power of the media, for giving ‘rebranding’ a new swagger, for the ongoing rebranding project that would not be forgotten by posterity ….

(Finish the announcement, you rebranding sh…t, one angry fan, obviously not on Dora’s corner, shouted)

…And so we present to you….the iron lady of the Federal executive council, D-O-R-A ‘REBRANDING FIRE-BRAND’ A-K-U-N-Y-I-L-I, as our fourth contender for the title.

(Can you please just rebrand PHCN, minimum wage, Nigerian Police Force, Refineries, roads, infrastructure, education… another yelled from the stands)

(Shut up, mr olofofo, rebranding has to start from somewhere, whether you like it or not, Dora’s staff shouted from her corner. Dora smiles off the camera) (Somewhere at the stands, a heated argument broke out)

...And now for the big moment you all have been waiting for. Fellow Nigerians, LADIES AND GENTLEMENT, the stage is now set for the Royal Rumble in the Nigerian Jungle 3. We now present to you the Undisputed King of the Ring, Nigeria’s Man of the Year 2009…the one and only….

(Just then, electrical power went off and the whole arena was thrown into darkness…)

(N-E-P-A!!! THE crowd screamed in disappointment).

(Backstage: Oh no, not PHCN again! This broadcast is being beamed live on satellite, man! For Rebranding’s sake, put on the generators Yabaruwa!

(There is no fuel sir).

Then, import it, damnit!)

(Meanwhile, there is an announcement from the JIT, the national broadcaster of the big event.

...Viewers, we are sorry for the break in transmission, it is due to power failure. But we can unequivocally tell you that nationwide and worldwide voting has already begun. And for any contender that has not been mentioned here, please you can send in your nominations and the organizers will consider him or her as a wild card entry. For now, we have to go on a commercial break. As soon as PHCN restores electricity and we receive signal, we would continue with our live transmission. Thank you).

Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria


Monday, December 7, 2009


With his new self-titled album, Djinee finally 'un-bottled' himself, after a necessary period of musical hibernation.

When Ego, his hit single, rocked the airwaves in 2007, it seemed that the singer was on his way to instant fame, but his seeming refusal to release a full-length album gave his fans worries. Well, Djinee’s self-titled album has been out for some time now. And it does sound like it was worth the wait after all.

In the 17-track album, Djinee stays true to his voice and his preferred sound, soul; but he reveals deep emotions — love, passion, pain, pleasure, anger — which thrust him up as one of Nigeria’s finest male vocalists. He hugs the listener with tracks like My Pillow, and tears away with others like Overkillin’ as he experimented with different genres (highlife, rock, pop, classical, calypso, opera), getting away with most. Djinee’s voice is distinct, as he evinces on the upbeat likely chart-buster, Overkillin’, where one might initially mistake the vocals for somebody else’s. Niger Delta Blues could have well been the title of that track. In Uruese, meaning "Thank You”, delivered in the Esan language of Edo Sate, he goes traditional with a modern twist.

His other hit singles, Lade and I No Dey Shame also stand out. But, surprisingly, he only does a skit of his claim to fame, Ego, in track six (sure most of his fans might have preferred him doing the full tracker on that one). Track nine, Na My Wife, is likely to become another wedding anthem in the mould of Oruka by Sunny Neji.

With heavyweight collaborations, Dijnee gives his voice free rein in most of the tracks such as Come Rain, Come Shine (featuring Ego) and Thank You, although this and a couple of tracks came off like he was trying to outdo himself vocally. But he generally pulls off a great performance that is full of energy and dexterity. With thought-provoking lyrics, soulful sounds mixed with up-tempo beats, maybe, The Album by Djinee shows an artiste finally comfortable with his musical powers


Sunday, December 6, 2009


Kev-olution. Or is it the Big Brother Africa 4, Revolution?

Well, I am not exactly a fan of Big Brother Africa. But for the sake of information, it's worth mentioning that a Nigerian, Kevin, walked away with the $200,000 prize at the grand finale of the 2009 Big Brother Africa Revolution, which ended tonight in South Africa.

'Swagger pass Swagger', said the inscription on the T-shirt Kevin's father wore at the finale. While D-Banj, 'you don make me fall in love' played in the background as Kevin came out of the house to be officially named winner of Big Brother Africa (Revolution) 2009, presented by a Nigerian, IK Osakodiuwa.

Congratulations, Kevin. He sure represented 'Naija' very well. Of course, more fame, fortune and endorsement deals should follow for the entertaining young man when he gets back to Naija base.

"JOStified"...hmnn, I like that coinage.

And Bow Wow also put up a wow performance at the show finale.

Check out all the news at

Friday, December 4, 2009


‘De ja vu’ was written all over Group B as Nigeria is to play against Argentina, Greece and South Korea in South Africa 2010 World Cup, just like it was in USA 1994 World Cup. The only difference is South Korea. Bulgaria was the other team in the same group with Nigeria, Argentina and Greece.

It looks tough with Argentina (two-time World Cup champions), Greece (2004 European champions) and South Korea (2002 World Cup semi-finalist). But, maybe, just maybe, if the Super Eagles get their acts right, they could qualify from this group.

Trust the English press. They have already labelled England's grouping with USA, Slovenia and Algeria as a 'dream draw'. Well, on paper, Capello's men look like they would walk through Group C into the second round.

Ah oh, South Africa, not only would they face two Latin American countries (Mexico and Uruguay) they have to face 1998 World Cup champions, France, Thierry Henry, and probably another 'Le Hand'. They should seek consultations from Diouf and his Senegal bunch from 1998.

At least they are not in the Group of death containing Brazil, Portugal, Cote D’Ivoire and Korea DPR. Imagine Cristiano Ronaldo versus his Real Madrid teammate Kaka, and Drogba-Kalou versus Alex- Belleti or Deco-Bosingwa.

Final Draw for FIFA 2010 World Cup: South Africa 2010
Group A South Africa, Mexico, Uruguay,France
Group B Argentina, Nigeria, South Korea, Greece
Group C England, USA, Algeria, Slovenia
Group D Germany, Australia, Serbia, Ghana
Group E Holland, Denmark, Japan, Cameroon
Group F Italy, Paraguay, New Zealand, Slovakia
Group GBrazil, Korea DPR, Ivory Coast, Portugal
Group H Spain, Switzerland, Honduras, Chile

Thursday, December 3, 2009


While most of the other countries are already putting finishing touches towards preparations for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations, which holds between January 10 and 31, 2010 in Angola; the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, seem more preoccupied with finding a replacement for Super Eagles coach, Shaibu Amodu, ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, slated for June of that same year. For the Nations’ Cup, now known as the Orange Africa Cup of Nations for sponsorship reasons, the Super Eagles of Nigeria have been drawn in Group C, alongside defending champions, Egypt, Benin and Mozambique.

Although recent reports have it that the NFF have given Amodu a breather to continue his job unhindered; if recent history is anything to go by, the extension of his contract as Super Eagles’ coach might largely depend on the team’s performance at the Nations’ Cup.

“It may depend on how he performs at the Nations’ Cup in Angola,” said Toyin Ibitoye, a sports analyst on Amodu’s chances of continuing his job after January, 2010.

Despite qualifying the Eagles for the World Cup for the second time in his career, Amodu’s reign has come under the knife. In 2001, Amodu was at the helms when Nigeria qualified for the 2002 World Cup in Korea/Japan, but he was sacked midway after the Eagles finished third at the 2002 Africa Cup of Nations in Mali. Eventually, Adegboye Onigbinde was brought in to replace him.

This time however, heavyweight names such as Russia’s coach, Guus Hiddink, and former Germany’s coach, Jurgen Klinsmann, had been bandied about as potential candidates for Amodu. Although Amodu seem to have received the blessing of the football house, it would take more than that to ensure a good outing for his team. “If we win the Nations’ Cup, it would be a surprise,” said Ibitoye. The Eagles, he noted, are not exactly “champions’ stuff” at the moment.

However, he noted that, “The Nations cup is a very open competition. It could be anybody’s game, depending on how well you prepare,” he said. Calls for Amodu’s replacement have already created some form of distraction towards a hitch-free preparation for the tournament.

But, just like they did with a last day dramatic qualification for the 2010 World Cup, Amodu and his team might have other tricks up their sleeves.

Nigeria’s most recent success at both the World Cup and the Nation’s Cup came under a foreign coach - Dutchman, Clemens Westerhof - who led the Eagles to win the 1994 Africa Nations’ Cup and an impressive second round finish in their debut World Cup showing later that same year. If given the chance and maximum support by the football authorities, could Amodu match or surpass that record?

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Myles Munroe is certainly a man that loves Nigeria with a passion. Widely trravelled and respected globally, Munroe has visited the country many times to inspire and motivate Nigerians with sound teachings based on biblical and basic success principles. Here is an interview with him, although brief, I hope it inspires you to make a positive difference wherever you are. No wonder, the great Mahatma Gandhi said, let us be the change that we seek in the world.  Stay focused and Inspired!
Q: What would be your first advice to President Umaru Yar Adua if you were to see him, as an expert on leadership matters?
Munroe: My first advice to the leader of any country is to define his value of people. How important are the people to him because his value of the people determines how he treats them
Q: We have so many churches in the country, and you talked about God not being a God of religion. What exactly seem to be the problem that despite the number of churches, things have not changed much in the country. Is it a problem of the religious leaders not being able to pass the message, or that of orientation of the people, or hypocrisy?
Munroe: It’s probably a little bit of all of those. There is no way to define it, because it’s complex.
Q: So, how can we reduce or bridge the gap between the 1st world and the 3rd world countries?
Munroe: For us to believe that we don’t need the 1st world countries to become successful, that the secret of our success is in our own countries.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Super Eagles, What Next?

Finally, after many months of football attrition, all the thirty two teams for South 2010 FIFA World Cup are known. There were many unforgettable moments. How Egypt succumbed to their North African neighbours, Algeria, in a classic Arab football war in Sudan. How Guus Hiddink couldn’t save his Russian team from elimination by Slovenia. How Andriy Shevchencko, one of the world’s finest players ever, was reduced to tears after Ukraine lost out to a steely defensive Greece. How Thierry Henry’s ‘hand of God’ assist would continue to haunt the Irish for years to come. But despite the controversies and high moments, for countries such as Egypt, Russia, Ukraine, the 2010 world cup dream is over.

For Nigeria and the Super Eagles players, the dream has just begun.

After snatching qualification from the jaws of elimination, the Super Eagles left their great escape for the dying moments of their final match against Kenya. If Tunisia had won against Mozambique, it wouldn’t have mattered. But thank goodness, the ‘Black Mambas’ did Nigerians everywhere a huge favour.

Far away from the country then, I didn’t get to watch the Nigeria-Kenya match. I was at Brandenburg Gate when the call came in and excitedly informed me about Nigeria’s qualification. “We have qualified for the world cup,”. Great! I relayed the message to my friend as well. “Really, wow, that’s great,” he said. The Super Eagles qualification was a huge relief for many Nigerian football fans. (Let’s not even talk about the Golden Eaglets).

Expectedly, the talk of hiring a foreign technical adviser for the Super Eagles has resurfaced. As usual, heavyweight names such as Guus Hiddink and Jurgen Klinsmann have been bandied about as probables. Hmmn. Maybe they should give Shaibu Amodu a chance this time. Or what do you think?

Anyways, for managing to qualify for South Africa 2010 World Cup, Nigeria, we hail thee. What happens next would also count.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Money dey yab the common man.
E dey bi like pepper for yansh
Gari don cost
She na sansa
Na im poor man go chop?

Gofment say dem wan Deregulate
Shay dem want make the masses Precipitate?
Relocate and parambulate?

Naija pikin wey sabi oyinbo
Go talk say
Di masses are shuffering,
but di tori for di matter be say
no be we all dey go for mass
for insai church
abi, na efiribodi be catholic?

those days, Dem say uncle Sege get church
For insai di Aso villa,
She hin don become pastor now?
Abeg, make our SINators
And house of representakeTIFs
Helep mi ask am
Make hin do beta prayer
For dis we contri too o!

Cos, e bi lai say our sins
For dis obodo naija
Don too plenty
Maybe dat is why we de suffer
Gofment suppose import agric bees
Come dis contri
So dat e go dey flow
Wit milk and honey.
We kuku ma get cow boku
For we north sef,
Abi dem don start to import am too?

Na only shit I no say
Wi pipo no dey import
Our contri is full of shit, man!
Which way, Nigeria?
I remember say Sonny sing dat wan
But, she hin no know say
All of we road do spoil finish?
Make we kuku use ahroplane, abi?

But, na efiri day our gofment pipo
Dey mess (for) up!
Na how we go come do am now?
Abeg, me ah don tire for dis Naija sef!

© Arukaino Umukoro

Monday, November 2, 2009


Father had told me years ago when I was about to enter the university that I should be driven by my convictions and not my fears.

“….How many times did I call you,” father asked after I finished packing my travelling bags for the day’s journey, with the help of mum, of course.

“Three times, father,” I answered, counting. He sat on the chair in my room. When father sits down in that position, it is the signal that you are in for a long talk. Oh, not again, mum just finished having one with me.

“Remember where you come from,” father started

“Yes, father,”

“Remember that honesty is always the best policy and the patient dog eats the fattest bone,”

“Yes father…but not in this Naija anymore,” I could dare interrupt father when he wants to show he’s proud of me, I think. Passing JAMB is a big deal nowadays, you know.

“Oh, I see. So, what is the new policy for your generation now,” father asked amusedly.

“Your bank account is the best policy and the smartest dog eats the fattest bone. Ask our politicians,” I said, grinning.

Father smiled. “So, you want to be a crooked politician in your crooked student union government?” he asked.

“C’mon father. You know I hate politics,”

“So, why the reference?”

“Sorry, just stating the obvious,” I said apologetically. But, father should know the trends of events in this country nowadays. Our politicians don’t steal in millions anymore, they steal in billions and stash ill-gotten wealth for themselves and fifteen generations after them.

“Son, let’s be clear on this. I have tried my best to bring you up on the right principles and guide you in the right path. I would be highly disappointed in you if you change your in-bred high standards overnight in university. That’s the reason for this discussion,” father said as a matter of fact.

“Yes, I understand father,”

“Remember that no matter how far lie goes, truth would always catch up with it one day,”

“Yes, father,”

“I want you to always be truthful to God and yourself,”

“Yes, father,”

“Your integrity is priceless. There is no asking price,”

“Yes, father,”

“Hold fast to God and the right principles I have taught you over the years,”

“Yes, father,”

Father went on to talk about the consequences of cultism, rising above negative peer pressure, , keeping company with the right kind of friends, knowing who my real friends are, dating and relationships vis-à-vis concentrating on my studies, striving for excellence in all of my endeavours ….” Well, it lasted for an hour.

“Choose your friends wisely,” he continued. I remember him quoting these same lines to me when I turned ten. Father, in his fatherly self, had discussed some of these topics with me when I was much younger. But one of his golden principles is that learning is a continuous process. And as a student matures, the issues also mature. So, the teacher has to devise new and innovative methods of re-introducing the subjects to the student.

“That is why you still learn the fundamentals of BODMAS in your junior secondary school modified as equations and algebra,’ father had said then. The largest room in the world is the room for improvement, he always said. When you hear a thing twice or more, it becomes part of your psyche.

And Father knew many innovative ways on reinforcing timeless truths and principles to us, his (students) children. Every lesson with father, no matter how many times you have heard them, is always a new experience. Frankly speaking, although at times, it could drag endlessly, but father was a master at giving pep talks.

“I want you to know that we all love you very much and know that you would certainly do us proud wherever you are,” father continued.

“Yes, father,” Now he wants to make me cry.

“I believe in you….,”

I hugged him then. “Don’t worry father. I know. And I would never let you down. I promise.”


Wednesday, October 21, 2009


I picked up the phone at the second ring. “Hey, brotherman! How the go dey go now?” said the voice on the other line. As far as I knew, there were only two persons in the world that used the term brotherman when referring to each other; me and Toyin, my long lost friend.

“Toyin baba!” The realization hit me almost immediately.

“Yeah,” Toyin laughed in that deep-throated way only he knew how to. “The one and only. Long time no see, man. How have you been?”

The last time Kayode and I saw was three years ago, just a few months after we finished our NYSC.

“So, what’s new, brotherman?” I asked him that unexpected parting weekend.

“Man, I think I have to get back to the North,” Toyin replied.


“I miss that place. Man, it was fun during service, wasn’t it? He reminisced.

“It sure was,” I replied. And put one and two together. “This is all about Rekiya, right?” I asked him.
“Yes. I miss her so much that it hurts.” He had been broaching the issue of relocating to the North for weeks. But I had passed it off as a joke. Toyin had lived all his life in the South. Why move up North all because you discovered you ‘unbelievably gelled’ (according to Toyin) with someone you only met during your service year?

“But, you guys talk on the phone every other day”

“It’s not enough. I have to bring her down to Lagos with me, body and soul,” he said.

That was the last I heard of him, until his phone call today raised a lot of questions why time flew so fast.

“I just breezed into town some hours ago. There is a lot to catch up on. How about a drink on Friday?” he asked.

“Man, you’ve not changed,” I laughed. Toyin had a reputation for always being business like with his conversations. ‘My first question is, where have you been all these years that we couldn’t reach you?”

“Venus,” he chuckled. “We would also talk about that when we see. I promise, okay.”

“Okay o, anyhow you want it. But, it’s so good to hear your voice again,’ I said.

“Same here, brotherman, same here.” He replied. There was a pause. And a thousand memories flashed through in three seconds. After a little banter, we agreed to hook up over the weekend.

As I drove home, father’s words about keeping in touch with your friends kept ringing in my head. Michael Jackson, the king of Pop, has passed on a few days earlier. Father had always idolized him for what he called his passion and creativity. How MJ singlehandedly wanted to make the world a better place but was let down by his friends.

“No one was really there for MJ to still his troubled soul,” father said about him. And he berated some
particular persons who came out in public to eulogize MJ to high heavens as being their best friend.

“Those guys are leeches,” father fumed. “They rode with MJ when he was on top of the world only to leave him on the ground.” Father continued, “Your best friend should be one who would stick with you through and through,” father said. ‘He would be your ally in the face of enmity, your truth in the midst of lies. He would criticize you and praise you when it calls for either. He is your best critic and admirer.” For father, MJ’s so called best friends were none of these.

“You are saying these because MJ was your idol,” I argued. “C’mon, MJ had personal insecurities he couldn’t deal with as well. Don’t just blame his friends for his untimely death.”

“But, how come they all deserted him during his trying times?” father retorted. “Surely there was something they could have done” he said in a question-statement manner.

Suddenly it hit me that I never bothered to find out what happened to Toyin after we lost contact. God, I hope everything has been okay with him all these years, I prayed silently.

“No matter how hard we try to be sometimes. Truth is, everybody needs a friend, a real friend, somewhere, somehow,” father’s words rang in my ear as I pulled into my neighbourhood. “Keep in touch” were Toyin’s last words to me when he left then. Why didn’t he do same? I wondered. Whatever happened to friendship without conditions? My conscience replied me.


Sunday, October 11, 2009


But, what did you expect at the 2009 MTV Africa Music Awards, MAMA? It was conceived to be Africa’s own Grammy awards to honour African artistes and not an African-American show. So, it was fitting that, despite being nominated with global Hip-Hop heavyweights such as Kanye West and Jay Z, M.I won the best Hip-Hop Act at the 2009 edition of MAMA. Incidentally, one of M.I’s musical dreams is to perform a duet with Kanye West on the same stage. Maybe that is the signal.

However, it does not take away the fact that M.I truly deserved it. With the prevalence of rhythmic jibes against one another, M.I’s entrance into the Nigerian Rap/ Hip-Hop music scene was welcomed as a breath of fresh air. Moreso, he came on stage with even more creative punch lines and intelligent lyrics that kept most listeners thinking deep after his music was done. Mr. Incredible aka M.I certainly chose his stage name well. M.I truly represents what RAP music should be: Rhythms And Poetry. Undiluted. Uncorrupted. Original. Beautiful Poetry in motion.

But, M.I was not done yet. He also took home the Best New Act award. Congratulations M.I! The world is your stage. Keep the music playing.

Oh, by the way, Wyclef Jean was there with Akon! Wyclef also paid tribute to late South African reggae star, Lucky Dube, who was honoured with a post humous award, the (newly introduced) MAMA's Hip-hop Legend Awards.

2009 MTV Africa Music Awards: List of winners

1. Best New Act – M.I.
2. Best Hip-Hop Act – M.I.

3. Best Listener’s Choice Awards – Nameless
4. Best Group – P Square
5. Best Female – Amani
6. Best Performer – Samini
7. Best Male – Nameless
8. Best RnB Act – 2Face
9. Best Alternative – Zebra & Giraffee
10. Best Video – HHP
11. Artist of the Year – D’Banj

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Edna and I have been going out, officially, for three years now. But before then, we have been an item for… like forever. Well, since our university days, that is. Before I was finally ‘convinced’ to get my own mobile phone, I used the land line at home as my contact phone. Since my folks were not always at home, I gave father’s number out as well, but only to a few friends – the ones I could really trust. Of course, Edna was one. She always called home, at weekends, whenever we were on holidays or ASUU was on strike.

Those days, there was a running joke in my house. I could always hide the identity of my other ‘girl friends’ from the rest of the house whenever anyone of them calls. But, if it was Edna on the line, my emotions always gave me out. “Edna!” I always answered her call with the excitement of a besotted toddler. So, the joke was, whenever the phone rings for me, everybody in the house goes “…Edna!” Or sometimes, when they want to be mischievous, they just scream “Edna!” to my face, for no reason at all. Most times, I made a face back, especially if it was my sisters that were the pranksters. But I relished it silently. Everybody in my family had always known this particular girl friend of mine was ‘special’ to me. Not only that, even before they met her, they fell for her voice. It was the same thing for me. Okay, I admit I am a sucker for beautiful voices. But, Edna’s… was different. It was poetry in motion. Hers felt like ice cream on a stick or a refreshing drink after a long thirst. Edna’s voice was so full of music and soul. You would feel the same way if you had met her. Okay, I would tell you how I met Edna; but, not today.

“What do you mean, father,” I asked.

“Son, have you decided on Edna yet?” he asked. We had talked about Edna recently and father wanted to know the latest. “There are so many things involved,” I told him then. “For now, I’m not so sure about how to fix it.”

“So, have you,” he asked again.


“That’s good,” father smiled. He had developed a fondness for Edna, almost like she was already his adopted daughter from the cradle.

“But I still have butterflies in my stomach,” I said. He put his arm around me and looked at me in that sort of fatherly-like assurance.

“Son, listen to your heart. But, let the Lord lead you,” said father. “It matters how and when you say it, do you understand me?” he searched my eyes as if they were running away from the obvious.

“I understand, but….”

“No ‘buts’. Be decisive. Pick your favourite spot. Or better still, give her a surprise. But make sure you do it right. Seize the moment and make her yours. You have to take a chance to stand the chance,” father said.

“Aye, Aye, sir!” I stood up and made a mock salute to him while he sat down.

He waved me off with a smile. “Life is full of bogus things, but never lose your focus, son. Choosing whom you would spend the rest of your life with needs all the concentration of your mind, body and spirit, a hundred percent.” Every successful relationship, he noted, was built on as much careful planning as any other successful business enterprise. There goes father, the consummate business man and relationship/marriage counselor. “Sometimes, love is not enough. Both of you must be compatible. Be certain about your road map for the future, and how you truly feel about her. If she fits into it, then she fits. The rest will naturally fall into place. Just trust God.”

“Don’t always trust your feelings. Instead, learn to understand your instincts.” As father stood up from the sofa, he did the unexpected.

“I can sell fire in hell and water to a well. Put me anywhere on God’s green earth and I will triple my worth,” he said, gesticulating like a hip-hop artiste would do. I thought I didn’t hear clearly, but my father actually rapped those famous lines.

“Father, that’s Jay Z!” I said incredulously.

“I know,” father laughed. “Just because you think I’m ‘old school’ doesn’t mean I don’t have to learn the new school,” he said.

“Hmmn,” I remarked. “I could sell condom to a eunuch or a priest too,” I replied him.

“Don’t. It would corrupt the whole monastery,” We both laughed.

“Thank you, father,” I said as I hugged him. His words were just the necessary prompting I needed to make the next big decision of my life.

I made a mental note to call Edna as soon as I got home. Just then, my phone rang.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


I've been thinking: maybe we should suggest a change of name for the organizers of MOBO. That is, from MOBO to MONO.

Yeah, instead of Music Of Black Origin, it should now be known as Music Of Nigerian Origin. Or how else would you reward the undisputable fact that Nigerian music and artistes are the hottest commodities from Africa today?...Okay, just kidding!

But, it is noteworthy that Nigerian artistes have been dominating MOBO for the past three years. First it was Tuface, then 9ice swept MOBO Best African Act, now it is our very own NNEKA as MOBO Best African Act 2009! The 2009 edition was held in Glasgow, UK.

Abegi, everybody give Naija people three Gbosas jare... Gbosa! Gbosa!! Gbosa!!!

Nneka’s musical influences include Afro-beat legend Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Bob Marley and Lauryn Hill. She also cites writer and human rights activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa as an inspiration. Just before she travelled to attend the MOBO awards in the UK, the singer and song writer told me about her musical influences. ‘They express themselves in a very simple manner,” she said. Nneka is obviously a gifted artiste with a lot of musical depth. Her gritty style, haunting voice and political lyrics have already won her a worldwide audience.

"I hadn't even heard of the MOBOs until two weeks ago," said the 27-year-old, who described herself as a daughter of the Niger Delta region. Born and bred in Warri, Nneka is a study of the sheer power of determination to succeed. She has beauty, brains, brawn, and an amazing talent. One of her songs, "Heartbeat", has also been nominated for Channel O Awards in the following categories: Most Gifted FEMALE VIDEO/Most Gifted NEWCOMER VIDEO/Most Gifted WEST AFRICAN VIDEO. Watch out for that too. One thing looks certain though, the world is going to hear a lot more from this gifted and beautiful Nigerian artiste (she also paints).

"It will help more people hear about my music,” she said about her winning the MOBO award. “But it's not about me it's the continent and its music." Amazing. No matter where a diamond is, it would always shine through to farther places. And there is no bigger stage than a global audience for Nneka to shine through.

Despite her mixed parentage, German/Nigerian, Nneka is passionate about Nigeria as her motherland. “If you’re not proud of where you’re coming from or who you are as a person, how would you expect someone else to be?” She said to me earlier, just before she left for the MOBO Awards. Nneka’s albums include Victim of Truth (2005) and No Longer at Ease (2008).

Once again, Congratulations, Nneka! Keep representing Naija at the top and making us proud!


Best African Act - Nneka

Best UK Act - N-Dubz

Best Newcomer - JLS

Best Song - Beat Again by JLS

Best Album - N-Dubz

Best DJ - Trevor Nelson

Best Hip Hop - Chipmunk

Best R&B - Keri Hilson

Best International Performer - Beyonce

Best Video - Beyonce, Single Ladies

Best Reggae - Sean Paul

Best Jazz - Yolanda Brown

Best Gospel - Vic Tizzle

Thursday, October 1, 2009


"Happy Independence celebrations!” One of my colleagues greeted me. I replied cheerfully. “Happy Independence celebrations!” she greeted another. He sneered. “What is there to celebrate?” “Having not being kidnapped is something worth celebrating,” another of my colleague quipped. Funny, but sad.

Nigeria clocks 49 today. But a country that chooses not to learn from its past would grope in the present and stumble into the future.

There was a time in this country where you could leave your door open and your neighbours would keep watch for you, even if you were gone for days. No, we don’t even know our neighbours. When we do, we can’t trust them. Security of lives and property is a big issue. There was a time when stealing N100 was a big deal in this country. Today, even a child sneers when you give him N20 as ‘dash’. Today, when some politicians steal a N100 million naira, they are given chieftaincy titles. Age and figure falsification is an acceptable practice today. Ask the Golden Eaglets. There was a time when a 21 year-old Nigerian was really 21. “Everybody does it,” some would say. See? What more shows a warped up value system than a country which runs on dishonesty (no matter how simple it looks), sneers at its heroes and glorify thieves? There was a time when Nigerians obeyed the simplest of traffic laws. Today, the other man on the steering deliberately bashes the side of your car because you are trying to do the right thing while driving. There was a time when the cashier at the supermarket or filling station would run after you to give back your N5, N10, N20 ‘change’. Today, they would tell you, “Haba, bros…” or “na dat small change dey make you hala?” Materialism is celebrated, ‘it doesn’t ‘really’ matter how you made the money, as long as you have it’. There was a time when the right amount of fuel is sold at filling stations. Today, air is pumped into your car or jerry cans and you wonder why after buying 25 litres worth of fuel, your 20 litre can is still not filled up. It’s a long list of there-was-a-time for many Nigerians (you can share yours too). Maybe when we remember how things used to be in a ‘sane’ society, we can start doing something to change the present situation in the country.

The problem with Nigeria lies in the corruption of our value system.
It reflects on the kind of poor leadership the country’s had over the years. That’s the reason why Nigerians vote crooks into government and encourages thieves into positions of authority.

“What is there to celebrate? Nigeria is like a bomb waiting to explode,” my colleague complained. So many things need to be fixed in this country, yes. But ‘this bomb’ shouldn’t be allowed to explode. You and me can make a difference. By what we do with our lives and to our personal value systems in this country. A corrupt system is created by a society who by action or inaction of its people encouraged the erosion of the right value system. There would always be bad people in society, but a functioning system would ensure checks and balances. Haven’t you wondered why Nigerians are so law abiding when they go to foreign countries? It’s because those countries have built up the right value systems.

Nothing of value is ever won without sacrifice. Yes, Nigeria got independence on a platter of gold. But we don’t need a bloody revolution. What Nigeria needs is a mental revolution; a re-orientation of her value system. The sacrifice lies in us giving up tribalism, nepotism, corruption, dishonesty and hypocrisy. It lies in us sacrificing our vast differences on the altar of unity and the right ideals. That is when true independence freedom starts. Until there is a tangible commitment from the leaders and the led to imbibe and promote the right value system as one people, it would still be a long road to salvation. But I believe things can work well for this country. I have faith in my generation to change the course of this nation for good…to greatness.

I welcome you into a new Nigeria where we would be our brothers’ keeper, where equality would be the name of the game in the practice of politics, where institutionalized corruption would be a thing of the past, where things work. 24 hour electricity, good road networks, good governance, a functional education system, robust financial services…; when one, two, three generations after, the presently unborn Nigerians can look back to this history (today), smile and say, yes, these people made the sacrifice for us to be this great nation. Nigeria can be made better, by you and me; because WE can make a big difference, by first adopting the right value system – patriotism, honesty, truth, hardwork, determination…. (fill in the gaps) - and running with it.

“Let us be the change that we seek in the world,” Mahatma Ghandi once said. It takes a small stone to spread a ripple effect on water. Simple things matter. Look into the mirror. A positive national change can start from you; in your family, school, church, work place or community. Then, the ripple effect begins.

Recently, I asked Dr. Myles Munroe how the gap between Third World countries (which include Nigeria) and the First World countries can be reduced. He said “when we begin to see that we don’t need the first world countries to become successful, that the secret of our success is in our own countries.” Nigeria must be built by Nigerians, on the right values.

“There is a lot to celebrate, other than not been kidnapped,” I replied my friend. ‘It’s the divine opportunity to influence a positive change in my generation.”

Happy Independence Celebrations, Nigeria

Friday, September 25, 2009


Let’s just say that my father is a successful entrepreneur. My father is many things rolled into one mass of adoring flesh. Businessman, social engineer, writer, artist, artiste, inventor … he never ceases to amaze me. But he tells me to concentrate on one thing

“Son,” he would say. “It’s good to know one thing about everything. But make sure you know everything about one thing.” That was his favourite quote, to me. Ah, my father is so full of punch lines.

Due to the unusual traffic that sometimes flow like blood through a dead man’s vein; I am a times reluctant to visit him. But whenever I did, no matter the occasion, father would always have a pep talk for me.

It was a stroke of genius that got me to his office today. I drove on water. To rephrase, with the help of a machine, I ferried my car over the lagoon. Did I tell you that I was the first person in Lagos to invent that novel idea of beating the Island traffic? Yeah, right, nobody told you. Now everybody wants to be me. A special ministry should be created for novel ventures like mine.

Before I continue, let’s play a small game. Who was the first to invent pure water sachet in Nigeria?

Back to father. I got to his office just before the cock crowed. Not at dawn, stupid. It was 7 pm in the evening.

“Ah, oniovo,” father greeted me with a bear hug as I walked into his office. I wonder, does any father greet his son with brother? Well, sometimes, he calls me son or by my name. I have known him long enough to know that the qualification he uses actually depends on the occasion. Today… Well, let’s save it for later. I was wearing an ash coloured suit, just like father was.

“You didn’t tell me you were going to wear this suit,” he remarked as he held me by the shoulders. Apart from the fact that I was a hair taller than him, I was the spitting image of my father.

“Great minds think alike,” I replied him and he burst out laughing in that rich generous baritone of his. The unpredictability of genes can be so confusing. Thank goodness for cloning, in my next life, I am going to choose a Barry White tenor rather than an Alicia Keys.

It happened one Friday, when I told him of my new appointment. We went shopping together and he bought us two pairs of identical suits. Father could be so full of mischief.

“I’m proud of you,” he said to me that day.

“Indulge me,” I teased him. “I’m honoured to be called your son,” I told him. It felt so good to have a new job. And a father who didn’t cease to pleasantly surprise me every day. I was already projecting into the future faster than a space shuttle could get into orbit.

“Look at you,” father said as he held me by the shoulders. “You are all grown up,”
“Oh, don’t start, father,” as we both walked to the milk coloured sofa by the window, his favourite spot in his office. “What did you expect? I’m old enough to get married.”

“Son, life isn’t a game for dead men,” father said as he sat me down. I blinked.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Love Is... 

Love is a four-letter word
That touches the bottom of one's heart
And expands it.

Love is a picture
Framed in gold
Showing unending treasures
Painted in beautiful colours

Love is precious.
Love is sweet.
Love is musical.
Love is poetry.

Love is like fire,
Refining fire.
Love is a desire
To be irresistibly desired.

Love is potent.
Love is like a magnet.
Love is an emotion.
Love is tenderness.

Love is passion.
Love is companionship.
Love is a gift.
Love is light.

Love is eternal.
Love is life.
Love is beautiful.
Love is you.

� Arukaino Umukoro

What does love mean to you?

Monday, September 21, 2009

FOCUS. The Power that Lies within You

If you have watched the inspiring movie, "Akeelah and the Bee", you must have been acquainted with these powerful and timeless words contained in this piece. But did you really ponder over the words and let the meaning have a positive impact on your life, or it was just part of the 'feel good' quality of the movie?

For me, I was Inspired by these words. I hope you get inspired and re-inspired also just by reading this.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn't serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that
Other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear
Our presence automatically liberates others."

Marrianne Williamson.

You can be all you want to be as long as you believe in God and yourself.
Never give up on your dreams. Yes you can!
Let the world be a better place because you pass through it.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


If the two singles are anything to go by, then Ade Bantu’s upcoming album should expectedly be a smash hit. The multiple Kora Award winner musician, producer and Afropean activist of Nigerian-German descent is presently outside the country putting finishing touches to his next album titled Sound Clash in Lagos. The two singles, Marching to Aso and Show them love have since been rocking the airwaves with its highly charged political lyrics and social message. Show them love, featuring African China campaigns against child abuse in Nigeria, especially in the light of the incident of the Akwa Ibom children who were accused of witchcraft. Marching to Aso, featuring Azadus, resonates with protests about the state of the country; epileptic power supply, fuel scarcity and Niger Delta issues.
Bantu also just finished recording another single, a collabo with Fatai Rolling Dollar. "It's going to be another mega hit," promised one of Bantu's back up vocalists.
With "Sound Clash in Lagos", Bantu hopes to deliver an extra edge to his unique style of music - a fusion of Hip Hop, Reggae, Dancehall, Afrobeat, Fuji and Afrofunk; which he prefers to describe as Wafunk, meaning West African Funk. The artiste, who won two Kora Awards in 2005 for his album “Fuji Satisfaction” (featuring Adewale Ayuba), was recently nominated for the 2009 Channel O Awards for another of his single, Where Di Water. The prestigious award ceremony is slated to hold on October 29 in South Africa.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Most of his fifty years, Michael Jackson lived in the spotlight. It was fitting that his death would be accompanied by a blaze of glory. When MJ was barely five, his father Joseph Jackson acknowledged his talent and knew he’s Got To be There, singing with his brothers in the Jackson 5. He even had something to do with Ben, a soundtrack of a movie about a rat.
MJ was Bad, an enigma who at times acted dangerously; small wonder about the scandals that would dog him in later years. MJ was a thriller; his life was Off the Wall of just his country and placed on the pages of HIStory. MJ, at least at a point, was almost musically Invincible. MJ was often imitated, but he could never be duplicated. MJ would be Forever Michael. He was all about Music and Him. Destiny chose him to be a consummate entertainer. It did not matter whether he was black or white, MJ is the greatest entertainer that ever lived; with over 750 million copies (and still counting) of his albums sold worldwide. Like Rev. Al Sharpton rightly said, “Michael Jackson was a trailblazer and historic figure...It was MJ that brought blacks, White, Blacks, Asians and Latinos together...No controversy will erase the historic impact...Michael Jackson made culture accept a person of colour way before Tiger Woods, way before Oprah Winfrey, way before Barack Obama.”
But MJ was a confused genius that never got rid of his childhood demons. He grew in his body and skill, but never grew in his spirit. He was a victim of a complex that wired him to self destruct. Fame has always been a serial killer, murdering people who never grew out of their closet of insecurity, dysfunctional childhood and the extreme demand of a world that would always want more from their mega-superstars and out of envy and jealousy by a section, would want to milk them dry. In the end, the consummate entertainer was consumed by the stage that transformed him into a global icon. They loved him and hated him. They praised him and criticized him. They lifted him and brought him down.
The toxicology and autopsy report would never reveal this. It’s stale news that MJ’s death was precipitated by many factors. Of course he died suddenly after a cardiac arrest; he was hooked on so many prescription drugs and painkillers. It was a miracle that he even lived this long. He flagrantly disobeyed the laws of nature for so long by trying to restructure his body and thirsting for immortality. How can mere mortal reverse the set standards of immortality? MJ was not just a victim of his own eccentricities; he was a victim of a circle of leeches and vampires disguised as friends. He was sucked up by their pretences until he couldn’t live without pain killers and prescription drugs. But let’s face it. MJ was dead long before he actually died.
Michael Jackson was killed by friends who were not there; in his many, many times of need.
Uri Geller, bestselling author, psychic, motivational speaker and close friend of Michael Jackson, once asked him, “Michael, are you lonely?” He looked at Geller intently and replied, “I am a very lonely man,” But who truly cared? MJ’s so called ‘friends’ left him in the lurch, consumed by loneliness and deluge of insecurities, when they could have helped him in those years of scandals. “It’s amazing to see how many people are now praising him that wouldn’t go near him in the last several years, and condemned him,” Al Sharpton again. “For years, I asked Michael to think about what he was doing and I had hoped he’d get help and stop being around the people he would often accompany himself with. I wish he had listened,” said Geller.
Every man deserve friends who would not abandon them in their days of need; friends who would truly love you even when you have left them far behind in a blaze of glory, just like MJ did, friends who would not be envious of your success and stick with you in scandals even when you’re guilty, friends who would be comfortable telling you the honest truth about issues so as to help you become a better person. “MJ thought us to stand for each other, it’s not about mess, it’s about his love message. MJ beat it, he rose to the top, out sang his cynics, out-danced his doubters” said Al Sharpton at his memorial service. But even the King of Pop, singer, songwriter, dancer extraordinaire, couldn’t out-dance the frailty of mortality.
Many critics would want to blame MJ for allowing many things that happened to him. Maybe it was not his fault. But the price of ‘genius’ and ‘stardom’ could be so great, especially for a man who sees a vicious world through the eyes of a child. “Michael was no freak,” said Al Sharpton, “He was a genius.” True. He was blessed with an extraordinary talent. But talent always come with responsibility. Great talents always come with a high demand for responsibility. Maybe, in the long run, MJ couldn’t handle the pressure on his man-child shoulders. Maybe so many around him took advantage of his childhood heart of innocence. Maybe he refused help from his Family and true Friends. Maybe he got lost in his search for true Faith; because your faith - what you believe, who you believe - would define the essence of your existence; your identity and your value system.
Michael Jackson’s memorial reinforced some timeless truths. (True) FRIENDS matter. Filter your friends. Choose them wisely. Your FAITH matters. Trust your faith. Believe in God. FAMILY is everything. Stick with them, love them unconditionally. Ah that word, love. Love conquers all.
“We had him,” Maya Angelou wrote in memory of MJ. Love him or hate him. At least, we should be grateful to have witnessed such talent and genius in our time. People like Michael Jackson happen once a two lifetimes. Almost a million fans had bought tickets in anticipation of the greatest comeback ever in musical history. “This is it,” MJ himself said when his planned 50 concerts at the O2 Arena in London was announced. It really was it. The King of Pop, the greatest entertainer who ever lived, had no time for an encore.