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.