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Friday, February 24, 2017

To Cheer and To Be Cheerful- A Biblical Perspective



As a young man, I have always desired to be surrounded by person who cheer me as I invest my strength cheerfully in anything that I do. My quest led me into seeking for more understanding about how to cheer and be cheerful as a person.

The Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary defined to Cheer as a shout of joy, support or praise. It can also mean to give hope, comfort and encouragement.  While Cheerful means happy and showing it by the way that you behave or giving a feeling of happiness. With the aforementioned meanings, it is obvious that people need someone to encourage them and someone that is cheerful needs to extrude happiness regardless of the circumstances at hand.

You need to cheer yourself, which means you have to be your greatest fan but with a consciousness of the impending judgement. Ecc. 11:9 says "Rejoice, o young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of their youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgement."

Your Spouse needs to be cheered. Every union has to be oiled regularly if it will last a lifetime. The Bible admonish that from the beginning of marriage. The man is expected to cheer his wife as found in the book of Deut 24:5 "when a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war, neither shall he be charged with any business: but he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer up his wife which he hath taken". The big question, do you cheer your spouse at all available opportunity?

We need to cheer others. Jesus in the new testament used the word cheer on several occasions in his interaction with a sick man in Mat 9:2 and to his disciples whenever they are disturbed examples are in Mat 14:27 and Mark 6:50. At their slightest confusion, he encouraged them. In John 16: 33 he charged them to be of good cheer because he had overcome the world. Paul too did likewise in Acts 27 and at the end of the storm, they all merried. If he had not been so close to them, he would not be able to understand their personality at every time when they are confused. As a leader, be readily available to encourage your followers.


Interestingly, being cheerful begins from within too. The Bible says in Proverbs 15:13 "a merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart is the spirit broken.” The Dake Annotated Reference Bible describes it as a happy disposition shows in the countenance. The big question, are you always looking happy?

Likewise we need to be cheerful to be able to cheer up others. Rom12:8 "he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth with diligence, he that showeth mercy with cheerfulness". We need to visit others to cheer them up but we should not compound the situation of the depressed by telling other depressing tales. In today's parlance, we should motivate them.

In all, how bright do our faces look when we come to the house of God with our offerings and when we are supposed to give others. Paul in his second letter to the Corinthians 9:7 wrote, "Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loveth a cheerful giver."

In our earthly sojourn, we need to cheer ourselves, our spouses and others while being cheerful is evident around ourselves, others and finally God. Would you always carry a cheerful disposition at all times for it might be the only encouragement needed by someone to have a memorable day and in fact, a memorable lifetime. 

Olutayo IRANTIOLA

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Monday, February 13, 2017

JUDGING vs CORRECTING

Hi,

It has been a while that I dropped by with some words on this platform.  It is always a privilege that I do not take for granted sharing some insights with you from time to time. Hope all is well with you and your loved ones? The second month of the year will soon wind up, are we on the right desired path for this year? 

In my generation today, I have discovered that there are many ways of avoiding correction and an apt phrase drawn from the scripture is always used.  Exodus  2:14a "And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us?". Let's brood on the topic- Judging vs Correcting 

Judging someone is by administering a verdict. From a practical standpoint, a judge comes up with his own binding view after listening to all the parties involved. Many times, a judgement can only be appealed at a higher court. However, nowadays it is a rebuttal of an advisory process. 

Correcting someone is a way of advising the person to see issues from another viewpoint from where he is standing. In the process of correcting, the person with a superior stance needs a lifestyle that justifies the correction, the person that is being corrected has the opportunity to weigh the advise and come up with a healthy and balanced opinion.

Those who come up with that phrase, "Who made you a judge over me" technically shut others up in order to keep indulging in the wrong lifestyle while those who are willing to take corrections will view it from a persuasive stance which will redefine his or her attitude to life.

At all times, remember this, "in criticizing to correct someone, you should focus more on killing the issue, rather than discreetly killing the personality." When the personality is killed that's judging when the person when the issue is discussed that's correcting.

Let's not mistake correctional intentions as a judgmental process. 

Have a great week ahead.

Cheers!

Olutayo 
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Tuesday, February 07, 2017

TIM AMOSUN: HISTORIAN, COMMUNITY LEADER, PASTOR AND POLICE

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Pastor Tim Amosun, MNIPR, MA, MSc, BTh, BEd, MPhil

Life is synonymous with races; there are some races that one would definitely know that one would catch up with effortlessly over time while there are some races that one needs extra effort to catch up with; Uncle Tim Amosun falls into the last category to me.

My contact with Uncle Tim started from the Alapere Medium Estate in the sitting room of, our Big Brother, Mr. Adeyemi Atanda about 7 years ago.  Big Brother knew about my journey about the writing of the biography of my maternal Grandfather, Revd JA Okesiji, JP and we were preparing for the launch. At the snap of the finger, he mentioned Uncle Tim Amosun, popularly called Baba, as being the right person to do the review of the book. I did not refute the idea and that ignited my relationship with him.

In the popular Nigerian parlance, ‘like play, like play’, Uncle Tim took me up as his ‘lost’ sibling and he was always on my trail. If he was not on phone with me, he would send an email or sms; if he was not helping me out at Ladipo spare part market; he would be giving me an update on his movement or picking me up from one location; if we were not discussing the updated history of Okeho; we would be sharing some progressive information about our hometown; if he was not dragging me for a meeting, he would be introducing me to someone from Okeho who is equally our brother. Ironically, whenever I am introducing an Okeho chap to him, he knows his ancestry.

Having known that I am one of the Okeho boys born some miles away from home, he had constantly built the bridge that take my heartbeat towards home thereby making me a thoroughly bred Okeho man. As I always call myself, ‘Ilugbemi’, I have no regret ever associating with an Okeho man who eats history, drinks history, relates history, researches history and understands history.

Uncle Tim’s sense of leadership is parallel to none, he is revered across board. Within the little time that I have spent with him; he has kept his relationship with high, low and mighty from Okeho, all the schools he has attended, churches and everyone that has come in contact with him. His abode is permanently a beehive of activities and his loving wife, Dr Folasade has been a staunch support of his disposition.

The contrast in Uncle Tim is the mixture of a priest and police; they complement effectively. The priest in him comes active from time to time. There are copious examples of people who have gone through the trials one is passing through; he constantly checks on one, your family, progress and in fact, challenges. There is no odd hours in his dictionary, if you are not on to him at such hours; he is reaching out to you. Likewise, the officer in him emerges because he cannot stand cheats. Do not claim to be ‘street-smart’ with him because he would deal with the person with wisdom accrued over the years from his numerous experiences. He has successfully helped a lot of people out of various concerns as an officer within a short while.

Uncle Tim is young because he is celebrating the 20th Anniversary of his 30th birthday but he is old because his experience is worth half a century. You have raised the bar and I desire, by God’s grace, to match your record for a start. Keep setting the pace as you are an ace! We are proud to be associated with you at all times. Baba, look back, we are all behind you but keep your gaze ahead because we love your leadership.

Your dearest Aburo,
Olutayo IRANTIOLA
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Monday, January 23, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: THE ENDEMIC ‘OGA AT THE TOP’ SYNDROME

Book: A Month and a Day: A Detention Diary
Author: Ken Saro-Wiwa
Year of Publication: 1995
Publisher: Spectrum Books Limited
Reviewer: Olutayo Irantiola

The ‘Oga at the Top’ phrase largely attributed to the former Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) Commandant in Lagos State, Shem Obafaiye had been silently in existence for ages before it went viral in March 2013. The detention diary of Ken Saro-Wiwa typified the experience of eloquent activists during the deadly military junta prevalent in Africa. The endless struggle for power abounds despite the return to ‘pseudo-democracy’ and it can all be summed up as the greatest inhumanity of the Black man to his kind.

Kenule Beeson Saro-Wiwa is and was the foremost environmental activist from Ogoni, Rivers State. He fought the war against the environmental degradation of his fatherland wholeheartedly till he became the target of both the government and the oil companies that did not give a damn even at the behest of the international community. This book is an account of his experience between the 21st of June 1993 and the 22nd of July 1993 while he was held captive for the boycott of Ogoni indigenes in 12th of June 1993 Presidential elections. This was his fourth arrest in three months. However, he remained undeterred, he stood for this cause till he was accused of murder and executed in 1995.

This review will expose on the known colloquial phrases that pervade the civil service; the impediment of the efficiency of the civil service and the results of military force on civilians.

The book opened with the description of how Ken was accosted within the Port Harcourt metropolis, he had become ‘a well-known customer’ to the State Security Service. This depicted the extent to which he had become familiar with different law enforcement agents. He frolicked with them whenever they came for him.

Another statement that is commonly associated with the civil service is ‘we know our job’. According to the author, ‘the implication was that I was trying to teach him his job: a sin in Nigerian official circles punishable by great wickedness’. This showed the level at which civil servants abhor confrontational and assertive people.

The perennial contention between the lawyers and the Nigerian Police was also pinpointed in the book. According to Ken Saro-Wiwa, ‘The lawyer came and he was ordered to leave…. The Nigerian police hate lawyers. They do not mind doctors.’ Both organizations have the same denomination, law, but unfortunately, they are constantly at loggerhead.

Saro-Wiwa in the fourth chapter of the book, the longest chapter, described his modus operandi in equipping himself against the enriching ‘deals’ that pervaded the country-within the civil service; between the civil service and her contractors etc. He went into trading, invested in properties thereafter he divested into writing and publishing.
                ‘It was also important that in seeking limited financial security. I should maintain
                My integrity and not go into deals Nigerian-style such as would make it impossible
                For me to look anyone in the eyes.’

A hypothetical deal was described around the medical care of inmates when he was sick while in custody. The clinic where he was taken was a newly constructed one. He said the building had been constructed in the usual splash and dash manner of Nigerian official contract jobs, no doubt at ten times the normal cost.’

The sordid description of the premises of the Nigerian police and the inhuman treatment meted out on detainees. Some of the notable places mentioned included-
Central Police Station described it thus, ‘It was in disrepair. The lawn was littered with cars, in different colours and states. Some appeared to have been there for ages, waiting to be used for exhibits for cases that would never be tried.’ The full treatment of someone in police custody had been given to Dube and Nwiee …they had been thrown into the guardroom… they met with hardened criminals and petty thieves who held court and charged newcomers specific fees.’
The notorious Alagbon Close was said to be ‘extremely dirty. The wall were grimy with the marks of the years. The place had not been painted for ages. Ken Saro-Wiwa passed the night in the reception and the sergeant on duty was informed that he was not to go into the guardroom for the night. He was offered a room where he had his meal, ‘cobwebby, dusty, unswept with broken cupboards and grimy desks lying in thorough disorder.
His experience at the Imo State Police Command was narrated thus ‘we were led into a room… there was no light in it, the only available light coming from a beam which fell from the fluorescent tube in the corridor. There was no door, the only door having fallen off its hinges… Opposite the room was a bathroom from which came the stinking odour of human waste.
The Police Station at Awka with ‘the inside totally intolerably. It was all cobwebby and the walls were smudged. Truly, no one could ever do meaningful work in such a messy, grimy surrounding.’
The Port Harcourt prison said as having ‘the exterior is solid, grey and forbidden… its interior is grimy, squalid and dilapidated.’ The state of a nation can be told by the way it keep its prisons, prisoners being mostly out of sight. The negligence, callousness and incompetence of some thieving officials who had run the place over the years had a lot to do with it.
While he was conveyed in a Peugeot J5 during the ordeal, ‘the bus itself reeked of the smell of petrol.

Part of the painful happenings within the civil service include the downward trend of happenings in our country. As of 1993 when the writer was postulating, it was not as bad as what is obtainable now. According to him, ‘Our ship of state is today sinking! A few are manipulating the system to their advantage, but our intellectuals, our women, our youths, the masses are being flushed down the drain. All our systems, educational, economic, health, are in shambles.’

The biased reportage of State-owned media was used by the Rivers State Government against Ken Saro-Wiwa. The copious example is that of Nigerian Tide, the newspaper that he set up in 1971 when he was the Commissioner for Information and Home Affairs, ‘… the newspaper had since been misused by successive administrations and was now more and less useless.’

The archetypal bureaucracy of the civil service was seen in two different ways; among the law enforcement agents, the Nigerian Police and the Nigerian Prison Service on how a detainee can access medical aids and the judiciary. All judges were not willing to sign the writs while Lagos lawyers were boycotting the court for one week; it took a brave judge in Owerri to sign it. All of these slowed down judicial verdicts.

Another disaster that has befallen the civil service is the inability of her officers to be vocal about the challenges that have befallen the society in general. ‘I felt sorry for… all those men and women who were being forced by the system to subvert the law, tell lies, play dirty tricks, in order to earn their monthly pay.’

Also, the poor remuneration of civil servants as exemplified by the dismal condition of service of the officers of the Nigerian Prison Service, was a part of the discourse, and the salary a mere pittance.
Other renowned things that happen in Nigeria mentioned in the book include the firing of tear gas canisters at protesters; the killing of women; the detention of the journalist of The News magazine; the betrayal of those that should support the same cause; the state of Nigerian roads; trigger happy uniform officers; the care of detainees left to their families and friends while in incarceration; the ransack of people’s private homes;  the way in which international organizations get away with environment degradation in Nigeria and not in other countries.

As a cerebral person, Ken Saro-Wiwa mentioned the names of other prominent people across academics and corporate Nigeria that he encountered at different point in time. Such names include- Professors Claude Ake; Chike Obi; Femi Osofisan; Kole Omotoso; Theo Vincent; Drs.  Olu Onagoruwa; Dr. Odili; Yemi Ogunbiyi; Obi Wali.  Others are Uche Chukwumerije; Bayo Balogun; Nnaemeka Achebe and Rufus Ada George.

All the officers in this book were acting on the next order from their superiors aka ‘Oga at the Top’. The use of initiative is rather unpopular among the civil servants. The officer assigned to manage him, Mr Ogbeifun, had to wait on the orders of the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of FIIB. Subsequently, the invites by the Inspector General of Police; the meeting with the Head of National Intelligence Agency, Brigadier-General Halilu Akilu; National Security Adviser, Major-General Aliyu Mohammed and the final instruction of Augustus Aikhomu to release him.

Worthy of note is that the family man in Ken Saro-Wiwa never died in all these struggles. He ‘thought of his family; father, mother, brothers and sisters… his children who just buried earlier in the year.’  He still found time to take his children on holiday and visited them regularly in the United Kingdom. Equally, he enjoyed the support of his parents and siblings who visited him in detention and his Mum gave him a delicacy he had not taken in 40 years.


A Month and a Day is a poignant account of the political war of tyranny, oppression and greed designed to dispossess the Ogoni people of their rights; their wealth. The struggle for restoration; a struggle for equity; a challenge of the status quo resonated throughout the text. He witnessed the efficiency of evil in a country where virtually nothing worked and all orders were carried out with military precision. The voice of Ken Saro-Wiwa had never drowned and all efforts are ongoing to ensure that what he stood for will result into the eventual clean-up of Ogoni and her environs. The text is a great addition to Prison and Environmental literature. 
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Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Royal Accountant Goes to the Greatest Accountant

Another distinct and great King in Yorubaland has gone to join the ancestors, Oba Samuel Adegboyega Osunbade, Adeyelu II, JP, FCIS, FCA, the Olugbon of Orile-Igbon. A well-educated monarch with high official and personal profile changed the face of Orile-Igbon, Surulere Local Government of Oyo State with his expertise and zeal to uplift the exalted throne and the land of his fathers.

Historically, the stool of the Olugbon was among the top provincial rulers of the Oyo kingdom. However, Igbon was one of early casualties of the destructive forces unleashed on the Kingdom from the beginning of the nineteenth century by Afonja. By 1830, the Igbon community had scattered, and a section of its people, with the Olugbon, had found refuge in Ogbomoso, his predecessor, Oba Akanni started the resettlement efforts at Orile-Igbon and after the instalment of the Oba Osunbade on the 24th of July 1992, he continued the resettlement efforts with notable strides. According to Osuntokun and Oduwobi in The Merchant Prince and the Monarch, Oba Oladunni Oyewummi, the Soun of Ogbomosoland.

The strides of the 21st Olugbon, Oba Osunbade to Orile Igbon was in diverse folds, this include, the removal of the consent of the Soun when subsequent Olugbons will be installed as recommended by the Oloko Commission of Inquiry emphasised that the Olugbon ranked second to the Alafin in the state in terms of traditional hierarchy. The King also embarked on a quest to have Orile-Igbon as headquarters of a newly established local government in 1996 which was a great feat for his people and subsequently, he became the Vice Chairman of the Oyo State Council of Obas. Many developmental projects that have attracted the siting of various government agencies in the community largely based on his philanthropic gestures.

The monarch with a flourishing accounting practice in the metropolitan city of Lagos was prepared for all the struggles with government institutions for all these visible developments of Orile-Igbon. As a student in England, he was the General Secretary of All African Students Union and also the President of the Nigerian Union of Students in England and Ireland, this afforded him the opportunity to visit a lot of African countries. In 1967, he led a delegation of Nigerian students from England to pay a visit to the General Yakubu Gowon –led Federal Military Government to intervene in the national crisis at the out­break of the civil war.

I had the opportunity of meeting the monarch in his Ogbomoso home located on Ikoyi road by his 3-star hotel, Olugbon Hotel. He greatly encouraged me when I embarked on the noble course of writing the biography of my maternal grandfather who was his spiritual father while he was the under shepherd of First Baptist Church, Okelerin, Ogbomoso. The ever-accommodating King was glad to contribute to book and he wished me success. He received my calls whenever I called him and he gave his contribution to the book to Olajide Akinsola, my very good friend. As described by Revd Okesiji, Oba Osunbade truly cared about the work of God and his leadership charisma was evident in his wisdom regularly doled to other traditional rulers around him. He was not a hindrance to anyone within and outside his community who worshipped the triune God.

Unfortunately, the great story of a noble King and activist had a dark lining when the King was bereaved in 2012 when his son, Prince Aderoju Osunbade, died in the ill-fated air crash. This deeply affected the well-celebrated monarch till he eventually gave up the ghost on the 14th October 2016.

The Royal Accountant credited with glowing tributes from across the globe as a boardroom colossus, a traditional ruler of repute and a devoted Baptist has completed his terrestrial 82- year race. The King served both divinity and humanity. He has transited to the Greatest Accountant who will reckon his final ledger.

Kabiyesi Olugbon ti saye re;  yoo si sorun ire! Fare thee well, Sir.


Olutayo IRANTIOLA

Lagos, Nigeria.
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