Saturday, April 23, 2011

Thanks, to ALL My Childhood Haters

I remember when I was young and had a fight with any of my peers. Even with the venom in my tongue I knew the worst I could do was probably not allow them copy my homework. Then again, by the time we were to meet again I would have forgotten. I grew up feeling I was lucky to have that kind of life especially friends/haters I could fight with anytime I liked and still not watch my back.

Two events within these past few weeks touched me and made me feel ever so lucky for my haters. One was the story of two friends Haylee Fentress and Paige Moravetz both 14 years old. These girls were exposed to the first group of hatters in school, bullies. It was reported these girls were being bullied in school and Halyee got expelled for defending her friend. While that might be regarded as an act of friendship (standing up for someone), what happened next took it to a new height. These two girls made a suicide pact and killed themselves during a sleep over.

The second event was about a 15-year-old boy Seath Tyler Jackson. Michael Bargo, 18 year-old, was dating Seath's ex-girlfriend, Amber Wright (aged 15 years), and had gotten into a fight with him several weeks earlier. Five of his friends were gathered at a house on a Sunday when Michael Bargo began to speak of his hatred for Seath. The conversation then turned into a plan to lure Seath to the house so that Michael could kill him with their assistance. Seath was lured to the house by a text message from Amber saying she wanted to
rekindle their romance and that they should meet. Seath arrived at the location and after being hit on the head Michael shot him several times with a .22-caliber revolver. When Seath tried to escape, another friend Justin Soto, 20, held him down while Michael continued to shoot him. Then Michael broke Seath's knees and the others hog-tied him and put his body in a sleeping bag, which was placed in a fire pit in the back yard and burned. The friends used bleach to clean the house and shoveled Jackson's remains into 5-gallon paint cans and dumped them in a lime rock pit.

After reading these two events I couldn't help but thank my 'haters' both in primary and secondary school for not pushing me that far to kill myself and most especially themselves for not killing me.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Service

One question I ask myself but never found a satisfying answer was, does everything happen for a reason OR do we find a reason to explain everything that happens? Most times if not every time we do not know. Psychologist say we rationalise when such events with no clear reason happen, Christians find comfort in saying "God works in mysterious ways". Like the piece I did on "Faith versus Wishful Thinking", we can't know the difference until the period had elapsed and we retrospect.

March 2011, a new service year was suppose to begin for tertiary institutions graduates in Nigeria under the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme. "Every graduate [corp member] was posted to a state far from their city of origin. They were expected to mix with people of other tribes, social and family backgrounds, to learn the culture of the indigenes in the place they were posted to. This action [was] aimed to bring about unity in the country and to help youths appreciate other ethnic groups." There were three batches in a year to accommodate the high number of graduates. Due to 'factors' no one clearly understood, students of the University of Lagos, UNILAG, were left out of the first batch that March. Exclusion from the Batch meant they had to find whatever to keep themselves busy till the next batch B in July. Obviously the majority, again if not everyone, were not ok with the situation. No NYSC certificate meant no job with 'real' pay. It was made worse by the fact that the institution provided no explanation/apology since they were supposed to submit names of students eligible for the service.

Few weeks later in April, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, decided to use corps members as electoral officials for the country's elections. As expected violence were recorded with these fresh graduates being the most affected especially in the northern part of the country. There were cases where corpers were either killed or their arms amputated. That left fresh graduates of UNILAG saying..."that could have been us". What they couldn't explain and initially saw as a burden was now a blessing in disguise. Their absence from service prevented them from being exposed to such violence.

So did everything happen to them for that reason or they just have to use that for a reason for what happened? Like Kanye West once said in situations like these, "We will never know". My condolence however goes out to the families of those that had been affected by the lapses in our electoral process. Maybe there was a bigger reason for these events...the NYSC programme might as well be cancelled.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Power of an Ex

I walked into a party, actually it was more of a get-together among old friends. It was one of those few times my friends made conscious effort to hangout and catch up on old times. It was very necessary for bonding and to share experiences. I saw her there, she was beautiful as usual, except she had increase a little in dress size. I attributed that to a sign of good living. She was my ex, a title received after few months of unforgettable moments ended by... Honestly, I couldn't remember what ended the relationship but I knew we were not on good terms for a while. I actually hadn't spoken to her since she decided not to return my calls. The social context of the party made it easier to approach her, besides, we were among friends that knew we were an item. She began the conversation with a smile and a gesture to introduce me to her boyfriend, a guy I didn't know. As usual my first thought was, "This guy? What the hell did you see in him then, what the hell didn't you see wrong with him?" I introduced myself and I could see a little spark in his eyes, like 'finally, I've met him'. He kept the conversation short but his stares were longer. I wasn't going to act ignorant of the reason behind his reaction, I was majoring in Psychology then. We both understood the unspoken power of an ex. I was the the Ex, an ex-ample of the person she had dated. The person he had heard so much about and hoped [silently] never meet. For some reasons I couldn't explain my interest in her resurfaced that day. Before everyone called it a night, I made sure I got her number and after two phone calls the following day she was at my place and... I didn't feel bad for making her cheat, technically it wasn't cheating because we didn't do things we hadn't done before [I know, I'm rationalising]. I remembered what I also experienced in the hands of the exes of my then current girlfriend. She would sleep over at his place and say, "Nothing happened". Yorubas would reply by saying, "Is there tribal marks on my face?" She actually expected me to believe she had a non-sexual sleep over alone with the guy that disvirgined her. *next paragraph

The fact was almost everyone had an ex [so we have to deal with it...alone], someone who was there before you, someone who if everything had worked out between them you wouldn't have been in the relationship you were in. So also the feelings you had, either love or strong like, would never had existed. The painful part was the strong feelings your partner had was once for that ex. If your partner wasn't a virgin, that makes it worse. Your mind fills in the blank and might distort reality in the process. You think about how they held each other, kiss, made love...something that should have been exclusive to you but too bad, someone beat you to it. With those thoughts jealousy and envy arise. To make it worse, take the situation where the ex was a wonderful person and had a pleasant personality [like me]. It only takes times before you begin to compare your partner's ex with yourself. Prepare for the worse if based on your standards they were 'more' than you. I remember telling one of my gf, "You must be out of your mind for dumping that guy". The guy was like a rock star version of Denzel. Then again, I say anything disregarding the consequences. A girl once told me it didn't matter if the boyfriend's ex was beautiful or not because she was always uncomfortable. If she was beautiful that obviously was a problem, if she was ugly she ended up thinking she was also ugly and probably the boyfriend liked ugly girls. People say things like referring to exes as used toys to make themselves feel better, maybe they were toys, but what they played with was your heart.

In the song 'Back for Good' by the English boy band Take That, there was an interesting line "In the twist of separation you excelled in being free, can you find a little room inside for me". The idea is simple, not everyone recovers early [or at all] when a relationship ends. In this situation, the ex could be a nuisance in your relationship as they always scheme for a comeback, and this is when you should be very worried. The ex refuses to leave your partner and when you attempt to take control of the situation, the ex makes you know "I was there before you and if I wanted to I could have him/her back". An ex could even take credit for the current status of your partner, "Where were you when we worked hard together for this same thing you enjoy?" Being the other girl/guy in a relationship is never good and we end up fighting for the number one position. Females are very competitive when it comes to this, the priority no longer becomes the guy. It turns to "If I can't have this guy then you won't".

Our partner no doubt contribute to the fear we have of their ex. When you wonder, "How come I know so much about his/her ex?" Answer, you bf/gf obviously had countless conversations about her/him with you. You would know so much to the extent that you would be able to talk about the ex to another person and they would think you knew 'em personally. This was a sign the person hasn't gotten over the ex so they keep making references to 'em because people do not keep talking about issues that are not important to them. You might be watching TV and the next thing your bf/gf say is, "I remember when [ex name]..." In situations like that kindly say, "I'm not interested." That would also make it clear that you were not interested in their past with your ex, you do not see how it defines them and your bf/gf is better off with you.

No matter what, the power of an ex would always remain. It's like a proverb, a man that found a river flowing in a thick forest would always know how to get there. All you have to do is hope your partner sees you as an improved version of the ex, let them perceive their ex as an old school black and white tube TV while you were the flat screen, HD...3D.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Life Cycle of a Product: Females

I've always seen girls as products and like all products they had to be well packaged and appeal to the consumers and in this case, men. However there was a time-line to achieve that because like products there was a life cycle. You could also see it as making sure the bride price had been paid before the expire date.

Like all cycles there were stages and females are no exception, they grow: their beauty peaks, and everything turns grey and fall *ouch. Truth was females face different challenges on who to settle for/with, more like a negotiation process- who should they settle with. They "require different marketing, financing, manufacturing, purchasing, and human resource strategies in each life cycle stage." The failure to find a husband at a stage leads to them moving on to the next one which reduces the probability of finding Mr. Right.

STAGE 1NE: Market introduction stage: Age 14 to 21 years.
1. costs of a guy getting a girl are very high. Either time, money, or creativity.
2. slow start in decision making when it comes to giving any guy time to negotiate. Moreover, the guys they meet/like are usually classmates and neighbours.
3. little or no competition from other girls. Almost all their close friends have a boyfriend or a guy on their neck. There was no rush to be in a relationship.
4. demand has to be created:
5. customers/guys have to be prompted- this they achieve by heavy beauty grooming-to try the product. When a girl wants attention at this stage she know what to do.
6. usually do not meet a future husband at this stage.

STAGE 2WO: Growth stage: Age 22 to 28
1. costs reduced due to economies
of scale: The girl hardly feels alone, spend her money, or in dire need to be in an exclusive relationship cause there are lots of guys negotiating for her product.
2. sales volume increases
significantly: The number of guys a girl meets increases significantly
3. profitability begins to rise as the girl begins to meet 'reasonable guys'.
4. public awareness increases about the girl being in the single's market
5. competition begins to increase
with a few new players establishing themselves in the market: these 'players' include their peers plus girls emerging into the market introduction stage.
6. increased competition leads to
price decreases: High unreasonable demands from girls reduce as they leave this stage being single.

STAGE 3HERE: Maturity
stage: Age 29 to 38
1. costs are lowered as a result of
production volumes increasing
and experience curve effects:
2. sales volume peaks and market
saturation is reached: Girls know retirement is close by.
3. increase in competitors entering
the market: The number of girls they had to compete with at this stage is enormous.
4. prices tend to drop due to the
proliferation of competing
products/girls: this is the stage where most girls completely put away their pride and would settle for Mr. Right-Now.
5. brand differentiation and feature
diversification is emphasized to
maintain or increase market
share: Brand differentiation girls at this stage depict is usually 'maturity' and 'high level of understanding', some even foot the guy's bills. They want the guy to understand how special/different they were.
6. Industrial profits go down. At this point there is no need to make outrageous demands.

STAGE 4OUR. Saturation
and decline: Age 38 to ...
1. costs become counter-optimal
2. sales volume decline or stabilize
3. prices, profitability diminish
4. profit becomes more a challenge
of production/distribution
efficiency than increased sales

I know girls who wouldn't agree with me but sadly this isn't debatable. You can not leave a tomato on a table and expect it to be always fresh. Sure feel free to play the religious card, if it wasn't that serious you wouldn't have to in the first place.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Dele Momodu: The Man with Hardcore Grassroot Swagz

If there was any candidate that caught my attention prior to Nigeria's presidential election 2011, it was definitely Dele Momodu. Shekarau, another candidate,impressed me during the NN24 Presidential election debate but Dele Momodu depicted what someone described on twitter as 'hardcore grassroot swagz'.

I had known the man as an editor of a glossy magazine called Ovation, an 'African themed version' of UK's OK! Magazine (then again OK! first issue was three years before Ovation), but, there was a vacuum when it came to describing the personality of the man.

One adjective I could now use to describe this man was 'funny'. First of all I found it funny a man from a new party was convinced within his constitutional rights he could be the president of Nigeria. I love underdog stories but the odds I perceived surpassed Tottenham FC defeating Real Madrid FC, being 4-nil down on aggregate, during their first-leg Champions League encounter. Like I said, initially I thought it was a joke but this candidate was all out to convince Nigerians he was a political animal as well. According to him, he had been behind the scenes of Nigerian politics "like Don Jazzy behind D'banj". Such comparison is what made me also support the motion this candidate indeed had hardcore grassroot swagz.

It was a youth focused presidential debate that convinced me beyond doubts that this man was hilarious. He described himself as a "senior refugee" to Ribadu, another candidate, because he spent an extra year on exile during the military rule. No doubt he provided basic solutions to our basic Nigeria problems but his method of expression depicted him as the comedian of the lot. For instance during his closing statement on why he should become president. Dele Momodu took his time and began with, "My...fellow...Nigerians" and everyone burst into laugh. Those that found it funny knew it was a jab at the first lady who was known for her poor knowledge of the English language. She was noted for beginning her address to widows at an occasion with "My Fellow Widows". That made people question sarcastically, "when did the president die?" That wasn't the only time he had taken a jab at the first lady, one of his twitter update was "#WhenDeleMomoduBecomesPresident Nigerians will have a First Lady who is a Chartered Accountant; a woman who will not embarrass Nigerians." That to me was a low blow but the truth hurts.

Still, I respected his opinion that "the only place where a Pope rules today is the Vatican. Despite his many sins, Berlusconi is the Prime Minister of Italy." It would no doubt take someone with a high level of ruthlessness to change Nigeria. In Nigeria "the poor hate the poor and the rich hate the rich". Those where statements that convinced me despite the smiles and wise cracks it wouldn't be business as usual.

I thought stakeholders in the Nigeria entertainment industry would support him overwhelmingly, I was wrong. I guess the N200million ($1.3million) promised by the president going for a re-run to the 'entertainment industry' was enough to buy majority of their support. I was disappointed, P-Square's deal sponsorship deal with Globacom Nigeria was worth N240million (N40million more) according to magazines report, so what was the buzz about over N200million for the 'entertainment INDUSTRY'. This piece is not about that (that one is for after the election), this is about Dele Momodu, the man with Hardcore Grassroot Swagz.

I watched a video he used for campaign that had fuji stars including Shina Peters and I learnt one thing, this man can dance a little. Besides that, the video made me retrospect. Seeing Shina Peters doing his signature dance move, where he tilts his body to the left then raise his left shoulder twice and vice versa, I remembered when I was young when Shina Peters was the King in my house. Those were great/pure times and it was only psychological to condition it with Dele Momodu. Beyond the song I asked myself if this candidate was going to bring those good times back?

Although this candidate might not WIN VOTES he had definitely won FANS and that was more important and still COUNTS even after the election.

That Selfish Love

I grew up believing everyone had a selfish trait, some were dominant than others. I categorise most of what we do as a means to satisfy our selfish needs, this is not far from Signumd Freud concept of the Id. What we call our best food is the meal that satisfy us the most. It wasn't the food itself (either nutritious of not) but the satisfaction derived (including the taste). So also the people we can our friends and most especially the people we love. They happen to be the people that satisfy our needs,either physical, social, or psychological.

From the biblical to the fictional concept of LOVE, it was not selfish. True love happened to be one of the purest form of affection but I don't agree with that. There was a high level of selfishness that existed in every love most especially the concept of true love. The most obvious were those who choose to love someone cause of their material wealth. I don't blame them especially girls considering how hot the sun had been these days plus the economy. Scholars on motivation had recognised the importance of intrinsic motivation in satisfying needs and there were also selfishness based on intrinsic needs needed to be satisfied as well.

Truth is we love selfishly. The person you decide to love is one that makes you feel good with yourself regardless if you make them feel the same. If you desire attention you find out you end up loving the person that gave just that and the love died when it stopped. Another illustration, if a girl was more comfortable with someone fit or a Christian brother, then she was likely to fall in love with one. It is such a selfish act that no one love someone because the person loved them first. It was simply based on I love you based on you satisfying my emotional needs, I tell you, and you have to say you love me too. That was why whenever I heard 'I love you' my following response was a question, please be specific on what you love exactly?

Those that had been fortunate to see two females fight over a guy would understand my view. The one I witnessed made me realise how selfish love was. The guy loved girls with big breast, and fortunately or fortunately that feature wasn't exclusive to one person. The girls apparently loved his personality and claimed he was someone easy to talk to. As these females disgraced themselves I was obviously lost in thought. It was obvious to me they didn't love the guy but those aspects of him and that was what they were fighting for. They could easily find other guys but not a guy that honestly listened. If the girls had taken time to look at themselves they would have noticed the similarities they shared. He didn't love them but what they had.

Still I keep asking myself, why did I love her? After all I wanted nothing from her.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Inspector Facebook

When I meet someone for the first time, I was likely to ask if they had a Facebook account, if 'yes', I add 'em to my 'Friends list'. I don't do this because I'm interested in reaching the 5000 maximum limit, but to learn more about the person [especially when I'm interested in having a relationship or business]. A friend once said "Na you get time", but with what I learn about people from their FB page, I'm motivated to continue. I see a person's FB wall as a mosaic of their experiences. If you could understand and interpret it then you'll end up learning more than a person would ever tell you. I've read people's wall post as far as their first post and it felt like a journey into their past...I have to add boredom was not unrelated. You could find out their favourite food, likes, dislikes, people they had gone out with and when they broke up. One fact is what you read about a person on FB is over 90% true.

When you read a person's FB profile and you see interests like dancing, singing,'s most likely to be true. Most people self-disclose on FB than to their friends. Your best friend/boyfriend/girlfriend might not know your fav. movie but if I have you on my friends list I would most likely know. Self-disclosure happen to be an important element in relationships. A difference between your friends/boyfriend/girlfriend is the level of information you wish to share BUT on FB most people share it all including phone numbers. FB is a social network with an online disinhibition effect. People get to do or say on FB what they wouldn't dare in person, that makes them more honest. If someone offend you and you express it on FB you would be so blunt. People have lost jobs and made enemies out of friends by being honest on keyboards. We do this all the time and yet unaware others do so as well. A FB friend once wrote, "I'm now ready to go, who is coming with me." The comments that followed suggested it was a party. Truth was the person was referring to committing suicide.

But FB is not the only place people express themselves, there are other social networking sites and even if you learn nothing from reading status of others, you get to be inquisitive.

I have this friend who had girlfriends ranked in the other of affection. The main focus was the number one girl. During one of my days of going through my wall I saw an update from a girl I had no idea how I added, "Now I know men can't be trusted." The statement as usual had comments. It was one that struck me, if was my friends number one gf, "So you are just finding that out, that's why it's better to have another guy by the side." I would have taken it lightly but there was no 'lol' ending the statement. She obviously meant it and that led to a question, was she cheating on my friend? Yes my friend was cheating on her and telling her he was had never crossed my mind (Penis Code). I wasn't pro cheating or believed in double standards... just don't cheat on me and my friends. I decided to find out more before raising dust.

She usually came over to my friend's place [her boyfriends'] and we just chatted. What I had planned was to go through her phone- inbox, sent items, and call list. I found the perfect opportunity and as we were gisting, I got hold of her Nokia phone, I was in my Sherlock Holmes state of mind. I noticed the call list had only one number, my friend's, which I implied she emptied it recently. I went to 'inbox' and 'sent items', they were empty except from texts she sent to her boyfriend and one other girl. I had no evidence only increased suspicion. I was about to quit when I saw an icon, 'Delivery reports'. Eureka! She obviously had no idea or forgot to empty it. There I saw people she had texted and there was a reoccuring familiar name. What I saw next made me thank the Nokia phone, the delivery reports also contained about 30 characters of the message sent but it doesn't take a genius to figure the main idea of the message. The oldest message sent to that guy was, "Thank you for telling me", I can't remember the exact words but others went like, "I'm coming", "I'm on my way,"... The icing on the cake was, "You are way better in bed than..." I was shocked, I looked over at where they were, smiling, sharing jokes, and in my mind I could see them laughing at each other. It was like he was saying 'this chic better leave soon before number two comes' while she was saying, 'in his mind this guy feels he's sharp, I'm lucky we even use condom'. They were both playing games and deceiving themselves with facial expressions. At this point Inspector Facebook was on the fence.