“You need to find balance”: these words can come in form of an admonition, advice or appeal. The most common instance where we hear this is in respect of work and family. We are told to find work-life balance and when folks say this, they mean we should not be found to be tilting towards one spectrum of our existence at the expense of the other. The gender that hears this the most is female. Women are admonished to ensure they never neglect the home because of a career, and so, all her life, she is in a constant state of contouring herself in many different ways to see that she “finds that balance”.
Without boundaries, nothing is sacred. I could repeat this simple sentence throughout this piece in the hope that it would sink and I would have passed a cogent message across, but I would be breaking a basic essay rule if I did so. However, the unsettling news concerning the incessant spate of kidnapping, especially in secondary schools domiciled in the northern part of the country is not only worrisome, but also a clear case of playing Russian Roulette with the lives of those who form a part of the most vulnerable in our society—our children.
It happened in some foreign country. She had had her suspicions that he was cheating and had done her little homework such that she was able to catch him on a romantic date with another lady. She was enraged and proceeded to retrieve the clothes she had gifted him…right there on the streets. His protests and appeals for her to rethink her move were ignored; she wanted to humiliate him as he did her by sharing what should have been exclusive to them with another. It was mission accomplished in the end—she had paid him back in the most debasing way
February is one of my favourite months. For one, it’s the much-touted month of love and behind my sometimes aloof exterior, I’m quite the lover girl. Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but like it often does, the memories of the day linger long after the day is gone. For couples, it’s the one day even the shyest of them break their privacy rule to engage in some PDA. Singles dread the day as it represents a stark reminder of lost, unrequited or non-existent eros love, except, of course, the gangsters amongst them who cannot be bothered by all the fuss surrounding the day.
Many times, it makes sense to be silent. In a world where trouble is always brewing beneath the surface of even the most seemingly innocuous gestures, the option to be silent is a commonsensical one. Two shady politicians deploy verbal missiles to tackle each other; not your business, keep your silence game tight. Some random individual says something unsavoury about you; they may be seeking attention, be silent. Sensitive subjects like religion and ethnicity are being discussed and tempers are flaring; it makes sense to not exacerbate the situation. Be silent. However, in some cases, being silent takes on a more sinister meaning.
They say there are four or five stages of grief, but since I learnt of your passing, I have been stuck in the shock stage. I have wandered between shock and disbelief since the wee hours of Saturday when I stumbled on the Facebook post that would send me into a state of sadness that I last experienced when I lost my father. And since then, I have asked no one, in particular, the question, “How can Emilia die?” Indeed, how plausible is it that you no longer exist in this realm. It’s the most preposterous thing; bereft of a scintilla of logic, yet I find myself writing this piece…talking about you in the past tense.
Influencer, visionary, courageous, empath—these are some of the words that come to mind when considers attributes of the quintessential leader. We are told a leader takes responsibility, seeks to serve first before being served, and when things go south, he is ready to take the fall for it while sharing accolades with his team members in times of success. This is how society defines good leadership. But what does society know? Leaders in my part of the world have cracked the code of inimitable leadership in a way that trashes whatever their counterparts in other climes think they are doing.
COVID-19 is back and with a vengeance. The steady increase in the number of people who are infected every day is not the only source of worry. This time around, fatalities are on a worrying rise too. And with the government still tinkering with the idea of imposing a lockdown, it’s safe to say we have continued from where we were in 2020. Nevertheless, the coronavirus is not the sole source of concern for the Nigerian, these days, a citizen of the most populous black nation in the world has to make peace with the idea that he may wake up to a blocked telephone line, no thanks to the ill-timed directive to get the National Identification Number registration done.
In the part of the world I live, 40%of the population which translates to more than 80 million people live below the poverty line. But that’s not all, many of those who are fortunate to not fall within this bracket are only marginally doing better. One chronic illness and they are down to the dreaded penury group. Little wonder we are all about what to eat, how to survive, how to stay afloat amid the unending challenges that plague citizens of a consumer nation. Lofty ambitions are a luxury; in Nigeria, it’s all about being able to afford basic living expenses and keeping the kids in school.
Three things are certain in life: rain, tax, and Nigerians bashing their government for glaring ineptitude. Small pockets of conversations, large gatherings, a night out with friends, and commuter small talks have lamentations of irresponsibility on government’s path as a core feature. And this discontent that gives rise to criticism is valid. There’s no reconciling the abundance mother nature bestowed on Nigeria with her dismal socio-economic state.