GENERAL ISSUES

WHY DO WE MISHANDLE MONEY? 💰

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Oftentimes, I’m scared to collect my balance after carrying out transactions. And this is because it’s either that the balance I’m getting is comprised of dirty, torn notes or I’m getting  the wet and  smelly ones. Can you imagine the disgust; you pay a bus conductor with the finest naira note and he gives you smelly one[s] in return in the name of balance! What effrontery?!

That’s how the other day after I’d gone to the ATM machine and withdrawn the freshest five hundred naira notes (too fresh so much so I was jealous of even spending it), I gave one of them to the bus conductor only for him to give me smelly N300 in return. Trust me, I refused to collect it…

Seriously, why do we like money so much yet we cannot afford it some respect? Instead, we squeeze it, crumple it and make it wet and smelly; why? Some even write and draw on valuable naira notes… Can you imagine such utter disrespect?! Unfortunately, after they have finished tearing it and patching it up with gum they would still want to spend it and get more money. Please tell me how money will like to belong to those who mishandle it! 

Let me not even get started on those people who like to hide money in their private areas. I mean… how can someone even think to bring their most precious organs in contact with money which is typically very dirty and bacteria-ladden? The unfortunate thing is that in the process of hiding money in their privates, they inevitably contribute to its dirtiness. And after that someone would give it to me? Disgust! 

It’s important that we learn to handle money with care. No one who owns real diamonds or gold would ever mishandle them, yeah? That’s because those are very precious things to possess. Well newsflash- money is equally precious! So handle it with care please.  

“The Girl I love hates me!”

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Ever found yourself in this type of traumatic situation whereby the person you love hates you? We all get to have this experience at least once in a lifetime. And trust me, it can be hard to deal with; speaking from experience. In my own case, I tend to blame myself for everything that went wrong. You see, I used to have it with this girl- good communication, gorgeous smiles each time we met, long nights of texting and other great and fantastic moments. At this point, she loved me unconditionally even more than I did  love her. And before I knew it, I allowed the fact that she loved me too much to get into my head. So I began to feel cocky and very important, even as she remained so nice to me in spite of the fact. But then she eventually got tired and gave up on me. And it wasn’t until then that my mind cleared even as I came to my senses.

She had had it with my attitude, tired of having to constantly stroke my ego. As a matter of fact, she was tired of loving me. So she hated me instead! It was such a rude awakening because never for once did it cross my mind that this girl could stop loving me the way she once did. Unbeknownst to me, while I was busy feeling so good with myself and taking advantage of her, I failed to realize that humans have the tendency to change either suddenly or gradually. Until there I was…taken unawares by her sudden hatred for me. It was shocking how disdainful towards me she suddenly became. It was even worse than I ever did treat her. And I couldn’t take.

It does feel bad when someone who once loved you begins to hate you. As a matter of fact, the bad feeling can go from worse to worst when you realize that you still love this person who now hates you. There is every tendency of you making attempts to convince this estranged lover to love you again. You may even embarrass yourself severally in the process of doing this convincing. And at the end of it all, your chances of succeeding with getting your estranged lover back could be zero to none. And then you begin to think of all the things you did wrong to her and how you wish you had been different. And when it so happens that your former lover has moved on with someone else, your jealousy grows and knows no bounds.

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Here is something we should all bear in mind- most of those who suddenly start hating their former lovers do so after trying for long to endure some things about their lovers which they always disliked. In other words, rarely does a boyfriend or a girlfriend just start hating you for nothing. There is always that one thing in your relationship that always caused problem and which one of you complained about but failed to work on. And it is always that one thing to leads to hateful breakups. And here is something else I have learnt- the moment someone who once loved you decides to leave you because of your unrepentant attitude or the way you treated them badly, you will find it difficult to accept the fact that s/he is leaving you. And in your bid to make them stay, you will end up loving them more while they only hate you the most!

That said, it is important to work on yourself as a lover. Ensure to reciprocate the level of love shown you by your lover. And never fail to appreciate your lover too. Remember, he or she could have been with someone else but they chose you. Moreover, there are several other humans out there with whom they could match and flourish. Do be one of those who do not appreciate what they have until they lose it.

Cherish your lover today and always!

-Emmanuel Abara Benson

 

The Diary of a Non-Male Chauvinist

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I know they think I’m weird. They call me a Feminist, and then wonder if there is even such a thing as a Male Feminist. And so they make light of my masculinity, going short of calling me a woman. But I am not a woman; I just dearly love women. Moreover, I am  by every standard male and masculine. But one thing I will never be is chauvinistic. I cherish the fact that a woman’s vagina birthed me. And in the same vein, I hold the belief that everyone deserves the right to be respectfully treated at all times, no matter whether it is a penis or a vagina that they have in between their legs.

Growing up as a little boy, I was always in awe of women. I always knew that there is something very special about them; something almost beyond human. Their resilience to life’s hurdles amazed me and inspired me. And so did their beauty, which up till date continues to mesmerize me by the way. But with every passing day ever since my childhood days, I came to realize that these beautiful set of humans called women aren’t always treated with as much justice as they deserved. Being female in our clime (African traditions) and indeed elsewhere can be synonymous with disadvantages. Women are short-changed at every level and aspect of life. And so I realised earlier on that this injustice has to be called out, repudiated and denounced. This is so important, because short-changing our women simply amounts to short-changing the whole of humanity. And this isn’t what we truly want for ourselves; is it?

As I have become grown with my worldviews expanded, I have come to become a total advocate/supporter of feminism. It is a good thing to be, because having availed myself the opportunity to learn about the long history of female oppression and the struggles that led to breaking down most of the glass ceilings, I knew right away that I had to become a part of the movement- the movement to break down the rest of the glass ceilings that is. Moreover, the truth is that I myself have been negatively impacted by the injustice called gender bias. My paternal grandmother was of course female. And even though I never met her, I knew the story of her life. She was a woman short-changed and disadvantaged by her own father, maybe not purposefully, but because it was what the culture specified. You see, she was the first child of a local Igbo Chief. Her father had the resources to put her through school just like he did her younger brother. But she never got that opportunity because it was uncultured for a young girl to go to school when she ought to be married and “tending her husband and children”. Consequently, my paternal granny never got the most basic education. This was unlike her brother who acquired a masters degree back in the 1960s. To cut this story short, my grandma, who married a local farmer, died as an impoverished farmer, whereas her brother became one of the most influential men of his time. The difference between them was that one got the opportunity to thrive whereas the other was denied that same opportunity…just because she was female.

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The decision to treat women and girls with respect does not do any harm. Unfortunately, the reverse is the case when women’s rights are violated and abused by culture and maybe legislation. I therefore use this medium to call on every well-meaning man to embrace gender-equality; embrace humanity. Respect and empower women, because s it is often said, the rest of humanity succeeds and thrives when women succeed and thrive.

Best!

-Emmanuel Abara Benson

 

THIS IS HOW YOUR CELEBRITIES OBSERVED INDEPENDENCE DAY ON SOCIAL MEDIA

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Today, Nigeria got a year older since gaining independence from Great Britain in 1960. And to celebrate that, Nigerian celebrities joined the very day people to share their thoughts on various Social Media platforms including Twitter and Instagram. Below [with pictures] are the moments captured for your reading pleasure.  Enjoy, please!

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Osas Ighodaro Ajibade went about her Independence Day message all inspirational, writing on Instagram “Through it all; even the storm… We will and always will stand tall!!! Happy Independence Day Nigeria. #God Is Great.”

Tope Tedela kept it simple and short saying “May all be well with her. Amen.”

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Meanwhile, Iyanya prayed a lot, writing-“On this Independence Day, I pray for a speedy recovery from recession. I pray for the safe return of the Chibok girls. I pray for peace and prosperity in our father land. I pray for long life for you and I so we live to witness our dear country achieve her full potentials. Amen. God bless Nigeria. #Proud Nigerian.”

Genevieve Nnaji wrote “That’s how we stay surviving. #HappyIndependenceDayNigeria”. She then added a Nigeria emoji, a palm emotion and a heart emoji. Lots of emojis, girl.

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TY Bello wrote “Happy Independence DAY Nigeria. May we add new feathers… Let it be said that we found new ways to move forward… That we shook off every heavy weight and learnt to fly beautifully again.” She added lots of hashtags afterwards.

Also, Kehinde Bankole wrote “Happy Independence Day Nigeria. You spirit will expel the bad worms eating you up. Ase! Thankful for my motherland…#ProudlyNigerian”.

Others kept it simple, including Enyinnaya Nwigwe who donned a fancy heart with an obvious  Nigerian touch and simply wrote “Nigeria lives in me”. Rita Dominic also expressed hope, writing on Instagram- “A nation that will be great. I believe! Happy Independence Day Nigeria.”

There was also a touch of comedy in the entire felicitations with Falz Da Bahd Guy writing “#istillblieve in a better Naija! Eez juz a mattalov patient.”

THE CHARMING, COMFORTABLE AND PRIVILEGED LIVES OF NIGERIA’S AFFLUENT ONES

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Let’s be clear about one thing- wealthy people get away with many things in this Nigeria. What can I say…theirs is a privileged kind of life! It only goes to show how some people are indeed above the law and as a matter of fact use the constitution as their foot mat. But then again they are the privileged ones! Imagine that while some of us have to attend grammar schools, others are flown in private jets to exotic places like the Swiss Alps to attend private schools. Even those whose parents’ are “patriotic enough” to let them study here end up attending schools where a term’s tuition for a single student can pay the salaries of nearly one hundred [UNDERPAID] civil servants. That’s not all. Have you [yet] heard the story about some rich  Abuja kids who literarily fly from Abuja to Lagos everyday to attend school? I mean, they fly into Lagos every morning, get chaperoned to the school  and then fly back to Abuja by the end of the day… under-aged school children those are! It’s almost incredible, right? Well how about those fancy men and women who simply cannot “risk their lives” by taking local flights from Abuja to Lagos;  so they fly to London instead and from there head to Lagos!

In the world of Nigeria’s super rich, life comes with less worries. Everyday is like Christmas, and no place could be better than home. These super rich black humans would rather do their shopping in Paris than actually live there. And the reason is not farfetched- there are numerous privileges they enjoy by being rich in Nigeria which they cannot enjoy elsewhere. Therefore, they travel often but always return home. Home sweet home, they say as they touch down at MMA. The ladies  among them, (who are fanciful by the way and consumes the latest high fashion items from the best designers) have just flown first class from Europe where they shopped  for lipsticks and luxury gowns at Chanel and other well-lit stores in the main streets of Paris. The men on the other hand are good money spinners themselves. They would always import the latest cars and purchase properties in choice cities across Europe, the Americas and of course Dubai. Also the extremely wealthy ones  acquire private jets to be able to fly around, in most cases either borrowing or stealing to do so. All of these things keep happening in the very  place where most people  find it difficult to buy yellow garri and cook okra soup for dinner. Sad stuff!

Now just so we are clear again, I actually do love rich people. I know a couple of them personally, and I’d love to be so fucking rich myself when I grow up. *Winks. The problem I have with the privileged ones however is that most of them get away with serious offenses! You are probably familiar with the likes of Obanikoro, Stella Oduah, Allison Madueke, Bode George… I mean, the list is endless. These people stole billions of naira and never got to face the full weight of the law. But then again there are other stories of crimes committed by wealthy Nigerians we don’t get to read in the dailies. Sometimes last year, a friend of mine in Abuja was walking home from work (because he couldn’t pay the bus fare) when he got knocked down by a fanciful middle-aged rich woman. She simply carried him to the hospital, dumped his a** there and ran away. But that incident was one that ended nicely because a similar incident (also in Abuja by the way) ended tragically. This man was crossing the road when another fancy car crushed him to his death…

These crimes never get investigated. These wealthy people (some of them), they abuse their employees and their house helps and nothing happens. They are the MDs who receive fat salaries and give peanuts to the ones that actually work hard for the money. And when serious economic recessions loom, they quickly sack thousand of employees so that they may continue earning fat salaries. For their crimes they get nothing near a reprimand. Their stories are unlike the petty thief who get cut to pieces and burnt for stealing petty stuff like bread, transistor radios, cheap cell phones.

I am speaking out on this topic because I believe there needs to be change in our justice system. But most importantly, the impoverished masses must be enabled out of their penury. The time is now!

~Emmanuel Benson

ENDURANCE

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Let’s speak clear- working out is hard. This is especially so when you have to do it the first time and need to get it right. All that squatting and stretching, pressure on the joints and what have you…aerobics? They all have a way with discomfort! A famous American singer (who looks great by the way) once declared “I hate working out! I mean I’d rather sleep in my bed than go jogging…” Yeah that’s how stressful all that yoga poses and press ups can be. But as bad as it may be, you will agree that people who consistently abide by the good lifestyle of exercising live healthier while looking good at it. That’s right; all that sweats do pay- with abs to die for and hour glass figures.

But this is not a post about exercise and healthy living. Instead, it is about endurance. You might have been in a circumstance where your patience almost snapped and you felt really frustrated… Well that’s the way of life and we all do feel that way every now and then. I have felt that way through most of my adult life. And you know one thing it taught me has been how much endurance pays.

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Now this is not to sound sanctimonious or even motivational ’cause that could be boring. But I guess there is no how that could  be avoided when talking endurance . So here we go- the ability to endure hardship is one vital attribute that helps humans get through life. I bet we all already know that. Unfortunately, for an [obvious ] reason nobody wants to endure anything; I mean that shit is hard, right? Pardon my French by the way. But it’s really hard to be in a fix and not be able to help yourself. It’s hard to want something and not have it and yet be extremely patient for a long time. It’s difficult to see others have the same thing you need/want and only to be hopeful that perhaps someday it would be your turn. But here is the good part- endurance helps us focus on the things that we need to accomplish till we actually  accomplish them. Just like we endure the pain of exercise so we can burn all those calories and live healthy and fancy lives, so does enduring the hard times (while being optimistic ) help us  get things done and be happy.

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Often times as creative people, we have it rough trying to break through. Most times you can even  become so disappointed and frustrated to the extent of just wanting to give it all up. And there is more- sometimes you may even give up; that happens. But here is the message – you don’t have to. You see…you are not the first [aspiring] singer/songwriter, actor, model or writer who have been in that position. You are definitely not the first inventor who got frustrated in the attempt to show the world the good things you got to offer. Examples are riff and I cannot mention them all. However, the point is for you to always bear in mind that you will have the last and loudest laugh while telling your story for the inspiration of those coming after you.

By the way this was meant to inspire you and perhaps [not] sound all so boring…

~Emmanuel Benson

“ALMOST TALENTED”

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The field of arts is a subjective one; no doubt! It’s like “beauty” which  is in the eye of the beholder. Take for instance, a particular singer’s voice was once described as “annoying” by a judge during a singing competition and for that reason she was disqualified during auditioning. Surprisingly, the same annoying voice landed the singer a major recording contract which saw her producing major hit records one of which later got her a Grammy nomination. And that’s not all the instances! Many manuscripts of aspiring authours that were once rejected by publishers have won major literary prices such as the Orange Price for Fiction and the Booker Awards. Indeed, artistic expressions are no doubt subjective, and like it or not it will remain this way for a long time to come.

 
But this is destructive to creativity! The truth is that it takes a lot of courage for a rejected creative mind to keep pushing after being tagged “talentless” or flatteringly “almost talented”. The subjectivity in the arts is like an onslaught on creativity because many a creative minds have given up altogether on the craft as a result of it. This then brings me to why many creative judges are often so blunt (if not outright harsh) when passing their assessments on works of art- how would [THEY] have felt if their works were ever assessed that way? Do they ever realize that just because they don’t like a particular work of art does not make it “talentless? Questions…
Please note this is not to say there aren’t people “who do not have it” and yet continuously strive to be recognized for a talent that simply isn’t there. Indeed such people do exist, but this post isn’t about them. I am particular about the so called “Near Talents”. Why would anybody rubbish another person’s artistic creativity just because personally [you] do not like it? Mind me, this body of “arts” being assessed (be it music, stories or even films) are not meant for the judges alone; these are arts intended for the public. And reject it all [you] want there are many other art lovers out there who will find it interesting. So then why does artistic expressions have to be judged subjectively in the first place? Should there be some level of objectivity?

 
Of course there is some level of objectivity in the arts- something I’d like to call determinants of good art. A singer will have to have a good voice and should be able to sing on pitch to qualify as a singer. A writer should impress me with words and tell fascinating stories in which ever form he chooses. An actor must act a character so well such that when I compare [their] character(s) with their real selves I get blown away. And painters? Let me see the pictures! Now he is the problem- there are countless individuals out there who possess these basic qualities of art and yet have been rejected for not having what it takes. Interestingly, quite a number of these people have gone ahead to prove the judges wrong by excelling beyond expectations.

 
Mind me, this post is not against literary critique. As a matter of fact that is not even what is being talked about right now. Instead, I am talking about the immense subjectivity, the biases, the favoritism and the corruption in the arts. Perhaps this is not a topic up for discussion most of the time, but I have decided to bring it up because be it as looked over as it is, many creative are affected by it on a daily basis.

~Emmanuel Benson