Saturday

Band of thieves and purveyors of ineptitude.....

"BARBARIANS AT THE GATE"
CC™ Viewpoint 

It actually does not matter what aisle of the 'political' spectrum you belong to, this rudderless leadership has failed Nigerians, more-so even worse, since the inception of the 4th Republic in May, 1999.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) held sway for fifteen mostly inglorious years (1999-2015) under the stewardship of the following:

a) Rtd. General Olusegun Obasanjo (1999-2007)

b) The late Umaru Musa Yar'Adua (2007-2010)

c) Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (2010-2015).

For at least 12 of those first 15 years of the 4th Republic, corruption, by and large, became the norm while the climate created by avaricious greed, further engendered a general state of lawlessness.

Kidnappings and killing orgies became commonplace and have continued unabated, till today.

While some may say that there was a certain degree of accountability, with the accompanying restoration of some semblance of sanity during Yar'Adua's brief reign, the truth remains that his vision of a better Nigeria was never going to see the light of day, given the scavengers and marauders he was surrounded by.

For this piece, we will absolve Umaru Yar'Adua of some of the PDP misrule when one considers that he was never in charge, as the cabal (whose stranglehold on the proverbial throat of Nigeria has never been in doubt) led by the one Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo et al essentially pulled his strings. When he (Yar'Adua) then dared to think for himself, he was murdered by the demonic powers behind the Nigerian throne of oppression.

Then came Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo again, as in his quest to maintain his inordinate hold and that of his fellow 'barbarians at the gate' on the destiny of Nigeria, he ensured that the next Nigerian leader would come from his "political family tree'. Thus, the dysfunctional reign of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, an absolute and utter misfit for any public office, was visited upon Nigerians.

It remains telling that only Goodluck Ebele Jonathan could have made an ethnic and religious bigot attractive to the same Nigerians that had rejected him (Muhammadu Buhari) a resounding three times (2003, 2007 and 2011) prior to his resounding victory in the 2015 general elections.

In case some have forgotten how we got here, this was the "scorecard" of the PDP misrule, particularly under Jonathan:

a) Coffers-to-personal account accountability (or lack-there-of) where public funds were used for personal gain including the extravagant wedding of GEJ's daughter http://www.myjoyonline.com/…/goodluck-jonathans-daughter-re….

b) An aviation industry (once led by Femi Fani-Kayode and then later by the certificate forging Stella Oduah) that was nothing short of a death trap. I should know as I lost a close relative, Deji Falae (Ondo State Commisioner for Culture and Tourism at the time) to one of those unfortunate but far-too-common air crashes under the PDP misrule.

c) Fabricated economic numbers embellished masterfully by sycophants in the Finance and Economic Ministries to obfuscate the fact that the average Nigerian could not afford the most basic amenities under the Jonathan misrule.

d) Religious over-reach where Jonathan consistently employed openly the advise and services of so-called Christian Pastors and even embarrassed the country by taking his whole cabinet to Israel to "pray". Can you imagine the outcry from the same hypocritical CAN (Christian Association of Nigeria) and their egunje leadership if PMB had gone to Saudi Arabia with his whole cabinet to pray?

e) Under Jonathan, the bigotry and balkanization of Nigeria was effectively set in motion as Jonathan was essentially committed to the disintegration of Nigeria; and this was made even more apparent with the systematic decimation of the Nigerian Armed Forces. Jonathan, in an act of subterfuge against the Nigerian state, then employed foreign mercenaries (former South African soldiers under the apartheid racist regime) to fight Boko Haram at the end of his unfortunate misrule. 

f) Do Nigerians also forget that Jonathan attempted to scuttle the democratic process during this period of shame and disgrace to the Nigerian nation by postponing the elections?

g) The use of the DSS to terrorize, intimidate and kill (thousands of people disappeared without trace) Nigerians in the North, the SE and the SW (in particular) with Femi Fani-Kayode, Ayo Fayose and Musiliu Obanikoro leading the assault on political opponents in the SW with the firm support of the DSS, much like the days of Nazi Germany. 

h) Nigeria became a pariah state under Jonathan and effectively lost its voice both on the African continent and globally. Anyone who underestimates the forces that are against this current administration with its stated desire to sanitize the nation must be truly misinformed. The forces are both spiritual and physical and I will caution Nigerians that those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.  

And the circus has continued under the rudderless and despotic rulership of Muhammadu Buhari, who has proven himself to be just as incompetent a leader as he was as a soldier. Sadly, the teeming masses of hardworking and highly industrious Nigerians remain saddled with an unbecoming band of brigands and marauders as so-called leaders.

Nigerians need to realize that they are merely pawns in the game of high stakes chess being played by a corrupt and morally bankrupt political class. The truth is they (the political class) even intermarry and are not bothered by ethnic or religious so-called differences, while at the same time fanning the embers of ethnic and religious warfare among the desperately poor who just would like to have a fair shake in life, for once. 

As the late Sunny Okosun said in his famous song from almost three decades ago, "Which way Nigeria. Which way to go?" The answer lies squarely in the hands of the Nigerian people and the sooner they realize how much power they have to make a change, the sooner that change will come.  

Heaven, as they say, helps those who help themselves. 

Friday

Perceptual Organization - Making sense while thinking

Editor's Corner

In a recent article, I had stressed the fact that the human brain, in addition to being the most extraordinary creation of the human anatomy was also the epicenter of thought, conviction, emotions, consciousness and purpose. In this particular article, the subject/topic of perceptual organization will be the focus of my discussion.

It therefore seemed appropriate to start this discussion with a reference once again to the human brain as perceptual organization would ‘naturally’ be a part or component of the intricate but detailed functionality of the human brain. Knowing fully well that learning may play a significant role in perception, there is the school of thought that perceptual organization does reflect innate properties of the human brain. More recent work in perception seems to infer that studying perception is basically studying the human brain. In particular, there seems to be more and more, an alignment of such school of thought with physiological observations of the human brain.

What is Perceptual Organization and even more importantly, how does one organize raw sensory stimuli into meaningful experiences that would ultimately make sense (at least to a recipient of the experience generated by the said stimuli)? Furthermore, in the process of making sense of the ‘sensation’, is the thinking process an evolving one and subject to an individual’s perceptual organization of his or her experiences? Also, what set of mental activities are involved in this organizational process and how ’influential’ are they in the process? Perception involves organization and grouping as well as distinguishing objects from their surroundings.

I do believe and will state that the organization of raw (sensory) stimuli into experiences that make sense and are meaningful to an individual or larger society would normally involve some cognitive functionality. This cognitive functionality would comprise processes such as thinking, knowing, remembering and in some cases, forgetting. This would seem to be a logical sequence as it makes for an organizational process that would ultimately seek to incorporate that which is favorable while through the forgetting process, eliminate that which the senses deem unfavorable.

Throughout this process, the importance of knowledge and experience will ultimately be established as knowing as a result of thinking generates a learned experiential state which whether favorable or unfavorable would ultimately help develop a perceptive frame of reference for the individual concerned. Now, I am not sure if I am making that much sense here, but I am simply stating what I think is in essence the obvious based on my own perceptual organization.

In asking some of the questions I asked in the second paragraph of this article, I did not do that with the aim of necessarily answering the said questions. I did that in the hopes of asking even more questions by creating a forum for intellectual conversations as to what perceptual organization really is all about; without seeking to necessarily narrow down its definition. What seems to be rather clear however is the realization that knowledge and experience are probably the most critical components of the perceptive process since those two factors may in fact help us better make sense of the input to our sensory systems.

According to Gestalt laws of grouping, there is the school of thought that the whole differs from the sum of its parts (Ehrenstein, W. 1930). The Gestalt theorists for the most part in the 20th century sought to single out the brain processes that would ultimately be responsible for the organization of perception. They argued that while simple sensations essentially consisted of organized percepts, the percepts themselves could be said to be basic to experience. There are also various arguments out there that seek to identify whether or not these experiences are for the most part private (Ehrenstein, W. 1930).

As I had stated earlier, perception, in addition to involving organization and grouping, also involves the process of distinguishing an object from its surroundings (Ehrenstein, W. 1930). There is the notion that the moment we perceive an object, the surrounding area around the said object is then the background. Gestalt psychologists are the biggest proponents of this school of thought. That would seem to suggest a concept of separating the figure from the ground and according to the Gestalt school of thought, this process is replicated throughout the various experiences of the percepts themselves (Ehrenstein, W. 1930).

There is no question this is probably one of the most difficult (if not the most difficult concepts - perceptual organization) for me to chew on, but I am of the school of thought that a thorough understanding of the subject itself is an evolving one in as much as the knowledge and experience of the percepts themselves, as part of the complex make-up of the human brain.

References
Ehrenstein, W. (1930). Figure-Ground Segregation. Current Psychology of Cognition, 117, 339-412.

Thursday

GOD...Please Buy Me A Jet: Today`s Church.... Years Later

CC™ Religiosity

The toxic legacy of the Confederacy and why the monuments remain a painful vestige of its sordid past

Caroline Randall Williams
By Caroline Randall Williams

I have rape-colored skin. My light-brown-blackness is a living testament to the rules, the practices, the causes of the Old South. 

If there are those who want to remember the legacy of the Confederacy, if they want monuments, well, then, my body is a monument. My skin is a monument. 

Dead Confederates are honored all over this country — with cartoonish private statues, solemn public monuments and even in the names of United States Army bases. It fortifies and heartens me to witness the protests against this practice and the growing clamor from serious, nonpartisan public servants to redress it. 

But there are still those — like President Trump and the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell — who cannot understand the difference between rewriting and reframing the past. I say it is not a matter of “airbrushing” history, but of adding a new perspective. 

I am a black, Southern woman, and of my immediate white male ancestors, all of them were rapists. My very existence is a relic of slavery and Jim Crow. 

According to the rule of hypodescent (the social and legal practice of assigning a genetically mixed-race person to the race with less social power) I am the daughter of two black people, the granddaughter of four black people, the great-granddaughter of eight black people. Go back one more generation and it gets less straightforward, and more sinister. As far as family history has always told, and as modern DNA testing has allowed me to confirm, I am the descendant of black women who were domestic servants and white men who raped their help. 

It is an extraordinary truth of my life that I am biologically more than half white, and yet I have no white people in my genealogy in living memory. No. Voluntary. Whiteness. I am more than half white, and none of it was consensual. White Southern men — my ancestors — took what they wanted from women they did not love, over whom they had extraordinary power, and then failed to claim their children. 

What is a monument but a standing memory? An artifact to make tangible the truth of the past. My body and blood are a tangible truth of the South and its past. The black people I come from were owned by the white people I come from. The white people I come from fought and died for their Lost Cause. And I ask you now, who dares to tell me to celebrate them? Who dares to ask me to accept their mounted pedestals? 

You cannot dismiss me as someone who doesn’t understand. You cannot say it wasn’t my family members who fought and died. My blackness does not put me on the other side of anything. It puts me squarely at the heart of the debate. I don’t just come from the South. I come from Confederates. I’ve got rebel-gray blue blood coursing my veins. My great-grandfather Will was raised with the knowledge that Edmund Pettus was his father. Pettus, the storied Confederate general, the grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, the man for whom Selma’s Bloody Sunday Bridge is named. So I am not an outsider who makes these demands. I am a great-great-granddaughter. 

And here I’m called to say that there is much about the South that is precious to me. I do my best teaching and writing here. There is, however, a peculiar model of Southern pride that must now, at long last, be reckoned with. 

This is not an ignorant pride but a defiant one. It is a pride that says, “Our history is rich, our causes are justified, our ancestors lie beyond reproach.” It is a pining for greatness, if you will, a wish again for a certain kind of American memory. A monument-worthy memory. 

But here’s the thing: Our ancestors don’t deserve your unconditional pride. Yes, I am proud of every one of my black ancestors who survived slavery. They earned that pride, by any decent person’s reckoning. But I am not proud of the white ancestors whom I know, by virtue of my very existence, to be bad actors. 

Among the apologists for the Southern cause and for its monuments, there are those who dismiss the hardships of the past. They imagine a world of benevolent masters, and speak with misty eyes of gentility and honor and the land. They deny plantation rape, or explain it away, or question the degree of frequency with which it occurred. 

To those people it is my privilege to say, I am proof. I am proof that whatever else the South might have been, or might believe itself to be, it was and is a space whose prosperity and sense of romance and nostalgia were built upon the grievous exploitation of black life. 

The dream version of the Old South never existed. Any manufactured monument to that time in that place tells half a truth at best. The ideas and ideals it purports to honor are not real. To those who have embraced these delusions: Now is the time to re-examine your position. 

Either you have been blind to a truth that my body’s story forces you to see, or you really do mean to honor the oppressors at the expense of the oppressed, and you must at last acknowledge your emotional investment in a legacy of hate. 

Either way, I say the monuments of stone and metal, the monuments of cloth and wood, all the man-made monuments, must come down. I defy any sentimental Southerner to defend our ancestors to me. I am quite literally made of the reasons to strip them of their laurels. 

Caroline Randall Williams(@caroranwill) is the author of “Lucy Negro, Redux” and “Soul Food Love,” and a writer in residence at Vanderbilt University. Ms. Williams' oped piece was originally published in the New York Times

Wednesday

Nigeria: The prophetic consequences of dining with the devil.....

President Buhari (L) and the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo (R)
CC™ Viewpoint - By Ikechukwu Amaechi

Shortly after overthrowing Muhammadu Buhari's military junta on August 27, 1985, Ibrahim Babangida set up what he called the Nigerian Political Bureau. The 17-member panel inaugurated on January 13, 1986, with Samuel Cookey, a professor of political science, as chairman was charged with the responsibility of refocusing Nigeria's political trajectory by chiseling out a new socio-political order. 

With membership cutting across academia, business and labour - Abdullahi Augie, Bala Takaya, Dr. Edwin Madunagu, Prof. Oye Oyediran, Mrs. Hilda Adefarasin, Prof. Eme Awa, Prof. Tunde Adeniran, Prof. Sam Oyovbaire, Dr. Ola Balogun, Haroun Adamu, Comrade Paschal Bafyau - the bureau reached out to prominent Nigerians. At the end, it received well over 27,000 memoranda on issues ranging from religion to ethnicity and ideology from ever-willing and rambunctious Nigerians. 

But Obafemi Awolowo was not sold on the project and refused to participate.

In his rejection letter addressed to Cookey, Awo was clairvoyant and made a damning proclamation. 

"I received your letter of February 28, 1986, and sincerely thank you for doing me the honour of inviting me to contribute to the national political debate.

The purpose of the debate is to clarify our thoughts in our search for a new social order.It is, therefore, proper that all those who have something to contribute should do so. I do fervently and will continue fervently to pray that I may be proved wrong. For something within me tells me, loud and clear, that we have embarked on a fruitless search. At the end of the day, when we imagine that the new order is here, we would be terribly disappointed.

"In other words, at the threshold of our new social order, we would see for ourselves that, as long as Nigerians remain what they are, nothing clean, principled, ethical, and idealistic can work with them. And Nigerians will remain what they are, unless the evils which now dominate their hearts, at all levels and in all sectors of our political, business and governmental activities, are exorcised.

"But I venture to assert that they will not be exorcised, and indeed they will be firmly entrenched, unless God Himself imbues a vast majority of us with a revolutionary change of attitude to life and politics or, unless the dialectic processes which have been at work for some twenty years now, perforce, make us perceive the abominable filth that abounds in our society, to the end that an inexorable abhorrence of it will be quickened in our hearts and impel us to make drastic changes for the better."

But in the event that Nigerians were not attuned to heeding the advice, there was, Awolowo said, an alternative option: "To succumb to permanent social instability and chaos." Nigerians obviously settled for the alternative option and 33 years after, we are still treading that self-destructive path. No matter how anyone cuts it, Nigeria is in trouble. The country under President Muhammadu Buhari's watch is gradually but inexorably succumbing to permanent social instability and chaos. When Nigerians elected Buhari president in 2015, they believed that they were enthroning a new order. Change was the slogan. Today, not a few are terribly disappointed. Truth be told, with Buhari, we embarked on a fruitless search.

Buhari has neither ruined himself nor about to. In fact, he doesn't care. I doubt if he gets it. But Nigeria is worse off for the shenanigans of his government. And the conduct of the November 16 governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi States reinforces the prevailing pessimism.

Under President Olusegun Obasanjo, elections were a do-or-die affair. As bad as that was, Buhari has taken the ugly trend to the next level, a notch higher, where it does not really matter whether you do or you don't, being a Nigerian willing to express a contrary political opinion makes you an enemy of the state with dire consequences. Which explains why the Kogi State PDP Woman Leader, Mrs. Salome Abuh, was burnt alive in her home just because of elections.

In broad daylight, hoodlums that were not masked arrived at Abuh's house, blocked every exit, knowing full well that she was inside, poured petrol on the building, set it ablaze, stepped back and fired gunshots continuously to scare people away from rescuing her. Terrified villagers who apparently knew the assassins could only watch the gory spectacle from afar, helplessly.

Meanwhile, the murderers were having a ball - smoking, drinking and chatting away - without a care in the world while their victim was wailing and begging for mercy. The blood-thirsty thugs waited patiently, mocking their victim. They had the licence to kill. Like a child sent on a stealing voyage by his father, who loudly and without a care kicks the door open, they stood there supremely confident that their bestial act will go unpunished.

That is the level Nigeria is right now. Almost three weeks after, nobody has been punished for this crime. I dare say that nobody will be made to pay for this heinous crime. Lesser incidents will convulse any other country. Abuh's tragic fate reminds me of Mukaila Abdullahi, Kano State INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, who was burnt to death at his Kano GRA residence on April 4, 2015 together with his wife and two children.

Abdullahi presided over the presidential and National Assembly elections. He didn't live to superintend over the governorship and state Assembly elections. His remains were buried in his home state of Jigawa even before investigations started. To date, there has been no serious attempt to unravel the mystery. Why should there be when the police concluded without any investigation that the entire family "suffocated after inhaling black smoke emitting from the split air-conditioner hose that caught fire after an electrical fault." To date, Kano residents and Abdullahi's neighbours dispute that account.

The Kano State police commissioner who made the announcement, Ibrahim Idris, became the Inspector General of Police, IGP, shortly after. Under Buhari's watch, Nigeria seems to have succumbed to permanent social instability and chaos. The homes of Nigerians are routinely burnt down and innocent citizens murdered in cold blood for daring to assemble as was the case of Ifeanyi Ejiofor, lawyer to leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, this week.

The government cherry picks which court order to obey. The National Assembly has become a mere rubber stamp with lawmakers misconstruing patriotism to mean allegiance to the president rather than the Constitution of the country.Nigerians have been cowed into silence. A Hate Speech Bill that prescribes death penalty is hanging over the heads of naysayers like the axiomatic sword of Damocles. There is also the Social Media Bill. The ominous warnings are back. Mere protest is a treasonable felony that must be firmly and ruthlessly put down. Any act of dissent is a potential banana skin.

On Tuesday December 3, 2019, the Department of State Services, DSS, sounded an ominous warning, claiming to have uncovered plots by some undesirable groups to cause a breakdown of law and order in parts of the country by instigating protests, mass action and violence. "These predetermined actions have been designed to take place simultaneously in the major cities across the geopolitical zones in the coming weeks," DSS spokesman, Peter Afunanya, announced in righteous indignation.

"Considering the implications of these on public safety and national security, the Service wishes to warn the anti-democratic elements responsible for these heinous plots to desist forthwith from their inglorious acts. Consequently, parents are advised to rein in their wards and enjoin them not to allow themselves to be used to foment trouble. Similarly, heads of academic and public institutions are to warn their students and employees respectively from engaging in any untoward activity against public order. The Service and other sister agencies are at alert and will ensure that peace and security are maintained in all parts of the country before, during and after the festive periods." 

Recently, the world also watched as Nigerian soldiers shot at innocent #EndSARS protesters as the latter were demonstrating against the activities of the murderous Special Anti-Robbery Squad Unit, accused of murdering innocent Nigerians, mostly the youth, in cold blood. There are also reports from inside sources that the Buhari administration is in a clandestine alliance with Boko Haram as the Northern leaders seek to hold that as a dark horse over the country, ahead of the 2023 elections. 

The gloves are off. Buhari claimed he was a born-again democrat. Nigerians believed him. But can the leopard actually change its spots? Hardly! Buhari is exactly who we thought he was and Awolowo was right. He saw this coming 34 years ago.

Tuesday

Thomas Isidore Sankara: An African lion with an everlasting legacy.....

CC™ Videoscope

“Imperialism is a system of exploitation that occurs not only in the brutal form of those who come with guns to conquer territory. Imperialism often occurs in more subtle forms, a loan, food aid or even blackmail. We are fighting this system that allows a handful of men on Earth to rule all of humanity.”
― Thomas Sankara

Monday

3 Risk Management Functions for Secure Cloud Governance.....

CC™ Technocrat

The method of managing risks on cloud has witnessed a big shift as the pressure on governance model to track variants of risk has become high.

While risk formats have changed in the industry, business continuity is said to be affected with the ushering in of cloud model. The pressure on cloud service providers is increasing in terms of identifying and tracking new risks emerging out of this trend, which sometimes has an adverse impact on the business. 


Sethu Seetaraman, VP/Chief Risk Officer, Mphasis, says that risk management basics do not change with cloud. However, the way in which a control is implemented and monitored is what has changed. “As far as BCP/DR is concerned, the organisation owns BCP/DR in case of Infrastructure as a Service and Platform as a Service. Service providers will own BCP/DR in case of Software as a Service. 


You must build or take these services from the cloud service provider based on the availability risk,” avers Seetharaman. 


Why 3 functions of Risk Management are Key to Governance.....


Just as with IT governance, risk management in cloud governance must fulfill three functions argue most CISOs.

Atul Pandey, The ICT Rainmaker: GRC, GSD, PMO & BPM, mentions the three functions: a) Assessing risk b) mitigating risk, and c) measuring the success of that assessment and mitigation.

Pandey says that this is not a static scenario. Risk shifts continually, and the cloud governance model must be able to track these shifts.

Stating facts established by Thomas J. Betcher in his report on a clear analysis of risk and cloud in Cloud Computing: Key IT-Related Risks and Mitigation Strategies for Consideration by IT Security Practitioners,’ Pandey puts forth the type of risks to be managed under the cloud model. 

They include:
  • Policy and Organisational risks: Lock-in, loss of governance, compliance challenges, loss of business reputation, cloud service termination or failure.
  • Technical Risks: Availability of service, resource exhaustion, intercepting data in transit, data transfer bottlenecks, distributed denial of service.
  • Legal Risk: Subpoena and e-discovery, changes of jurisdiction, data privacy, licensing.

According to Pandey, one particularly important observation in the Betcher report relates to risk and frequency. Many traditional IT governance models are designed around IT life-cycles of around three years. 

Within these cycles, IT audit leaves a detailed trail of version and upgrade information.

With the cloud, this changes. Not only does the cycle shrink massively (change can now be measured in hours and weeks rather than in years), the actual versioning of the technology behind the service can remain completely hidden from the consumer. 

As a result, cloud governance models must be able to assess risk from this entirely new perspective.

How Continuity is affected.....

Pandey believes that continuity in itself is solicited as the USP of cloud, at least in comparison with traditional infra.

Business continuity management (BCM) is the result of critical functions and processes assuring that a system performs its mission without incidence, and that the entity responds to all acts or events in a planned, consistent manner. 

Business continuity planning is rehearsed through scenario analysis which:
  • Targets new, evolving or projected risks affecting business operations.
  • Simulates and evaluates the effect of disruptions in information systems support and response time delays.
  • Provides the ground for experimenting on effective solutions to every type of BCM disruption entering into the scenario.
“The analysis to which reference is made is instrumental in elaborating BCM clauses in service level agreements (SLAs) with cloud computing providers,” says Pandey and adds, “Sound governance assures that business continuity studies are part of the evaluation process preceding any top management decision in adopting cloud computing; it also constitutes a factor in choosing a cloud provider.”

Reprinted/Republished with permission from: www.csoforum.in

Sunday

A powerful message from the late venerable Archbishop Benson Idahosa

CC™ Sunday Revival

This was a powerful message from the late Bishop Benson Idahosa. Simply riveting and worth listening to as we wade through this dark world of uncertainty and spiritual paucity.

Saturday

The 21st Century Marriage


From a recent study done in the United States of America, about 49% of all marriages end in divorce and you might think the odds of failure of marriages will be much less for couples heavily involved in the church but I am sorry to shock you, it is not quite so. Ministries today reports the divorce rate up 279% in the last 27 years! This, if anything, is frightening!

Taking a survey of all ministers in all denominations, 50% of their marriages will end in divorce. A recent ABC News broadcast also reported that the divorce rate in the "Bible Belt" is 50% higher than in other areas of the US. The Christian-Based Research Group reported in January 2000, that 21% of atheists and agnostics will or have experienced divorce while 29% denominational Christians and 34% of non-denominational Christians will or have experienced divorce. This is a rebuke to the church! Where are we getting it wrong?

Most marriages are predicated on faulty foundations and marriages with such foundation cannot last. People get into marriage for the wrong reasons for some it is the wealth that will be available at their disposal, others for reasons other than genuine love entrench in God's approval.

I read a story about Tony Toto, of Allentown, PA. He operated a pizza parlor there. Tony Toto survived at least 5 attempts on his life, all arranged for or carried out by his dear wife, Frances, & her lover. Twice she arranged for assailants to beat him over the head with baseball bats. On one occasion she put a tripwire across the basement stairs in their house, hoping that he would trip over it & plummet to his death.

She also arranged for him to be shot, at least on two occasions. The first time she drugged his chicken soup so he would sleep soundly; he was shot in the head, but miraculously survived. The 2nd time he was shot in the chest, but only sustained minor injuries.

Even more miraculous than Tony's survival was his attitude toward his wife once he found out she was responsible for all of this. Tony said that he held his wife blameless.

When she was found guilty and sent to prison for arranging for his murder, he took their 4 children and visited her every week - every single week. Then when she was released from prison, she went back to their red brick home to resume her married life with Tony.

With his arm around her, Tony said, "We're more in love now than ever before.Wow! What a man! This is one very rare case, but how many people can live up with this? I am sure a lot of people would have thrown out the woman at the first attempt or probably kill her in the process. What is happening to our homes and marriages today?

Is your marriage going through a strain? Are you so stressed and worked up and thinking of calling it quits? Divorce should not be an option, you can work this through. During my counseling sessions, I have asked couples 'what attracted them to each other in the first place and if that object of attraction is still present.'

Most marriages get into murky waters when there is a downward shift in the relational disposition of either or both partners. When the gifts stops coming, the communication becomes brief and formal and the romantic sparks becomes extinguished…you had better watch out, you are standing on a divorce time-bomb waiting to explode!

Let me share with you some secrets that I have shared with my audience. It is embedded in the four letter word L.O.V.E. I am not saying love by mouth but this is love from the very depth of your soul, it's a connection you must have with your spouse, if anything comes in between this connection then you are on a dangerous path. Let's look at this together:

L - Living for One Another: Living for one another is one of the strong keys to living together till 'death do you path.' It means your spouse becomes the reason for your living. When you live for another it means you are dead to self, it means you are broken. At this stage, it is not about your qualification nor is it about how much money you earn more than your spouse…the moment you begin to see yourself as the more important part of the relationship then you are digging the grave for your marriage. When you live for one another, then you will grow in each other.

O - Open Up to One Another: Secrecy is a silent and gradual terminator of the peace and joy within the home. Many homes have been destroyed as a result of secrets that were believed to have been kept but later came to the fore. Your spouse has the right to know everything; that is why you are married. You owe each other that obligation. Open to one another and you will enjoy the peace that passes all understanding. Many individuals have held back secrets from their spouses which later inflamed them and their marriage never was the same again.

Openness rides on the wings of a healthy communication within the marriage. Couples, if when together are at lose of what to discuss or say to each other are already exhibiting symptoms of 'communication wilt.' Communication must be fun, informal and sincere. Openness is the first defense against external infiltration into your marriage. Be open about everything. Genesis 2:25 says "And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and they were not ashamed." There is no shame in being open. These should include our finances, sex, relationships and every other area.

V- Value for One Another: Value means worth. When you value your spouse then he/she is worth more than all the valuables of the world put together. A man that values his wife will not treat her as a slave. Learn to appreciate your wife. Treat her as the queen that she is and let her feel that sense of worth. How do you treat your husband? Do you discuss her with your friends and by extension make him a laughing stock before them. Do you disrespect each other before extended family members? Value means you are sensitive to the needs of your spouse and that you hold each other in high esteem. Do you value your spouse?

E - Encourage One Another: Your spouse should be your first pastor. It is not every problem or misunderstanding you take to the church or your parents. Be the shoulder upon which your spouse can lean on. There is power when you agree on something together. Rather than place curses on each other, make positive declarations of a better life together.

There are women who bathe their husbands with curses and true to their word, the man will never make progress and you cannot expect to have peace in return in such situation, the devil will succeed in turning that home to a battle field. Encourage and pray for another.

The success of one should be the joy and success of another. Don't take your spouse to the threshing floor of the public, since when he/she is ridiculed you will also be humiliated in your home. Make Jesus your focus. 

Face that challenge together and see God come out strong on your behalf. Your family will be beauty to behold and a reference point in the comity of families.

God bless you mightily! 

Gbenga Owotoki, is the founder and Presiding Coordinator Hephzibah Network International Ministries; a Ministry committed to stirring up the 'sleeping giant' in people for end-time exploits. A US trained Business and Change Management Strategist. He is widely known as the 'Change Driver' for his simple but yet unique ways through which he initiates changes that are rejuvenating lives and organizations and helping to restore hope in individuals who had completely given up. A widely travelled international conference speaker and Convener of the annual Giant Conference and Life Summit that have been a blessing to many.

Friday

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Africa's cultural and literary icon

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
CC™ Opeditorial - By Yahaya Balogun

When a Muse is within my reach or vicinity, my literary antenna captures the precinct or perceives the Muse. When you have an insatiable quest for knowledge acquisition, the muse in talented and good people around infatuates your literary urge. I am an ardent adherent of the muse any day!

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie makes us proud! She is one of our cultural icons and literary moguls in Africa! Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Yale University during the university’s 2019 commencement ceremony. 

She got this deserving award one day after delivering the Class Day address. 2019 marked the first time in Yale’s history that the Class Day speaker would receive an honorary degree in the same year. Chimamanda is one of the muses and Nigerian cultural ambassadors to the world. Chimamanda represents one of the best in us in Nigeria and Africa.

On November 16, 2019, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie received the Bookcity Milano prize during the Bookcity Literary Festival in Milan, Italy. She also appeared in an onstage conversation. Adichie's beautiful story in the United States and around the globe is being told beautifully in different forms by the world. And these effervescent forms transcend a single story being told by some Nigerians. But the deafening silence on her achievements by Nigerians is also very obvious.

Nauseatingly, why do we not celebrate the good ones among us? Why do the brown-envelope Newspapers in Nigeria, and social media hogwash us with naughty and noxious things? Why don't people rejoice with our collective achievements domestically and on the world stage? These are damning questions begging for honest answers! Chimamanda Adichie is not the Gucci-COZA, ELISHA ABBO, SYNAGOGUE, HERDMEN or RUGA. 

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is one of the representations of Nigeria's intellectual glory. Her achievements are cocooned in a meritocracy. Unfortunately, Adichie comes from the clime where mediocrity holds sway. Mediocrity always takes precedent over meritorious service in the homeland: the reason why Adichie wouldn't make any headlines in our brown-enveloped and hate-monger Newspapers in Nigeria. Nigerian passion for mediocrity is damning and alarming!

Meanwhile, Chimamanda Adichie is flourishing exceptionally in America's exceptionalism, abundant opportunities, and prosperity! The most glowing part of her story is her referential of Nigeria in all her expositions. She is a true patriot and amazon daughter of the soil of Nigeria. Adichie has a compendium knowledge and unique style in preserving Professor Chinua Achebe's literary encyclopedia. Some of our people stereotype Adichie for her beliefs in feminism and controversial academic presentations. Some Nigerian professors frown at her feminist postures, and uniquely essentials, but their inability to understand her multicultural intelligence and literary-know-how is bewildering and damning.

Interestingly, Chimamanda Ngozi's books have been translated into more than 30 different international languages. Her book Americanah made it to the list of the top best Barack Obama's 2018. Adichie is engagingly following the path of our cultural and literary giant---Prof. Chinua Achebe whose book "Things Fall Apart" has been translated to more than 50 international languages.

Chimamanda Adichie beautifies one of the human capital endowments we have known in Nigeria. It is unfathomable to see how unwilling Nigeria exports her best human resources (brains) to a willing world that utilizes them for its benefits. Nigeria is a reservoir of raw and untapped knowledge. The processed brains and other knowledgeable people currently residing in Nigeria are being abused and bastardized daily by the hostile environment. Jealousy, selfish motives and deliberate ignorance signal the hard times ahead of the country.

Consequently, Time actually heals! I hope time heals our people's self-hate, self-destruct and deliberate ignorance. There should be no burden in being critical about something or someone. But when you morph low to hate someone who is making progress because of his or her opinions on germane issues, you will need to make a critical visit to a psychologist for moral therapy.

While Chimamada's spiral self-made and talent are soaring high among the global academia, and in the international arena, her resenters are soaring deep in low-life of jealousy and confusion. Nigeria is a nation with abundant human capital. We are the number one exporter of human resources in the global world. Anytime I see Nigerians achieving a great feat in a competitive global community, my adrenaline-rush for our greatness always go beyond imagination and satisfaction.

Congratulations to Amazon Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. She is one of our cultural icons and ambassador extraordinaire! Let's celebrate her brilliance, candor, confidence, grace, and resourcefulness. We are very pleased with Adichie, and also very proud of her great literary talent and achievements.