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What Happened To Those New Year Resolutions?

Do you remember writing up stuff that you wanted to achieve this year?

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Familiar?
So maybe you did not really write it but you probably thought along those lines right?
A new year comes with lots of enthusiasm and optimism, that we find even the weakest willed of us hoping to at least do better. But somewhere between January and March or say when the newness of the year is wearing off, we sink back into our usual routines.

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Is that always the case for you?
Sometimes we forget, or may begin to consider those resolves unattainable, or may have despaired because we suddenly saw ourselves doing those things we promised to stay off from, or maybe it’s sheer laziness…
Whatever it is, this post is more like a wake up call to say,
“Hey! Get up and get moving!”

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Are you still dilly-dallying about writing your goals for this year, pray do. If need be, hang it on your refrigerator or mirror or anywhere it is that you will see it and be reminded. The important thing is to TRY.

So what if you tried and have failed several times?
So what if you’re eating healthy and working out but the scale seems stuck at that number that you want to reduce from?
So what if you really want to stop that habit but something just keeps drawing you to it?
So what …?
Encourage yourself, ask help from your friends or family if you have to, but never take your eyes off the goal.
Pick up from where you left off!
Say to yourself-
“I am more than this!”
“I can do this!”
“It is possible!”
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You can finish that book year, you can loose that weight this year, you can pass that exam this year, you can quit that habit this year, YOU CAN

Move on!
Don’t despair!
Be Determined!

Always remember these words by Vince Lombardi;

“Winners never quit; quitters never win.”

Are you keeping up with your resolves for this year?
Please feel free to share them and how you have been able to!

Literary Award Alert- Emerging Voices 2015

Thank God It's Payday

Hi everyone,
I found this online and thought to share, especially for African authors of works of fiction published in English.

Please click here to find out more about eligibility and how to enter the Inaugural FT/OppenheimerFunds Emerging Voices Awards.

Cell 2

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Cell 2 is a compelling account of the experience of three friends as they battle with the incredible reality of being literally pulled out of their beds, laballed armed robbers, arrested, tortured and finally dumped in a police cell. As they come to grips with the reality of their situation, we witness their transition from innocence to loss of innocence. Ugo has crafted a play which appears to be based on a knowledge of the workings of the police crime control unit.

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Ken Erics Ugo is an actor, singer and author who hails from Enugwu Ukwu in Njikoka local government area of Anambra state, Nigeria. He is graduate of Theatre Arts at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka and is currently one of the leading actors in the Nigerian movie industry, Nollywood.
He is a stage and screen actor who has showcased his art on various platforms to earn a reputation for himself in the Nigerian entertainment scene, and has won several awards, including the City People Entertainment Awards as Best Supporting Actor of the year 2014, and the Afriffimo Awards U.S.A as the Best Lead Actor of the year 2014.
Cell 2 is his first published work, inspired by his personal experience.

Copies of Cell 2 are available for sale on Konga.com or here

Who else has read Cell 2? Please drop your comments and reviews.

On Bandwagonism- A Mind of One’s Own

In these days of Social Media, when the “#” is sure to be consulted in a gathering of superpowers, one must become wary and vigilant. No sir, I do not mean of Social Media or any of its paraphernalia.

Some may assume that the Bible was probably referring to only matters of the heart or relationships when it admonishes that we guard our heart with all diligence, but from the obvious, I am positive that it was preparing us for bandwagonism. Is there any wonder that the same Bible also advices us to “test every spirit?”

A recent experience at the salon illustrates the dangers of not having a mind of one’s own. Usually when it comes to braids, women want to ensure that it is nicely done and all, so when a friend highly recommended and directed that I try a group of coiffuses that work together in the heart of a popular Lagos slum, I decided to explore the possibility of perfectly done braids. Besides who does not like to be complimented with ” nice braids, who made them?”

While the hair is being done, the ladies embarked on discourses of every known topic under the sun and that day I discovered that I had the capacity to hold laughter or laugh mentally. So while the convos are on, one finishes receiving a call from her boyfriend (as we would later find out) and suddenly announces

My bobo say e go carry me go Tankpa Bey on Sunday.”

I am grateful that I did not exploit the impulse to burst into laughter at that moment or I’d never had learnt a vital lesson about majority influence.
While the others oohed and aahed, I studied their faces from the mirror and could read the struggle on the face of another one (let’s call her Ronke) and was wondering what it was about till she suddenly blurted,

Olodo, na Tarkwa Bay.”

You would think that the correction would be welcome but to my amazement, the others mobbed on the poor girl, insisting that they had never heard anyone say “Tarkwa Bay” before and the correct pronunciation had to be “Tankpa Bey”. Unfortunately for poor Ronke, she was outnumbered and I could obviously read the struggle on her face as she mentally compared both enunciations. To worsen matters, the madam who had been silently observing suddenly remarked,

Bia Ronke, ya oversabi don de too much for this shop. Since my mama born me, na only Tankpa Bey I de hia dem de call that beansh.”

Yours truly should have said something then, but decided to take a pass and remain a spectator. To my amazement, Ronke suddenly went,
Abeg no vex, I been think say na T…,”

Only for the madam to interrupt,
You been think say? Oversabi na him go kill you.”

It might be a funny experience but many people are like poor Ronke. Because they have failed to develop a mind of their own, they are easily sucked in to an ideology, only because it is popular.

Thus it is imperative that we watch and be careful of what we take in or subscribe to, for the sake of our hearts which we must jealously guard from such vices as popular opinion and propagandists who seem to be having a field day under such appellations as “activist” (for whatever cause). If you can read this, then you can very well access resources to confirm a piece of information even if it “trends” and even then, you must always remember to look beneath the surface and despite social/peer pressures, HAVE A MIND OF YOUR OWN.

GVU (Grace, Vision & Unity) -Dubamo Aginghan

Dubamo Aginghan’s GVU (Grace, Vision, and Unity) comes across as a breath of fresh air in these times when popular opinion is clamouring for the removal of the Nigerian National Youth Service Corps. More than merely being a corper’s memoir, it is the story of patriotism and love for one’s fatherland.

The chronicle begins just before he receives his NYSC redeployment and follows through the author’s experiences for the next one year. Despite the challenges faced by he and his counterparts, Dubamo’s optimism and trust in God is mind-blowing.

For non-fiction, this work is witty, humourous, and sure to inspire, as well as encourage young Christians. Albeit a corper’s memoir, the message is timeless and relevant to everyone who hopes for a better Nigeria.

The Purple Violet of Oshaantu – Neshani Andreas

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Set in Oshaantu village, somewhere in Namibia and narrated in English mixed with Afrikaans and Oshiwambo, it is a riveting story of the lot of women in marriage. Mee Ali is lucky. Her husband, Michael treats her well and has never laid a finger on her. The case is however the extreme opposite for her friend, Mee Kauna who does not only have to deal with an abusive husband but is doled the harsh treatment meted out to widows when Tate Shange returns from his lover’s house and suddenly dies.

According to the Shange family, they are justified because Kauna did not shed a tear for their brother or give a speech at his funeral and may have poisoned him for revenge. But one cannot help but wonder if putting up a show of pity would have made things any different for Mee Kauna and her children.

This is one book that will make everyone pause and think about how women are and should be treated. It also raises questions about what defines a good marriage. Micheal is considered to be under Ali’s thumb because he treats her with respect, while the same community that turned a blind eye to Kauna’s travails while her husband is alive, suddenly persecute her for not mourning him as expected.

My favourite character has got to be Mee Kauna. It is amazing how she finds strength to deal all that life hands especially after Shange’s death when everyone expected her to break down under pressure from her in-laws. Also, she display strength of character when she confesses her evil wishes for Mee Ali and brave enough to vacate her homestead with her head held high. Her transformation from docile to assertive woman is amazing.

Although the novel focuses on the plight of women, and shows women as resourceful and strong in spite of all, I would not be in a hurry to classify it as feminist. Then, a review of this book would incomplete if there is no mention of hypocrisy in the Church, or the attitude of church folks to people in need using Mee Maita as example. There is also the case of Pastor Shoopola who agrees to bury Shange, probably because his family made a good donation.

The story also touches on other issues like friendship, family loyalty, chauvinism, infidelity, ignorance, sisterhood, and survival. For a first novel, Neshani Andreas concocted an amazing debut.

Happy Easter !

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Basically everyone defines Easter as a period when we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. For some it is a time to abstain from luxuries, for others it a time to fast, or to just reflect.
But when I ponder on Easter and everything Jesus went through just for me, I think it should be a time to celebrate the greatest love ever shown to man. The Bible says that:

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
-John 15:13

This love is special because of what it signifies. Because Jesus laid down his life for me, the Bible says that:

“… ye are not under the law, but under grace.”
-Romans 6:14

Therefore this love means freedom. It means that I can stand with my head held high knowing that I am saved,sanctified and belong to the Most High. Because of this love I became the righteousness of God. The most mind blowing fact about this love is that I did nothing whatsoever to deserve it. He just chose to love in spite of my background or whatever yardsticks by which anyone might choose to judge me with.

For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.So then [it is] not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.
-Romans 9:15-16

Thus when I say Happy Easter to you, I am saying “congratulations on your freedom brought about by Christ’s sacrifice”. I mean to say “let us celebrate the fact that sin has lost its hold over you”. What I really am saying is “Hey! You have been set free, and discharged, and no one, not even the devil can file an appeal on your case.”

So, I say Happy Easter!
May this love fill our hearts and spill over so we can spread it to others.

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