Guest Post: “Of One”, a Poem by Michelle Chikezie


Many a time
Too big we look,
But blinder the greater

Many a time
We do not realise
Nothing on its own is

‘Bits-of’ make ‘big-ons’
Not oceans but hand locked drops,
Organs only heart-merged cells,
Building of humble blocks,
Devoted lines of rain pour
A world of nations,
Nations of natives,
Natives in families

Dear and near
The red roses aglow,
Small and large alike
Treading tearing thorns

Tree breeds twigs,
Tree feeds twigs
Tree needs twigs to feed
Twigs need feed of tree
Tree and twigs are one.
Twigs hurt, tree hurts,
Tree happy, twig happy

Connect to conquer
No crushing competition
Love to liberty
For all, down to you.

(c) Michelle Chikezie, August 2010

Photo credit:

Analogy of a Plane Crash

By Gbenga Awomodu

This article is dedicated to the lives lost in the October 2005 plane crash in Nigeria. It is exactly five years today since that unfortunate incident.

Photo credit: iStockphoto

Late in the night of Saturday October 22, 2005, about an hour before midnight, there was a News Alert on Channels Television. It was reported that a Bellview Flight 210 had lost contact with the control tower of the local wing of the Murtala Mohammed Int’l Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, just three minutes after take-off. The following day, after frantic searches and conflicting reports, the wreckage of the aircraft was found in Lisa Village, near Ifo in Ogun State. All 117 passengers and cabin crew members aboard the plane were confirmed dead!

In the wake of the unfortunate incident, experts suggested possible reasons for the mishap. One of such reasons was a possible strike of lightning against the aircraft. They said that lightning could have shut the system down and caused a break in communication between the plane and the control tower. The ugly incident had its effects on the families and relatives of the deceased, Lisa village and its environs, and our country Nigeria. I’m sure the poor villages have not forgotten in a hurry how their major source of water supply was polluted and the other difficulties it created for them. Various government institutions, non-governmental organisations and private companies lost staff members in the disaster. Family members, relatives and beneficiaries of some of the victims of the plane crash must have really had a big shock.

For every event that occurs, whether good or bad, there is at least a lesson that can be learnt. The circumstances surrounding the plane crash are analogous to our lives as human beings. God, our creator, owns us and He guides and directs our lives. He is the control tower of our lives. We, His creatures, are expected to be in constant touch (communion) with God from the nadir (base) to the zenith (peak) of our lives, and then back to base.

In life, as we set out on our journey into the unknown, we are to commune with our control tower, to know when the route is free of hazards and when to prepare for take-off. When the time comes, God tells us to take-off and so do we. We then get to a stage where the journey becomes smooth and we hardly need to move higher again. We just need to maintain a good contact with God so that He can continue to direct our course in the clouds of life. But then, at this point in time during our adventure, we often tend to get carried away by the fun things of life; activities and issues that make us tune away from God’s frequency. It might be crazy/stupid for a pilot to intentionally break communication with the control tower, but that is what most of us do! We begin to conduct our lives and daily routines as we like and gradually begin to care less about God. As soon as we succeed in life or make our first big break, we ignore Him, and stop communicating with Him like we used to.

While some people stop communicating with God just because of their affluence and comfort induced numbness, others are forced to do so in the face of trials and tribulation. Disasters, whether man-made or natural, may strike our lives and render us deaf to God’s call and instructions. We may also become less sensitive to His love for us. It could be very disastrous if we lose communion with God. Anything can happen. Our lives can crash totally and, unfortunately, many people who are connected/attached/related to us in one way or the other may go down with us. That could just be the end!

We need to draw closer to God every single day of our lives. When last did you pray for more than fifteen minutes a day? Can you remember the last time you studied more than two chapters of the Bible and you still felt like going on and on? Sure, these are not outright measures of your spirituality, but constant and effective study of the word and a sound prayer life are good for the spirit, soul and body. If you have not been communicating regularly with God, now is a good time to return to Him. God is ready to speak to you. He has missed you a great deal and can’t just wait longer to hear from you and have you back to Himself once again!

Now is the time for you to return to Him and build a deeper relationship with Him. Connecting back to God too late may be very costly and disastrous. Tomorrow may just be too late to do so!

Ford Foundation (West Africa) @ 50 and My Youth Dialogue Nomination

Last Friday, I received a confirmation (of my nomination by Action Health Incorporated) to participate at a Youth Dialogue organised by the Ford Foundation as part of the ceremonies to mark their 50 years of grant making in West Africa. From Friday October 1st to Monday October 4th, I will be joining 15 other young leaders from across Nigeria to converse on the issues we believe would shape the future of Nigeria and our generation.  An orientation workshop will hold in the first two days while the Youth Dialogue will hold on the third day.

By the end of the programme: I hope to have tonnes more of credible information about my country Nigeria, I should have contributed meaningfully to a discourse that would transform my life and Nigeria like never before, I should have been empowered and equipped to make more informed decisions, objectively contribute to policy formation and take actions that would indeed bring needed change in particular sectors of our dear country.

Many programmes like these have held before and we seem not to find traceable impact weeks, months and years afterwards, but I have made a personal decision to make this count. I do hope that the fifteen other delegates make this count in numerous ways too.

Guest Post: Nigeria @ 50: Another Look at the National Pledge

By Kemisola Kasali

I pledge to Nigeria my country

To be faithful, loyal and honest

To serve Nigeria with all my strength

To defend her unity

And uphold her honour and glory

So help me God

In a week’s time, post-independence Nigeria will be 50. And that has kept me thinking for some time now. I see everything going on around me and how our nation has struggled over the years to stand tall. Why do we remain backwards when many other countries have made tremendous progress over the years? How do we get out of this mess?

How wonderful it would be if we all could individually observe and do according to the National Pledge! We need to go back to the beginning. This powerful pledge has been from inception and holds the key to our progress as a nation. A pledge is a solemn promise or undertaking to do something. Every time you recite the National Pledge, you promise to be faithful, loyal and honest in your dealings with other people. You declare that you would serve Nigeria with every bit of strength you have in you.

To defend the nation’s unity, you mean that you would look beyond ethnic and personal gains and consider the nation as an entity – you place national unity above tribal inclinations. Do you have an idea what it means to uphold Nigeria’s honour and glory? It implies that whatever you are doing, wherever you find yourself, you seek to represent the nation as a good ambassador! You promise to be involved in only those things that would bring honour and glory to Nigeria, not shame and dishonour.

The National Pledge ends with the line, “so help me God.” In essence, those who coined this powerful statement of promise also acknowledge the relevance of God in this matter. This is not to shift responsibility to God so that we become lazy and renege on our promises. It is a pointer to the fact that we cannot truly carry out these promises without God.