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Friday, 30 December 2011

Thank You!!!

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As the year 2011 draws to a close, I would like to say a big thank you to all my blog followers especially all those that have remained active (you know who you are). Your comments have been invaluable and I remain ever appreciative.

Whenever the end of any year approaches, there's always an air of optimism and hope that the new year will be better than the previous. I've been truly blessed this year with a great family but I pray and hope 2012 will even be better not just for me but for you all and your families. Whatever your spiritual or religious affiliation, please do remember Nigeria in your thoughts and prayers. Also remember all those victims of various violence that befell our country in 2011.  I don't do prophecy but I imagine 2012 will be a big year for Nigeria, that will either make or mar it; I hope it's the former.

Watch out for my 'Give a book, save our future' campaign which I'll be posting about in the new year. I touched on this briefly in my education blog.

God bless and see you in 2012 :)

Sunday, 25 December 2011

All I want for Christmas is Peace

I planned to post something rather uplifting and joyful on Christmas day afterall that is what the day is all about. However, it's difficult to do so as I woke up this morning and on turning on the TV, I was greeted with the despicable news of a bomb blast outside a Catholic Church in Suleja, Niger State, killing at least 21 people. As if that wasn't enough bad news, separate bomb blasts have happened in Jos and Damaturu respectively, again killing innocent worshippers. Back in July I wrote a post about Boko Haram and the Culture of Militancy to highlight the growing insurgency in Nigeria and the need to nip in the bud what is gradually becoming a political albatross of some sort. Well since then, bombings and killings by this militant group has now come to stay with many lives and properties destroyed. These latest incidences on Christmas day, when Christians remember the birth of the saviour, Jesus Christ seems to be a step too far.

Why did they choose to cause havoc on a day that signifies joy and happiness? Why did they choose churches as their targets? What do they intend to achieve by killing innocent people whose only 'crime' was to worship their Lord on a day they believe the saviour was born? I wonder what will be going on in the minds of the victims family and friends. Christmas will forever represent sorrow and unhappiness.

Nigeria is a troubled nation and sadly we may have to contend with these mayhem and instability for a while because I do not believe we have the political leadership to deal with the situation. Unless ofcourse we Nigerians finally reclaim our country.

May the souls of the victims of the Christmas day bombings find peace in the Lord, Amen.

Merry Christmas and a prosperous new year ahead.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Love can conquer suicide

During the last summer holidays, I took my family up to Eastbourne, in East Sussex on the east coast of England to visit a good family friend. Eastbourne is a small, peaceful and a beautiful town with lovely beaches. It can be quite busy around that time of the year and attracts a fair share of visitors. This was quite evident as we drove through the town centre overlooking its pier and coastline. I took the picture below when we went up the hills from where you can get a stunning view of the sea front.
Whilst the picture may represent some uplifting beauty of nature, sadly I was told it's also notorious for suicide in the past by victims throwing themselves off the adjoining cliff not seen on this picture. The question I kept asking myself was how can a place harbour such beauty and peace and yet has become a place where sorrow and unhappiness is hidden away. I found myself asking the same question only recently following the sudden death of Wales National Football manager and veteran footballer, Gary Speed. Like many people, I just could not comprehend how someone who looked 'happy' a day earlier after making an appearance on a TV program would take his own life the next day. This incident happened only 3 weeks ago and since then there's been at least two other incidents reported by the UK media, one in Leicestershire and another in Leeds. In each case, the father killed his family and tragically took his own life. 

When I was growing up in Nigeria, suicide was something that I hardly heard or read about or maybe it was under-reported, I don't know. In a world where social networking is gradually taking over and challenging long held perceptions, it's inevitable issues like suicide will quite possibly creep into our thought processes. I know some may argue that Nigerians love life so much they can never contemplate doing such. But we said that for suicide bombers and is no longer news that cases of suicide bombing in Nigeria have been reported and sadly may continue to happen.

In the wake of these incidents, I've heard comments that suggests people who commit suicide are selfish. It's very easy to be judgemental but the point is that these things happen and would continue to do so. I would rather look for answers as to why it happens and find ways to create awareness to combat it instead of play the blame game. In my search for answers as to causes of suicide, I found there aren't any known causes of suicide. However, there are known factors that can make people more vulnerable to suicide. The one that stands out for me is having a mental health condition. I'm not a medical expert to give an expert opinion on issues to do with mental health but it wouldn't surprise you to note that there are many people walking around the streets who appear normal but in fact are burdened by all sorts of problems.

In the current gloomy economic climate around the world and in Nigeria where the gap between the rich and the poor are getting even wider, people need to support and reach out to each other. The world needs love to combat a lot of mental and suicidal problems. I believe there's enough love to go around the world but we all need to do our own bit. There's no better time to give and share some than this season of Christmas which seems to be losing its meaning to consumerism. But that's a topic for another day.


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