A Tale of Two Evils – Nigeria 2015.

nig pix 2That phrase “the lesser of two evils” has been basterdized and clichéd in my opinion and as such should be relegated into the annals of verbiage, evil is neither less nor more. It is what it is: “Plain and Simple evil”. What is evil? Anyone or anything that is bad, sinful, morally reprehensible, and of the devil, yet we sometimes allude to wanting or choosing the lesser of two evils.

Evil is utterly corruptible, and that is the same evil that is less today, be rest assured it  will be more tomorrow. So what is there to choose from: less or more? Daunting undertaking eh?

Haven burdened you with my parody of a sermon, I beg to digress.

So, Nigeria, land of my birth will in a couple of weeks embark on a journey into a terrain which under “normal” circumstances is wrought with all sorts of intrigues, debauchery, and grandiose machinations – more so in that part of the world.

Nigeria will be attempting to elect its next president and as we fondly say “no stones will be left unturned” to ensure that there will be a “free and fair” electoral process, of the 64 +years of Nigeria’s independence, 28 of those years have been under military rule and a precedence of freedom and fairness is yet to be alluded to her political aspirations.

According to the pundits at freedomhouse.org “Nigeria is enjoying the longest stretch of civilian rule since its independence from Britain in 1960”, well I am not sure what has been enjoyed or who has enjoyed what in the country since 1999, yes there have been some semblance of progress here and there, but according to Fela Anikulapo-Kuti we are sadly still “suffering and smiling”, adapting to the same old routines under different schematic tags and being “managers” on different tiers and strata of the somewhat burgeoning society.

The impending elections presents the country with a very interesting conundrum of choice, this is because the two candidates on the ballot bring with them well laden baggage of deficiencies and precedence that is obviously not good copy as pressmen will categorize it. President Goodluck Jonathan the incumbent who has had so much “good luck” tracking his history of succession and accession to the seat of power, but unfortunately has been a harbinger of ill luck and embarrassment to the office he has occupied and to the nation as a whole, under Jonathan’s watch there have been an upsurge in terrorist orchestrated bombings, abductions, and the obvious misappropriation of funds at all levels of government and the ever deteriorating conditions of infrastructure.

Jonathan has vociferously portrayed himself as peaceful, yet Nigeria cannot even boast of the peace of the grave yard since he took over the reins of power. He has also made known that if not reelected he will spill some sleaze regardless of whose ox is gored, come on Mr. President what’s new, please spill and include your name and that of your family members on the list of your expose.

General Muhmmadu Buhari is well-known in the annals of Nigeria’s jaded military and political history, he was the appointed military administrator of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation during General Obasnjo’s military tenure as Military Head of State when the proverbial 2.8 billion (USD) disappeared into thin air. He also seized power from the Shehu Shagari government in 1983 when reports into the investigation of the missing funds was set to be unveiled. Buhari it was also under whose watch Nigeria recorded one of her worst human rights reports to date, from the incarceration of politicians (crooks in their own rights), to a clamp down on press freedom resulting in the arrest and detention of journalists and exponents of social injustice without trial.

To call his regime draconian is to put it very lightly. Also lest we forget Buhari was also the head of the Petroleum Trust Fund of which approximately 2.5 billion (USD), was inaccurately accounted for after Obasanjo was elected as president in 1999, go figure. Any way Nigeria has consistently proved to be the best at playing the game of political and power musical chairs anywhere south of the Sahara. To date the Nigerian judicial system is yet to at least give our leaders that have been purported to have embezzled funds in their care a fair chance to prove to the nation that these funds were not misappropriated, as they have said.

General Buhari has vehemently made it known to the Nigerian populace that he has been rehabilitated and that he is asking for votes not attempting buy or steal the conscience of the populace as he does not have a fist full of Dollars to spread around. Seriously?

President Jonathan is an indigene of the South-south a region that has been plagued with insurgence and terrorist attacks based on its marginalization regardless of the fact that it is Nigeria’s major oil hub. Although some sense of peace and normalcy returned to the region when a son of the soil became President by proxy after the demise of President Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua. Recently, there have been reports of the acquisition of military and/or combat equipment by prominent indigenes of the South-south for reasons yet to be divulged, they have also vowed that heads will roll if Jonathan is not reelected to the seat of power.

Buhari on the other hand, is from the North where Boko Haram has been terrorizing innocent citizens to the point that it has become the norm as nothing has been done to curb the activities of these tyrants, although Buhari says as a former military officer he will eradicate Boko Haram and its activities. Please can he tell us what has stopped him all this time from rendering his military expertise?

After all is said and done I am not actually sure which is the lesser of two evils here and I am very much aware how daunting a task it is to find a Nigerian with sterling qualities and integrity to bring us to the promised land, although I do believe that he or she is out there somewhere.

Nigerians have a very difficult decision to make and precarious situation looms before and after the presidential elections this March. We are a prayerful people but I m not sure we have ever thanked the Almighty enough for the bountiful gifts he has bestowed on our nation. We need to rethink a lot of things and discard the notion of business as usual and the culture of accepting whatever we are served by our so-called leaders some of whom we elected ourselves.

As Nigerians get set to go to the polls I have one question:  Which way Nigeria? And as our “leaders” always say when they come in to steal and plunder, “Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Written by: Folarin Lawrence

Fifty Shades of… Love? Romance? or Lust?

grey 2 There’s a great uproar over the movie Fifty Shades of Grey, some say it glorifies sexual violence against women. Some say it is like watching Kim Basinger and Mickey Rourke in their 1986 erotic romantic drama film: 9½ Weeks! While others believe it’s simply another overrated exotic romance story seductively crafted in an activated-freak-mode! Whatever way its address…it is still all about the explosive part of sex-on-steroids. Period!

The movie hits theaters on Valentine’s Day and promoters are positioning the story of an abusive boyfriend as a romantic story. I’ve been seeing plenty of campaigns launched against this movie. Thousands and thousands of churches across the nation are still campaigning against this movie, but I wonder what that campaign did for the cause of an individual’s belief? Hmmm.

But really, haven’t we always been submerged in an X-rated culture where ’Sexual Corruption” has penetrated to the highest levels?

Aha! Am wondering… should we be possessed by the cause of our faith? or ’what if the same energy, focus and funding that we put into a campaign against such movies were redirected towards funding ministries that moved in healing, setting people free or empowering them to dismantle the works of darkness? What if we redirected our energies from fighting a worldly movie to fighting for the people of God to experience the freedom, love and relationship with Him?

What if we channel our sense of radicalism into disturbing issues of sexual immorality and compromise in the church, Instead of being disturbed by the act of Fifty Shades of Grey? What if, I am finally able to sleep well through the night knowing that I will not be burdened or disturbed by the thought of darkness that my fellow pew members still struggle and fight in their lifetime relationships, committing suicide and getting divorces?

What if I’m still mad that people are still tormented and harassed by an enemy put under their feet just because the church doesn’t cry out for the power of God? Which makes me tremble when I know the high price paid for provision, healing and freedom that most of us don’t experience because of corruption in our own little ranks.

Really, maybe the movie is all about silly emotions combined into a make-believe outrageous sexual acts! Honestly, I don’t even plan to see the movie, I am well equipped from the little chapters I’d stumbled across years ago, but I know there’s going to be a great debate on it, especially within my teenage shelter family! I’m not going to judge or condemn them. Rather, I will learn from their perspectives and hopefully re-direct their passion. I have a bigger fight on my hands that I’ve given my life to, which is to ‘Revive the hearts in pursuit of doing extra-ordinary things!

So, if you’re one of the thousands, upset about this movie, I challenge you as an act of protest, donate to ministries that work with women such as “The Mordecai Project” that rescues abused women or “Project Lydia” that provides opportunities for abandoned widows and orphans. Connect with PHMC’s “Plain Talk” that educates teens/adolescents on how to reduce pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Be an advocate for promoting abstinence among young girls, mentor young men to embrace inner beauty in ladies and not view them as sex toys, coach abandoned women in search of love again, be that counselor or sex therapist your church community needs to inspire and put the flame back into dead marriages or relationship. Create your own uncountable colors or shades of positiveness by igniting that fire!

Yours in HOPE!


Why we need to burn some Bridges and target our slingshots!

burn b

A young handsome teenager stepped into the valley of fear. The youngest in a family of eight boys, simply could not believe his eyes. Tossing the giant’s threats and obvious advantage aside, He refused to accept what he saw. Instead, he chose to believe what he knew in his heart.

As the sun inched its way over the mountains that morning, neither Goliath nor the Israelites had any idea just how different the day would be. A cloud of terror hung over the Valley of Elah as snarling threats and vile promises spewed from his mouth. The intimidator strutted along grassy slopes, swinging an enormous club, his mammoth, ironclad feet pawing the ground like an irate bull, ready to attack.

With simple but certain faith and unreserved confidence in God, David stepped through the fear, ushering in the mighty presence and unparalleled power of God. Goliath met David that day. Hmmm, he mumbled to himself ‘This giant was going down! And the giant fell!

To burn “bridges” we simply need to learn how to embrace and accept positive changes in our lives! We have heard the saying to always be careful because we never want to burn bridges with anyone and while this does have some truth to it, sometimes we get so caught up in not burning bridges that we forget to ever cross over to the other side.

So, do you ever feel like you are repeating one day of your life over and over and can’t seem to find the right door to exit to open to something new? You wake up every morning and eat the same breakfast, go to the same job, with the same people, eat the same lunch and dinner, go to the same gym, get home and watch your same favorite show, go to bed and wake up to do it again the next day.

Maybe you experience the same thing in your marriages, friendships and relationships, it is the same fight and the same recurring problem over and over and there never seems to be a break through…you have hit a plateau in life and have no idea how to break it.

We are so willing to let go of the soda, the candy, and the lazy days, to get the body we want, but yet we are so stubborn to let go of the mediocre relationships, jobs and locations that no longer serve us to get the life we want.

We are too afraid to burn that bridge because once that bridge is burnt we no longer can cross back over to the other side.

We hold onto past love in hopes that one day they’ll wake up and see what we are worth, we hope that one day our boss will finally see our value instead of treating us like crap and give us that promotion.

The problem with this is when we wait and hold on to all these other things that no longer serve or help us towards the life that we want, we are giving away our power and destiny to things outside of us.

Unlike that cute teenager with his slingshot, I guessed he burned down that bridge by just a bold step! While we are still scared to let go because somewhere deep inside we are afraid that we may not get what we deeply desire and we keep all our bridges connected and sturdy to these attachments just in case we fail we can crawl back at least to our mediocre life.

It’s like you want to swim and refusing to jump off the edge of the pool. You cannot move towards the directions of your dreams while still holding on to those things that you don’t want as well. It doesn’t work that way. Life rewards those who take great leaps of faith and trust the process more than they fear.

Maybe it is time for you to burn that bridge that is holding you back from what you really want. Once the bridge is burnt, there is no going back. Yes, it can be scary and push you further outside your comfort zone than you ever cared to be, but it can also lead you to your dreams and desires. You already know what life is like on this side…so why not let go and break the plateau to find out what awaits you on the other?

In life there’s some stuff that needs to be cut off and some ends that need to be tied up for good. If you believe in fate, you understand that everything happens for a reason and sometimes you just need to move forward and never look back. Too many people cling to the past instead of marching towards the future. Anything worth achieving means making sacrifices. If that means permanently closing some doors, so be it.

For someone reading this, the good news is that what lies ahead is no surprise to God. In fact, He has already been where He is asking us to go. That reason alone empowers us to face every tomorrow with hope, knowing that whatever touches us must pass through His hands, with His permission.

It is not God’s plan for us to dwell in fear or to let fear rule our lives. He has already set in motion the defeat and fall of every giant we will ever face. Our responsibility is to step through our fear, facing every giant in God’s power and with His promises firmly planted in our hearts and minds. The Holy Spirit will guide the path of His truth to its destined mark, taking down the giants lurking in every shadow.

Yours in HOPE as I share one of my favorite songs by Rebecca Ferguson and John Legend.