7 SIMPLE STEPS TO STAYING ALIVE AND AVERTING AN ACCIDENT IN THE EVENT OF A TYRE BLOW OUT

7 SIMPLE STEPS TO STAYING ALIVE AND AVERTING AN ACCIDENT IN CASE OF A TYRE BLOWOUT.

On the 6th of March, the Nigerian people were slapped in the face with the abrupt, tragic, yet totally avoidable demise of a top ranking government official.
After the unfortunate death of Nigeria’s Minister of State for Labour and Productivity, James Ocholi (SAN), due to an accident occasioned by a tyre blowout it has become imperative to share the following simple steps for survival in the event of a tyre blowout. 

* Note that all these should be done within a maximum of 2 minutes after the blow-out

(1) DON’T PANIC:- If you have passengers in the vehicle it is likely that everyone in the car will be in panic mode. You will need to shut out all the people screaming around you and concentrate. 
Your car will develop a mind of its own if a blow-out occurs at top speed, so you must calm yourself down and be in control if you want to take charge. 
If you and your car start misbehaving at the same time either of you will eventually take charge, and the chances of it being you are unlikely.

(2) HOLD FIRMLY TO YOUR STEERING WHEEL:- Hold your steering with both hands. DO NOT TURN VIGOROUSLY. Avoid turning at all if possible and concentrate on the road as well as both your rear view and side mirrors as you simultaneously study and take advantage of the movement pattern of the car. Your car will naturally swerve in the direction of the burst tyre. 

(3) REMOVE YOUR FOOT FROM THE PEDALS:- Take your foot off the gas/accelerator pedal immediately, and DO NOT ATTEMPT TO TOUCH THE BRAKES.
If you hit the brakes there is a 95% chance that the vehicle will somersault.
If you hold the steering firmly and avoid touching the pedals the car will decelerate gradually. As it does so you must concentrate on the road in order to avoid collision with other road users.

(4) DISENGAGE THE GEARS: You do this by shifting your gears to neutral

(5) GRADUALLY APPLY THE BRAKES ONCE THE CAR HITS THE APPROPRIATE SPEED:-  After a while, depending on your initial speed, the vehicle will come to a speed of less than 60km/h. At this point it will become safe to gently apply the brakes and navigate to the side walk.

(6) STOP AND KILL THE ENGINE:- It would be safe at this point to put the car to a complete stop and turn off the engine. You would have just saved yourself and your passengers from certain death.

(7) RUN FLAT TYRES:- The above six points are stated in the event of an immediate blow-out when you are not using the appropriate tyres.
However, before you embark on long-distance, high-speed journeys do what you can to buy run-flat tyres.
If you understand the specifics you will be able to tell your tyre vendor what you ought to buy. 
There are essentially five tire codes designed for top speed; these codes are H, V, Z, W, and Y with speeds of between 210 km (130mi) and 300km (186 mi) an hour
If you pick up high speeds with tyres that have E, F, G, J or K codes written on them you might end up on a lamp-post or street-light somewhere.  
The appropriate speeds between E and K are 70 km (43 mi) – 110km (68 mi).
Codes L, M, N, P, Q, R, S, T, U are designed for speeds between 120km (75mi) and 200km (124mi). 

If you pick the appropriate tyre before a journey it will affect the smoothness of your journey.
A friend of mine was driving his BMW at a speed of 180km/h when his front tyre blew out. His tyres were all run-flat and there was little or no effect after the blow-out. It was actually only after he stopped the vehicle that he told the occupants that his tyre was out. This kind of tyres was specifically designed with safety in mind.

Ultimately, put your life in God’s hands and be attentive to any premonitions you might have while driving.

Drive safely, and live longer.

ON ESE ORURU: A PERSPECTIVE

Adam Johnson is a professional footballer whose career had seen him play for English Premier League clubs like Manchester City F.C, and Sunderland F.C; his contract with Sunderland was recently cancelled on the strength of his sexual involvement with a 15 year old girl.
It has since been discovered that this young lady led him on and even bragged to her friends in the tweets she sent them that she was going to be sexually involved with him. 
Adam Johnson is 23 years old and is now facing a criminal charge. Barring some last act of providential intervention we can safely say his professional career is over.

There are several other cases of people who were sexually involved with minors in countries around the world. Politicians, entertainers, and business people; in most cases they had their careers truncated and were summarily punished.

Having it any other way would be catastrophic…but elements of society in some other countries don’t seem to share that line of thought.

Nigeria has the highest prevalence rate of Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF) in the world with an alleged number of between 400,000 and 800,000 women living with this scourge. There are anywhere between 12,000 and 20,000 new cases occurring annually, with 90 per cent remaining untreated.
 The implication of this is that an average of 55 women are infected by VVF on a daily basis and it is conservatively estimated that two million women suffer from obstetric fistula globally. 

Northern Nigeria has a disproportionate amount of VVF cases with over 85 per cent of these figures.

 VVF is an occurrence of an abnormal hole which becomes an unnatural connection between the Bladder or Rectum and the Vagina and is characterized by a continuous and uncontrollable leakage of urine.
 Dr. Ahmed Yola, a VVF surgeon, disclosed that a significant percentage of VVF is caused by prolonged unattended obstructed labour.
It  occurs when the blood supply to the tissues of the vagina and the bladder is restricted during prolonged obstructed labour, the tissues die between these organs, forming holes through which urine can pass uncontrollably.
Other  major causes of it obviously include sex with minors and Female Genital Mutilation.
Sadly, Dr. Yola said, VVF accounts for 75% of loss of babies at birth and is responsible for 55 – 60% of the divorce rate in the country.

In Nigeria, VVF has social, economic, and religious implications. Many women with VVF are regarded as social outcasts and marriages have been dissolved as a result of this. Many girls between the ages of 11 and 15 in the Islamic Northern part of the country become mothers either through early marriage or through unwanted pregnancy. As a result of the less than advanced stage of their reproductive system they experience obstructed labour, and this is further worsened by the ineptitude of some unskilled birth attendants who tend to simply cut through the vagina in a bid to create a passage for the baby.
This can result in VVF, with its major manifestation of leaking urine and faeces through the vagina. 

The odoriferous nature of the condition automatically makes women with VVF outcasts in society.
A visit to any of these VVF centres in Northern Nigeria would reveal a high number of teenage patients who have had their internals lacerated and turned to a mesh by creatures that engage in random acts of sexual intercourse with these young girls who are at various levels of physical development, none of which can be logically referred to as advanced. As they uncontrollably leak urine and fecal matter and give off obnoxious smells these pedophiles that are supposedly their husbands dump them and look for the next child bride. Dropping “damaged goods” and picking the next trophies in a spate of uncontrolled frenzy further complicates the already terrible problem.
When this is done under the garb of religion it becomes all the more unwholesome.

The Northern oligarchs and Islamic elite are complicit in this as they do not only turn a blind eye to this unfortunate and illogical phenomenon but actively engage in such activities. A serving senator, and former governor, from a state in the North-West was in the news for marrying a little Egyptian girl who was between 11 and 13 years of age. The little girl was allegedly the daughter of his chauffeur. 
This should not be a question of religion as this Senator took the girl away from Egypt, an Islamic country where child marriage and pedophilia is not allowed, and brought her down to Northern Nigeria to “marry”  her, a child, under the rituals of a Sharia system he imported into Nigeria when he was a governor.
Rather than ensuring the education level in their region goes on the upswing some of these Neanderthals have buried themselves into defiling little children that are supposed to be their future.
A massive developmental index is education and these people that should know better seem content to keep their people light years behind the rest of the world and have kept them in a condition where they remain appropriate “poster boys” of the concept and perception the Western media is excited to portray of Africa.

The dearth of education in Northern Nigeria is acute when compared to the South, and is abysmal, even alarming, when compared to the developed world. According to Rachel Hatch, a Research Associate, Education Policy and Data Center, in many northern states more than 50% of young women aged 15-24 have no experience with formal education.

The female secondary school net attendance rate in Borno State is only 29% in comparison to a national average of 53%. An additional 18% of secondary school age girls attend formal school in Borno but at the primary level. These girls may benefit from exposure to schooling but they are behind for their age and at greater risk of dropping out. 
A further 7% of secondary school age girls attend non-formal programs. Nearly half (46%) of girls of secondary school age aren’t attending either formal or nonformal education programs and therefore don’t receive any benefits of schooling. 
The Northern Islamic elite are either oblivious to this or couldn’t care less. 
 
Now, rather than solve their retrogression they have decided to go down South, across the Niger to spread it.

The case of 14-year old Ese Oruru, abducted in Bayelsa State and taken to Kano for marriage under Islamic rites has taken over the headlines of national dailies and social media for a considerable amount of time now. 
Ese’s ordeal began on August 12, 2015 in the South-South city of Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital. Mrs Rose Oruru, Ese’s mother, is a food vendor who has several different customers who patronize her. 
One of such customers was a certain Yinusa, a commercial tricycle operator who apparently hypnotized Ese and took her from Bayelsa to Kano on the purported excuse that she had converted to Islam. She was kidnapped and hypnotized or bullied into telling so many lies about her age, desire to be away from her parents, willingness to “convert” to Islam, and several other issues.
Some commentators have attempted to give a very feeble position on her abduction, saying she was not kidnapped but she, a 17 year old girl,  eloped with her lover. It took an interview with her 16 year old elder brother to show this was clear mendacity as Ese was just 13 she was kidnapped.

A very disturbing twist in this case was that this girl was kept in a location that was openly known. She was literally kept in plain sight. And Ese’s  parents are said to have travelled to Kano State on several occasions in the past six months with officers of the Nigeria Police Force to secure her release without a positive result.
Let that sink in for a second.
The Police Force could not secure the release of the girl for 6 months.
The Inspector General of Police is reported to have said he would not be able to act until the Emir of Kano, who was out of the city at the time, returned.

Unbelievable and Astounding. 

The fact that this happened is proof positive that this is not an isolated case. This is obviously a trend that has one theme running through the various portions of a single narrative.
It is very clear that this is not an exception but the rule as local authorities sat down on this and in all likelihood actively connived with the abductors to perpetrate this heinous crime.
Since the unveiling of the matter there has been the unearthing of several other such cases of criminal conspiracy and abduction of Southern girls by some Northern Islamic adherents. 
The pattern manifested shows that this cannot be done without the collusion of the powers that be in these Northern Islamic communities. 

In a tweet, a former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, quoted the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, as saying that Ese was to be taken to Abuja last Tuesday and handed over to the Commissioner of Police in charge of Bayelsa to reunite her with her parents.
“She is crying and refusing to go home. She does not want to go back but I have insisted she must go,” she quoted the Emir as saying.

It has since been alleged in the girl’s most recent confession that she did not even know how she got to Kano. She was taken to a place she referred to as “Kura” where she was put before a marabout and commanded to repeat whatever incantations he made…and that was how she purportedly “converted” to Islam.
In all of these, there seems to be very little mention of the apprehending and punishment of the criminals that corroborated to carry out this heinous crime.
These people are meant to be arrested, arraigned, and severely punished on several counts- kidnap, inflicting psychological trauma, grievous bodily harm, rape, sleeping with a minor, and intimidation among many other crimes.

Many of such things must have happened on previous occasions and they have not just been swept under the carpet but are still being perpetrated with such gross impunity. There has to be a loud statement in this case that will serve as a deterrent so we can save our future.

Like a friend of mine will say, “It is our problem, we can solve it.”

The Monastic Cycle: After God’s Blessing

THE MONASTIC CYCLE: WHAT USUALLY COMES AFTER PROSPERITY AND SUCCESS

One day a friend of mine called me up from the U.S to ask me a question. He had something that was bothering him, he said, and he needed to discuss this with me. 
He had a friend of his who had lived in Nigeria for a little while before heading off to the United Kingdom. While he was in Nigeria he was reportedly “close to God”, but after staying in the U.K for some years he found himself going down a more “rational” path. He began a series of soul searches and came up with questions he began to ask this mutual friend of ours.
Our mutual friend called me and this was more or less what the questions were about-
“If God exists how come He seems to be doing more for people that don’t know Him than He is for those that do?”
It seemed to Him that those who had no need for God were those that had more prosperity and success than those who did. 

He asked a pertinent question about many members of the Church in the developing world when he said, “Assuming some rich fellow who owned a dating agency walked into a Nigerian church and offered all the people who needed a job automatic employment, and gave brand new houses or cars to those that were in need of them, gave a salary increase to all who wanted it, and hooked every unmarried person to the man or woman of their dreams, what percentage of people would remain in the church? How many people would still serve God after they had their needs met?”

He also said how, going from home to work everyday, he would notice how the social welfare system worked and how the disabled and elderly were treated. He couldn’t help but think there really was no reason for God in a society that worked so seamlessly. His logic essentially was that the British that had continuously tended to an impious and godless position where they referred to themselves as post-modern and post-Christian actually had a valid point.
So he came out with the conclusion that people are only religious because they have needs. God is only relevant because people have needs, so the more needful a person is the greater the tendency is of his being religious.

My friend was perplexed that his friend had adopted this line of thought and wanted some reassurance from me.

I might have shocked him a little more after I immediately said to him- 
“There is a grain of truth in that…
This is because N-E-E-D is a four letter word that keeps man constantly motivated to seek God.”
Then I told him that although his friend’s assessment of “needs” was not incorrect it was incomplete. 
Material needs are the lowest level of human needs according to Abraham Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Human Needs”

            HIERARCHY OF HUMAN NEEDS 

                            /   \ (1) FULFILLMENT
                         /         \  (2) RESPECT          
                      /               \  (3)LOVE & BELONGING  
                   /                     \  (4)SAFETY
                /                           \(5)BASIC NEEDS
             /                                 \
          /___________________\

I said to him, “Even when material needs are met there will still be several others. At what point in time, for instance, would a person ever get to where he can say with all certainty that he can provide all the protection he and his family need?” I continued, “If he had all the guns and skills he needed to stave off armed hoodlums how much exactly would he have to protect himself in the event of an automobile accident, or plane crash?”
“If he had all the money in the world and could hire the best bodyguards, afford to buy the most sophisticated planes and employ the most experienced pilots he still wouldn’t have enough to buy up love and get everyone to like him. If he had everyone like him he would still not have everyone respect him. And even if he had everything in the world he would still not be able to buy fulfillment.”

The reason is quite simple, there are very few things that produce genuine fulfillment, and having lots of material possessions is not one of them.
Nobody can ever be fulfilled without God. 
An unprejudiced look at the situation and a  glance at all the needs stated above would show that nobody has transcended need. If nobody has transcended need then nobody has transcended God.
God does not cause need in order for people to seek Him, no, not necessarily. He is not an egotist.
Instead, think of it this way- He is all sufficient, and all the answers and solutions rest in Him. A disconnection from Him is a connection with the alternative- emptiness, a void, need, and nothingness.

This still doesn’t explain why it would seem that those who have no fear of God and are not inclined to religion appear to fare better than others. This still doesn’t explain why the fastest growth the Church records today is in indigent places like Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Why are there countries today that call themselves “Post-Christian”? 
Why are there countries today that believe they have grown beyond God?

Let me answer this by bringing something to our attention.

Have you ever considered the fact that the countries that call themselves “Post-Modern” or “Post-Christian” are countries that were once called “Christian countries”? 
As an aside, has it ever dawned on you that ALL the countries that fit into the genus “First World” were at one time referred to as “Christian countries”?

We will take a look at the second question at a later date.
Let us look at the first now. 
These countries that believe they have grown beyond God were mostly Christian countries at some time. China is not among them, nor is North Korea as, especially in the case of the latter, they cannot be called “Post-Modern”. China is still on the path of modernization so we will concentrate on the Western nations that were all part of Christian civilization at some time.
Without exception these countries attained national transformation through a familiar path, and true to type fell away afterwards. It is nothing new, and is a pattern ingrained in the process.

Gordon Cosby, the founding pastor of Church of the Savior in Washington D.C, noted a pattern as he studied the evolution of religious orders.
First, an idealist attracts people with a strong sense of devotion. The devotees then form a community. Usually there are certain behavioral traits  that become prevalent in most of such communities. One of such traits is discipline- hence the strict rules of founders of orders like Benedict and Ignatius.
 Disciplined groups tend to prosper, this is because discipline creates industry and industry produces wealth, but that very success ultimately undermines the group’s commitment and leads to self-indulgence, and at this point the movement begins to fall apart. 
All these happen and then someone comes along to revive the spirit of idealism. After this happens the cycle starts over again. 

Cosby has called this the “Monastic Cycle”. 

We see this pattern through history. The movements led by idealists such as Ignatius of Loyola, Francis of Assisi, and Benedict of Nursia, demonstrate this very sequence. 
If we take a look at the early Benedictines we will see that in keeping with their culture of devotion and discipline they worked hard to clear forests and cultivate land, investing their earnings in drainage, livestock, and seed. A few centuries later they were hiring people to do the work while they sat back to enjoy the fruit of their labor, such as Benedictine brandy. At times half the order’s revenue went into maintaining the luxurious lifestyles of the abbots. Every so often a reformer would arise to remind the order of the original Rule of Benedict, and start a revival, only to see the same downward spiral and negative pattern eventually repeat itself. 

Beginning with Adam and Eve’s brief sojourn in the Garden, human beings have shown a remarkable inability to manage prosperity and success.
In Old Testament days, whenever the economy boomed and peace prevailed the Israelites attended less and less to spiritual things and instead looked to military power and  alliances for their security. 
In the prophets’ telling phrase they forgot God. We turn to God out of need, and forget Him when things go well. 
That is customary with human nature.
And so we as individuals also succumb to the Monastic Cycle in the same way that nations can and do.

It is this pattern that most of the people that are part of Western Civilization have subsumed into.

Two centuries ago, John Wesley warned Methodists about material success and it’s effects on faith when it is not put in its place-
“I fear, wherever riches have increased, the essence of religion has decreased in the same proportion. Therefore, I do not see how it is possible, in the nature of things, for any revival of religion (Christianity) to continue long. For religion (Christianity) must necessarily produce both industry and frugality, and these cannot but produce riches. But as riches increase, so will pride, anger, and 
love of the world in all it’s branches.”

Union with God will inevitably produce prosperity and good success. This theme runs not only through the Bible but is consistent with human experience. 
Even before noting the fact that the Bible characters that were the most godly were also the wealthiest (the likes of Abraham, Job, David, and Solomon readily come to mind) a cursory and dispassionate look at several communities in Nigeria, Africa, and the developing world as a whole will show that those that admitted the gospel and the missionaries that brought it usually  end up faring much better than those that hold on to idol worship and deities constructed by their forbears.
In the same community there is usually a considerable distance between families that have accepted even the most  basic precepts of the gospel and those that have cohered to idolatry and diabolism. 

The question usually for us as individuals and nations is, just like with countries who have experienced significant prosperity and success,- “Can we stand to be blessed?”
It’s not a proposition of whether God will bless us or not if we seek Him the right way, it is more an issue of whether we will change when He does.

Will we cave in to the pattern of the Monastic Cycle?

I Remember: Going Down Memory Lane

THE DOWNWARD TREND AND DECLINE IN EVERYTHING THAT MATTERS

I grew up in the 70s and the 80s. I have a lot of memories. I remember how a lot of things used to be back then, and many of those things I remember with nostalgia.
Coming back home from primary school in the early 80s I was always looking forward to watching my favorite T.V programs and shows on the afternoon kiddies belt. 
I still have vivid memories of programs like, “Danger Mouse”, “G-Force: Guardians of Space”,  “Munch Bunch”, “Fraggle Rock”, “The Great Space Coaster”, and the more educative ones like “Telematch”, “Muppet Show”, and “Sesame Street”.
These were programs my siblings and I would eagerly sit around the tube to watch.
Memories, beautiful memories.

I am grateful for genuinely exciting and interesting  animated series like “Tom and Jerry”. They’ve been around for over 50 years and are still bringing good entertainment into a countless number of living rooms around the world. At least my children are watching a bit of what I watched while growing up.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the majority of content on offer today. 

As I look through what is meant to be programming  for children today I can’t help but shudder at the level of witchcraft, violence, lewdness, perversion and impropriety these programs are heavily laced with. The decline in quality is absolutely shocking.
Diabolism, Wizardry and Black Magic are now designed to look appealing to children. The younger ones get entrapped by “Sofia the First”, and the slightly older ones things like “Harry Potter”

We learnt so many things and still have fond memories of the likes of Sesame Street from which we learnt good diction and early analytical skills. The quality of T.V programming then was indubitable.

For the life of me I can’t put my head around what sort of education much of today’s programming is meant to give my children. 

The evening belt on T.V included interesting sitcoms like “The Jeffersons”, “Good Times”, and “Diff’rent Strokes”. These were shows we’d sit with our parents and watch till it was time to go to bed and retire for the night. 
Now, I look for sitcoms and see things like “Modern Family”, which is deliberately designed to put into the subconscious the “option” of homosexuality and the alternative family as a mainstream substitute.

Then there is a proliferation of what they now call reality T.V shows. “Shows” like “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” and different variants of “Big Brother” are the things that many families now refer to as entertainment. 

Jack Cafferty famously spoke about the travesty of having two girls with “the combined IQ of a box of cereal” (Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian) being role models for young people. 

That’s where we are today.

Seen a number of such “shows” that just made me shake my head. 
Amazing when it’s Snoop Dogg that has to teach us about “Fatherhood.” That’s the quality available to us right now.

I remember when lots of stuff on T.V was good and when it became bad

I also remember the kind of music we would hear coming through my dad’s car stereo, or in the barber’s shop, or the shopping mall. We would go for other children’s birthday parties and it would be the classic Stevie Wonder hit “Happy Birthday” that would be wafting through the air. 
I was recently listening to a radio station whose specialty is classic hits, as they went through each song I felt a wave of nostalgia go over me. Two songs they played were Donna Summers’; there was “Unconditional Love”, the song in which she featured the group called Musical Youth, and the other one they played was “She works hard for the Money.” They brought back lots of memories.
I remembered songs like Madonna’s “La Isla Bonita”, “Like a Prayer”, and “Holiday”.
As the years progressed it dawned on me that there was a point at which the songs considered provocative were songs like Madonna’s “Who’s that Girl?”
Looking at what makes the list of regular tunes today who would ever have thought that?

I was an ardent fan of Hip-Hop, and I remember Kurtis Blow who was the first mainstream rapper. Years later, I remember how Rob Base and D.J EZ Rock came on the scene with their “It Takes Two” album that featured a personal favorite of mine, “Joy and Pain”.
I remember the likes of Run DMC, and  Special Ed who would just rap about their props, their hood and similar trivial stuff. I remember Public Enemy, I also remember lighter yet more melodious rhymesters like  LL Cool J and Heavy D. 

Then I remembered when rap music took a downhill turn with 2 Live Crew that was eventually “Banned in the USA” for their lewd music and objectifying of women.
N.W.A (Niggaz With Attitude) took it off a tangent when they entered a new degree of gangsta rap. They glorified “smoking niggers”, and “f*#%ing bitches”, and all sorts of other lyrics that threw propriety out the window.
The likes of Eazy E, Dr. Dre, and Ice Cube became the springboard for a new and more insidious genre of rap music. A genre that saw a journey through the tarot card and Ouija Board using group named “Bone Thugs N Harmony”, and several others like Snoop Dogg (who reportedly attempted releasing an album he called “DogsiNatas”, which is meant to be a reversible anagram or anadrome for “Satan is God”), and Notorious B.I.G and 2Pac (who incidentally was a very decent rapper when he was with Digital Underground).

Forgive my inexorable incursion down memory lane.

I remember when music was good and when it became bad

I also remember growing up, and how my dad loved cars. He had different Mercedes Benz cars and some other European brands. These cars were made in the 70s, were of top quality and were very rugged, they had very strong metal frames as well.
I used to joke then that if any of those cars ran into a brick wall it would smash through the wall and come out on the other side unscathed.
I love automobiles. So I can tell that they don’t make cars anymore like they used to.
Now, there are lots of brittle looking cars moving around. The plastic components of most of them have been increased considerably, while the steel has reduced. One of the reasons no doubt is to reduce gas consumption and carbon emissions.
Whichever reason is adduced one thing is sure…they don’t make them anymore like they used to. The quality is not what it used to be.

I remember when they used to make good cars and when they became crap.

I also remember the electronic gadgets I grew up seeing around the house. The Television sets looked like they were made out of some indestructible material or something, the stereo sets and turntables, the refrigerators, and practically every other appliance seemed like they would last forever. Now I try to contrast them with much of what is obtainable today….
Only recently, the first set of mobile phones were very tough and rugged. You could very easily have your infant drop your Nokia 3310 on the concrete floor and you’d be sure nothing would go wrong with it. That was their level of quality.

Think about what would happen to that iPhone if it dropped on a carpet now.

I remember when they made good and durable phones and appliances and when they became debile and pallid. I remember when they were good and now they are bad.

I can recall very clearly when I went on my first date; I still have vivid memories. I was thirteen years old was a girl I wanted to take out. He gave me one of his ties; over twenty five years later that tie still exists….somewhere.
The suits and winter jackets my dad had in the 70s and 80s were so rugged that most of them still exist in 2016.
I have had “designer” suits I bought within the last ten years that ended up having a tear designed somewhere less than two years after buying them. They just don’t make suits the way they used to.
Going to buy school shoes for my children I couldn’t help noticing the durability of the leather most of them were made with. I compared them with the shoes and sandals I used while going to school. Of course they were of far less quality.

I remember when the quality of shoes and clothes they used to make was enduring, and now they don’t last.

By now the keen observers among you would have noticed where I am heading with this.
There is an unfortunate trend that has pervaded almost every facet of life and aspect of society. That trend is quality products are fast giving way to more substandard ones, leaving us with only memories of “the good old days.”

The most tragic thing about it is that this trend has also pervaded and permeated Christianity today.
There was a time the word “Christian” was synonymous with terms like “Integrity”, “Morality”, “Faithfulness”, “Commitment”, and every other virtue that could ever come to mind. 
It is no longer the case.
There was a time men of the cloth were viewed with unbridled reverence because of their chaste and moderate lifestyles, and their focus on transiting people to higher realms of glory.
That is mostly no longer the case

I remember books by servants of God. Books that made a profound impact on me after I began my journey of faith. Literature from men like A.W Tozer, Andrew Murray, C.S Lewis, Watchman Nee, John Eddison, E.W Kenyon, and Kenneth Hagin. I can’t help but compare them with many of the books that are peddled in mainstream Christianity today.
The difference in quality is clear.
There was a time when many of the messages that came from the pulpits were soul-stirring and placed a deep conviction in the hearts of the hearers. It would seem the only thing that is stirred when many sermons are given today is uncrucified desires. Most are merely intellectually stimulating discourses and pep talks that tickle the fancy. 
Many ministers today are anything but what they ought to be.

Eugene Peterson said, “The Pastors of America have metamorphosed into a company of shopkeepers, and the shops they keep are churches. They are pre-occupied with shopkeepers’ concerns- how to keep the customers happy, how to lure customers away from competitors down the street, how to package the goods so that the customers will lay out more money. Some of them are very good shopkeepers. They attract a lot of customers, pull in great sums of money, develop splendid reputations. Yet it is still shopkeeping; religious shopkeeping, to be sure, but shopkeeping all the same. The marketing strategies of the fast food franchise occupy the waking minds of these entrepreneurs; while asleep they dream of the kind of success that will get the attention of journalists…..The only problem is that we are called not to be shopkeepers, but shepherds.”

This story is true for several doing ministry in Nigeria today.

A.W Tozer said, “There Tozer said,

“There has come in modern times a new cross into popular evangelical circles. It is like the old cross, but different; the likenesses are superficial, the differences fundamental….The new cross does not slay the sinner, it redirects him. It gears him into a cleaner and jollier way of living and saves his self-respect…The Christian message is slanted in the direction of the current vogue in order to make it acceptable to the public…The old cross is a symbol of death. It stands for the abrupt, violent end of a human being….The cross made no compromise, modified nothing, spared nothing…We who preach the gospel must not think ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish 
goodwill between Christ and the world. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. God offers life but not an improved old life. The life He offers is life out of death.”

This is very sad. The same decline of quality that has percolated through society has also suffused through the primary agency for the redemption and transformation of humanity- the Church.
Many of us are now public relations managers and are taken in by the PC squad. We muddle the truth all in our bid to be appealing to everyone. Political Correctness has swept large portions of the Church in America and its spreading round the globe real fast.

The quality of everything seems to have dropped substantially, tragically also in the areas that matter most. Until we realize this we will never take the necessary steps to correct this rot in our personal experiences. 

I remember when the cross was at the core and Jesus at the centre, and now the things that truly count are on the fringes.

The Transformational Leader (part 2)

Chess

We started the series on the transformational leader with the story of the Prime Minister Joseph; the first tributary of leadership we spoke about was the nature of the transformational leader. I had a number of comments on the article, and there was a reader that assumed the five or six qualities I had mentioned there were all tributaries of leadership. All we mentioned were different aspects of the nature of the transformational leader. Now we will move ahead in our study of the transformational leader.

THE CHARACTER OF THE LEADER

The next tributary I would like us to see is the character of the transformational leader. When we look at the character of Joseph, the first thing that strikes us is the man’s integrity. In my personal assessment of the lives of hundreds of leaders it has become my modest opinion that one of the major components of transformational leadership is the leader’s integrity. John Eddison gave a wonderful explanation of the word integrity; he said

Integrity is an interesting word. It means ‘wholeness’ or ‘untouchedness’, and an ‘integer’ is a ‘whole or intact or undivided number’

.
What this simply means is that a person is a person of integrity when he is “whole” with his word. You can’t be a fraction and be a man of integrity; you can’t be a decimal and be a man of integrity, you can only be said to have integrity when what you deliver is consistent with what you say.

This is a key element of the transformational leader.

We know that mathematics is a science of integrity, for example 2 plus 2 will always be 4, just like 5 minus 3 will always be 2. The results will always be consistent; they will never change. This is the point I want us to see, there will always be an element of consistency and predictability with the man who has integrity.

The transformational leader is almost always consistent; his actions and reactions can be predicted many times because he lives by principles and not by people’s opinions or some other primordial considerations. You can’t transform anything when the standards you live by are not absolute, you can’t do that when you are not principle based. You can’t be a transformational leader if values mean nothing to you.

The transformational leader is not the one who keeps changing the values and standards he lives by. I say this bearing in mind that one of the philosophies (if I may call it that) that has gained ground in our world is “situational ethics”; anyone that lives by this perception does not have fixed standards. His situation determines his ethics, so what is black today might become white under different conditions tomorrow. The transformational leader does not reason like that.
I can imagine that someone might ask “Is being consistent a good thing, isn’t it possible that people can take advantage of you if you are predictable?” Well it is possible; but I am quite sure that your consistency will mostly work to your advantage rather than otherwise. This might not sound reasonable to the Machiavellian but I’ll explain.

IS INTEGRITY RELEVANT IN LEADERSHIP?

Who was Adolf Hitler’s deputy? His name was Rudolf Hess; he was the deputy fuehrer of the Third Reich. Now the records say Hermann Goring was Hitler’s immediate deputy but Hess was the one Hitler trusted, and Goring was second in command while Hess was the one Hitler willed his power to (in the event of his death). Now this is very interesting, especially when we realize that there were more capable individuals than Hess. There was Heinrich Himmler, who was the Head of the Gestapo, a very fearful individual who was as ruthlessly efficient as he was efficiently ruthless; there was his direct assistant, Reinhard Heydrich, who was so evil that even Himmler was afraid of him; Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda chief, was another one of Hitler’s capable associates.

All these men were more capable, brilliant and ambitious than Hess, but the only person that was, in principle, his superior (other than Hitler) was Goring. Goring was very influential in post-Nazi Germany, he had a lot of contacts in Berlin’s high society and this was what Hitler was determined to exploit when he named him as one of the representatives of the Nazi party in the elections into the Reichstag. However, Hess was unofficially declared as the favorite to succeed Hitler. The question is “why him?”

THE PRINCIPLED NAZI?

It is widely assumed that what endeared Hess to Hitler was not his ability, talent or brilliance, rather it was his integrity. Hess was said to be a man of principles that had a human face, even in the midst of the monsters that made up the Nazi party. In fact, it was these principles that drove him to Scotland, without Hitler’s knowledge to negotiate a peace treaty with Britain during the World War. Hitler trusted this man and made him his right hand man.

A RARE BREED
General Robert Edward Lee, the exceptional commander of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia during the American Civil war, was known as a man of integrity. It is widely reported that he was asked to be the President, in name only, of an insurance company where he could earn as much as $10,000 regularly; he declined and said he would never take wages for a job he had not done. It was this same General Lee who President Abraham Lincoln, having heard about his integrity, offered the Command of the entire Union Army in 1861. Lee declined because he felt he had to stand with his home state of Virginia which was seceding from the Union despite his entreaties to them to desist from doing so.

What I want you to see here is that integrity is a major factor in the rise of the transformational leader. Very few people are born in positions of power, the majority of us have to work our way up there and integrity will play a massive role in it. For example, in the Bible, one of the reasons for which Daniel was promoted, like Joseph, was for his integrity (see Daniel 6:1-4), King Darius needed a man of integrity, just like Belshazzar before him, and Nebuchadnezzar before him.
Joseph’s first boss, Potiphar, discovered that he was a person of integrity and so he left everything he had in Joseph’s care (see Genesis 39:6), he evidently saw the transformational leader in the man.

Afterwards, the governor of the prison made the same discovery, and did the same thing (see Genesis 39:22-23). In like manner Pharaoh, who according to tradition was not the most decent man, picked Joseph as his prime minister on the very first day he saw him face to face (see Genesis 41:40).
There is one thing I am sure about, no thief wants another thief to steal from him; everybody, good or bad, wants someone they can trust. Integrity breeds trust, and for the transformational leader to have anyone to transform he must first be trusted. This trust will make those that are his superiors favorably disposed towards him.

Joseph was a model of the transformational leader. John Eddison said “And surely this is what people always want of their leaders, whether political, military or ecclesiastical. They are suspicious of the very clever, they mistrust the very charming and they dislike the ambitious; but if they know a man is transparently honest in his personal and official life, they are more than content”. This can also be applied to what a person wants from his subordinates. Hitler mistrusted most of his associates but trusted Hess because of his integrity. Hess might not have been a transformational leader but the point I want you to see is that integrity can bring you to a place of prominence, and this place of prominence is where the transformational leader should get to if his influence will increase.

A LEADER IS FAITHFUL AND DEPENDABLE

There was also another part of Joseph’s character that is worth mentioning. This is the faithfulness that the man exhibited. There was nothing that was placed in his charge that failed, and this is worthy of mention. The transformational leader is a faithful person; we find this trait of the transformational leader in Joseph when he was asked by his father to check on his siblings (see Genesis 37: 12-17), despite the fact that he didn’t enjoy the company of his brothers, and he didn’t immediately see them where he had expected them to be, he went on to search for them regardless of the difficulties involved in the search.

He did this because he had to “bring back word” to his father.
He delivered all that Potiphar, the prison governor, and Pharaoh asked of him and he was not found wanting. This reminds me a lot of the great King of Israel, David; David was sent to take care of his father’s sheep and when a lion and a bear came to eat them he put his life on the line to protect them (see 1 Samuel 17:34-35). David’s father also sent him to his siblings, but in this case it was to send them supplies and provisions; David made sure the sheep he was taking care of were adequately catered for (see 1 Samuel 17:17-20), then he went down to the camp where his soldier brothers were and made sure he left the supplies with the supply keeper before he went anywhere else.
The transformational leader does not allow what is committed into his hands fail. He is both dependable and trustworthy.

As we continue our journey into transformational leadership I’ll be looking forward to hearing from you, and reading your comments.

The Targeted Life: Success Secrets From Three Wise Little Creatures

One of the things I like most about nature is that it has a way of aptly describing some of the most profound principles that guide human life and existence. Principles such as Focus for example.
Even a cursory look at the outdoors reveals many ethics and conventions that are hiding in plain sight; ethics and conventions that are imperative for success.
These principles of success are apparent to all who will take even a desultory look.

I remember growing up and how I used to marvel at lines of ants transporting food from place to place. The level of focus they would show as they moved in unbroken lines heading toward their target. I would see how an insect or small animal would be dismembered with success within minutes by hordes of ants who would instantaneously transfer each bit to other ants through the line until it disappeared through one hole or the other.
I would see how those ants will give their complete focus and attention to the unfortunate prey as they ripped it apart with unwavering accuracy before carrying a portion of the booty and disappearing through a crevice.

I am told that an ant has 250,000 brain cells. It sounds like very much till you compare it with the number of brain cells the average human being is said to have- 10,000,000,000. This would mean it would take something like the brain capacity of a colony of 40,000 ants to produce the equivalent in one human being.
They obviously don’t have the mental capacity of a person but they still have enough sense to know to prepare for the future by investing and working today. They have enough sense to know that everyday is not summer and that one day winter will come, and with this knowledge they focus on accomplishing their objective.

I never saw an ant standing on one spot
I never saw an ant spending more time than was appropriate in interactions with other ants…it was almost always that silent conversation, “Oh, hello, how do you do? See you…” and he was off.

Ants have no rulers or guides, they have very little bureaucracy, and do not have many board meetings, yet they are able to accomplish a lot and prepare for moments of lack with success because of their unbridled diligence, focus and immense foresight. That one tiny ant you could just crush if you stepped on is said to be able to carry anywhere between ten to fifty times it’s weight. Think about a man who weighed 70 kilos carrying weights between 700 and 3,500 kilograms.
Amazing.

Ants also wear a natural armored suit. I understand that scientists call the hard, outer shell of an ant “chitin.” This armor is designed to protect them from a hostile environment and contribute to their strength. In a world where “wolves” will gobble anyone who shows vulnerability and weakness this is something we must learn from the ant. Life won’t give you an easy ride, and there is an abundance of mean people all ready to take advantage of those that lag behind the herd. The ant shows us how tough we must be if we will not only adapt to but also overcome a world which is largely belligerent and postures itself in a way inimical to any show of fragility or enervation. If we will make a success of our lives and endeavors there are one or two things we can learn from this little creature.

In just observing ants one can see how judiciously they use any opportunities that open up to them and just how resourceful they are, never letting anything go to waste.
The unfortunate insect or small animal that falls and remains in a place will have only moments before an ant sniffs it out and sends word to its companions. With untrammeled focus the ants will come in droves and pick apart their prey until there is absolutely nothing left.
In the observation of their general lifestyle one can delineate these principles that are so critical that they are fundamental to the very term success.

Another creature worth our observing is the locust. We can learn a lot from this insect on success and the principles that undergird it. Locusts are leaderless insects but they strip the field like an army regiment.
A single locust is hardly noticeable. In fact, by itself, a locust is harmless and insignificant. But when locusts travel together they become an entirely different proposition.
This principle of “joint effort” is described in the Bible in Ecclesiastes 4:9. The writer tells us that “two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.” In other words, there is strength in numbers.

The modern world refers to this phenomenon as “synergy” and many have used the following equation to define or express this concept:

1 + 1 + 1 = 4

With synergy, the sum of the parts is greater than the individual parts alone.
I will digress a bit…
I remember seeing a piece where wild geese and their behavioral patterns were being assessed; I was made to understand that a flock of geese in formation will fly 75% further than a single goose would.
I am also told that where the average donkey has the ability to pull two tons of weight alone two donkeys yoked together have the capacity to pull twenty two tons of weight.
That is the geometric progression that synergy offers.
Success is a product of several factors, and one of them is synergy.

You might have heard the popular adage, “No one’s an island,” if we will apply what we learn from the locusts and every other one of the animals we have mentioned it will be easy to accomplish very much, attain success, and get the best out of this short window we call life.

Another creature that gets my attention is the spider.
Spiders are phenomenal creatures. I have never seen any physical location so intimidating that they would not be able to make an audacious attempt to string together a web in. They will spin it in a shanty, and will not pass up the opportunity to do so in a palace.
For a spider every situation, every place, every environment is the same. The spider doesn’t seem to think there is any location he is undeserving of, give him the slightest opportunity and you can rest assured he will maximize it.
Watching a T.V interview of Zhang Xin, the 50 year old billionaire real estate mogul and the richest woman in China, who was born in extreme poverty in rural China the spider came to my mind.
When asked what one thing she would advise anyone who intended to toe her path to success she said, “When you see an opportunity, grab it.”
This seems to be how the spider thinks.

One other thing I like about the spider is the fact that it engages only on its own terms. The spider can trap insects and other animals that are between four and five times its weight. It does this and immobilizes its prey before, depending on the specie of spider, liquifying it.
The spider does not do this by allowing its prey dictate the terms of engagement, it does this by determining the terms of engagement; bringing its prey into its web. When it does this it fights from a position of strength and not from one of weakness.
This should be how we approach life if we want to make a success of it.
Face adversities and situations with boldness and use that knowledge and skill that is available to you.

In a sense, when I think of the spider I remember a quote from George Bernard Shaw.
He said, “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world, the unreasonable man adapts the world to himself. For this reason, all change is dependent on the unreasonable man.”
I find that people who will live a fulfilled life and have the level of success they intend to will have to live their lives bucking the trend.
To be outstanding we must be ready to stand out from the crowd, and to stand out we must be willing to do what the crowd is unwilling to. We must take the road less travelled and swim against the tide of public opinion.

One thing that is consistent with everyone of the aforementioned creatures is their focus.

There is no discount on the price tag of success