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December 31, just another day on the calendar

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When I first conceived the idea of what to write for today, I admit that it was based on my religious and personal belief that today is nothing but another day that has been hijacked by the commercial elements in the world to make more money for themselves after making a tonne a week prior.
Not only is today just another day, the whole concept of New Year has pagan connotation linked with the Roman two-faced god, Janus (Hence, the month being called January), it basically serves no productive need in a nation like Nigeria.
However, the tone of this piece took on another note with the biting situation in Nigeria. There is this movie called “How The Grinch Stole Christmas”, based on a classic book by Dr. Seuss. However, in Nigeria, no Grinch stole Christmas; there was no need to. Christmas was already stolen before December 25 with long fuel queues and angry masses that are disgruntled with their leaders.
Everywhere you look, the nation is filled with angry people bemoaning their fate. There was nothing merry about the Christmas. And, long before the fuel scarcity occurred, many of the civil servants had not been paid and as such had no way of providing the goats and Turkey required for a merry celebration. In Nigeria, no Grinch need steal Christmas for it was already stolen by corrupt leaders and their accomplices with the people bearing the full brunt of the theft.
Still, tonight, many of those who stole the merriment will gather in Churches and Mosques to pray for a “Happy New Year.” They will turn to the same civil servant that has not been paid salary for eight months and say “Happy New Year.” They will grin and waltz in their Agbada to a dinner or party that they have invited their friends and enjoy the stuff that the common man will only dream of. This is the reality of our nation, a reality that we sadly must live with. Many will make resolutions that they have no intention of keeping because everyone is in a rat race; to simply outsmart the other guy and make more money by crooked means. Well, there is nothing new in that and so, there is no new year, just another day in the life of suffering Nigerians and their not so caring leaders.
Yet, 2018 has been marked on the calendars of some as a big year and today, they bid farewell to 2017 with renewed optimism. Yet, I want to ask, what is the difference between December 31, 2016, and December 31, 2017? Last year, the same optimism greeted the dawn of a New Year, same phrase and same clichéd countdown. The hopes being expressed for 2018 was expressed, albeit hopelessly for 2017. If anything is new, it is the level of gullibility of expecting new things to come from the same old practices. It won’t happen; at least, not unless the practitioners and the style changes. This time last years, the same set of people was in the churches praying hard and doing less. I think Nigerians have gone on their knees so many times that their blessings have actually passed over them. We need to work, not just pray. The motto of my primary school, ST. Judes Anglican, Ebute Metta in Lagos is “Work and Pray”. The two must go hand in glove, not excluding the other. My Secondary School, Jibril Martins Memorial Grammar School, Iponri, had the motto “Ise Ya…” (Literally, time to work), and the interesting thing about my alma maters is that they both belong to religious organizations. Yet, they both advocate hard work and not just prayers.
Even when Jesus performed his miracles, he made people work for them. The Cana wedding? People fetched the water and poured it into jars before he turned it into wine. The fish the disciples caught in abundance? They had to go back to sea to cast their nets. Yet, people will pray very hard today for miracles that they don’t intend to work for. I might as well help them now and say, it won’t happen. Faith without works is dead, says the Bible.
So, let today just be the day you rise and tell yourself: “Tomorrow will be better.” Not because it is the start of another month or Calendar Year, but because you are deciding to do something different and chase your dreams. There is no substitute for hard work. Change begins with a change in our mental disposition towards hard work. We must put work on the top of the things we want to do to make life better.
Next, must come making our representatives accountable for their actions. Write a letter or a petition. Don’t just stand by or simply pray about your situation, be proactive. Even Jacob in the Bible wrestled with angels to get a blessing and so be prepared to do the same for your blessing. December 31 is just another day on the calendar. Make it the day that you decide to make positive changes in your life that are not attached to any calendar event.

JMMGS Reunion
So, my classmates from my secondary school decided to brave the fuel scarcity and hold a reunion on the school premises. Actually, the set that preceded us (1991/92) held theirs a week earlier and so they did put my school in the news twice within the space of a week. While it was an opportunity to meet old friends, it also gave many of us an opportunity to reflect on the state of education in our dear fatherland. A tour of the old library and school hall revealed just how much has changed in public education in 25 years. It was tears-inducing, but still a happy occasion.
I want to say congratulations to the organizing committee for their dogged determination in ensuring the success of the event despite the odds. Things can only get better from here on. So, to all Jibrilians, I say let’s make this school better. Ise Ya.

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Carabao Cup final: Aguero, Aubameyang in marksmen showdown

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     …De Bruyne, Ozil also go head-to-head

 

Arsenal and Man City will continue their rivalry as they battle for the Caraboa Cup on Sunday at the famous Wembley Stadium but much focus will be on the striking war between City’s Sergio Aguero and Gunners’ new recruit, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. While Aguero has been one of the most prominent players in the league owing to his awesome goal-scoring record since joining the Sky Blues in 2011, Aubameyang is seen as Arsenal messiah for goal scoring.

The Citizens’ point-man seems to be well-focused for this tie such that he decided to let go a Wigan fan over an on-pitch bust-up as the Argentine claimed the supporter spat at, tried to punch and verbally abused him in the shock loss to Wigan at the DW Stadium on Monday.

Since joining from Borrusuia Dortmund just before the close of the January transfer window, Gunners faithful have found a new wave of optimism that their search for a pointman in the mold of club legend Thierry Henry is over.

The Gabonese striker showed Arsenal fans and a glimpse of what he would be bringing to the table as he scored a brilliant goal in the 5-1 whitewash of Everton some few weeks ago; although he was slightly offside from the move.

He was to be at the receiving end of a poor call exactly a week later when his goal against Tottenham was ruled offside but the replay showed he was level with the Spurs’ last defender. In recent time, Arsenal, to some extent, have been masters of Cup football as they defeated Man City and Chelsea on their way to winning of the FA Cup last season.

The win over Chelsea, whom they also defeated to win the Community Shield, was their third success in four years in the FA Cup and they will be eager to keep up their good record of late at Wembley. Another head-to-head war is expected in the midfield between Kevin De Bruyne and Mezut Ozil.

De Bruyne has been one of the most prominent players for Pep Guardiola’s team this season and the Belgian’s relentless consistency has seen him in the running for the player of the season. Apart from scoring vital goals, he also has the vision to set up the likes of Aguero and Raheem Sterling and his one-touch football is second to none.

Ozil, on his part can, also initiate moves that could break the resistance of the expensively-assembled City rear guard. And with assist specialist Henrikh Mkhitaryan roving in the midfield, if the German find his right element, his supplies to the likes of AUbameyang and Danny Welbeck may see Arsenal enjoying another bragging right of another cup success in England.

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Back Page Column

If in doubt, please quit!

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A major trust of news reporting in journalism is: “if in doubt, leave out or drop the story.” In my days as a News Editor, whenever a reporter couldn’t substantiate his facts, I will drop the news item. It is a norm that conforms to the best professional practices. Integrity and truth are the hallmark of media practice but with the advent of social and online media, those valued ethics seem to have been practically jettisoned. And the consequences of such professional delinquency daily stare us in the face, regrettably though.

This same ethos applies to those planning their conjugal affairs on a sandy soil of anxiety, doubt and uncertainty. If betrothed lovers are frequently experiencing rancour, threats of breakup and relating to each other with mutual suspicion and fear, they don’t need a soothsayer or a prophet to tell them that they are not compatible. Many of those in desperate mood to remain in troubled relationships are women.

Reasons adduced for their tenacity usually centre around fear of the unknown, age, social class, low selfesteem, economic factor, religious affinity and beauty among others. Some of them prefer to go into ‘trial’ marriage and fail than let go their abusive partner.

The reckless decision they often make is to blindly walk down the aisle with partners they can’t have peace and desired happy matrimony with. A 31-year-old woman would not let go off her fiancé of two years despite her frustration and constant abuse in the relationship.

Twice she had called it quit but she reconciled on both occasions without her boyfriend showing any sign of remorse. Devising a way to end regular disputes, she moved into his apartment unannounced thinking perhaps they would understand themselves better by living together. Her boyfriend’s response was to bring another woman home for the weekend. Yet, she stayed on, weeping, begging for his love. They eventually got married and it only lasted for nine months! She packed out with seven months pregnancy when she almost lost her life due constant battering.

A young man is currently battling with high blood pressure arising from constant cases of cheating, insults, threats to quit the relationship and coping with hardline rules of his fiancée. His reason for hanging on with this woman is her beauty. He said he would rather learn to endure than let her go.

“All my friends envy me because of her beauty,” he said. More than thrice, he had caught her pant down with other men. She cheats a lot. She insults him at will and set rules for him as condition to remain in the relationship. As you read this article, they are planning to wed in a couple of months’ time. Should we then ascribe these kinds of relationship to genuine love?

If yes, then, love is truly blind! It shows love can blindfold lovers when they are engrossed in it. In most cases, the love charm usually have a vice-hold on one of the partners. When blinded in love, they usually act blighted. Consequently, the traits of such desperate, confused and helpless partners are to:

• Defend weaknesses, character flaws that would eventually shred the union.

• Get fixated and unreasonably enslaved to their partners by trying to please, satisfy, compromise and sacrifice to tag along; forgetting that once they beg or manage to go into marriage, they need to keep begging and managing to remain married for the rest of their life.

• They are afraid of the unknown. Attitudes they won’t tolerate ordinarily or naturally would become their choice just to remain in relationship.

• They accommodate those things to feel “fulfilled” among their peers even when eventual failure looms large in the horizon.

• They often ignore every counsel that is not in tandem with their sentiments, interests and expectations.

• They often learn their lessons at a time the situation is beyond remedy. They calmly live with the scars because it was their choice. There are three levels of marriage:

• Marriage contracted in fear – desperation, low self-esteem, age consideration and social class

• Marriage contracted in reluctance – family and peers pressure, abstract considerations, marrying partners not wholly convinced or satisfied with many things about.

• Marriage contracted in wilful decision – marrying one’s dream partners, desired choice, best friend, feeling satisfied, fulfilled and complementary to her life. It is advisable and wiser to avert awaited marital failure by quitting troubled relationships. As it is often said, “A broken relationship is better than a broken marriage.”

Some are currently regretting their decisions in marriage because of the choices they made. While many of them have tried frantically to make their marriages work; but alas, they couldn’t get it right not due to their own faults, but because they paired with wrong partners.

There are those who might feel heeding a counsel that is against their wish is obviously denying them the right of choice in their personal affairs. I wish to submit that counsel is not a law. There’s no compulsion in it. Counsel is a piece of advice steeped in rich experience and knowledge. My sincere prayer is that may the song: “Had I Known” not be your anthem at last. Amen.

 

Send your responses/private issues to: mikeawe@yahoo.co.uk or 08035304268 (SMS/WhatsApp)

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Columnists

Health benefits of cucumber (3)

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Cucumber is a creeping vine that roots in the ground and grows up trailing or other supporting frames, wrapping around supports with thin, spiraling tendrils. The plant has large leaves that form a canopy over the fruit. Face Mask: For oily skin – grate 1/2 cucumber into a bowl and add one tablespoon of honey.

Apply to the T-Zone, which is the forehead, nose and chin. To reduce pores and tighten skin – apply the mixture all over the face including under the eyes and eyelids. Leave on for 15 minutes and rinse with warm water, Pat dry with a clean towel.

 

Fighting cancers: Cucumber is known to contain lariciresinol, pinoresinol, and secoisolariciresinol which are linked to a reduced risk of several types of cancer. Controlling blood pressure: Cucumber juice contains a lot of potassium, magnesium, fiber, and phytonutrients that work effectively for regulating blood pressure.

 

Aiding digestion: Their high water and dietary fiber are very effective in driving away the toxins from the digestive system. Daily consumption of cucumbers can be regarded as a remedy for chronic constipation. Relieving gout and arthritis pain: Cucumbers are rich in vitamin A, B1, B6, C & D, Folate, Calcium, Magnesium, and Potassium.

 

When mixed with carrot juice, they can relieve gout and arthritis pain by lowering uric acid levels. Cucumbers also contain a substance needed by the cells of the pancreas for producing insulin. Researchers have found that sterols in cucumbers help reduce cholesterol levels. It is one of the very low calorie vegetables. It contains no saturated fats or cholesterol.

 

Cucumber peel is a good source of dietary fiber that helps reduce constipation, and offers some protection against colon cancers by eliminating toxic compounds from the gut. It is a very good source of  potassium, an important intracellular electrolyte.

 

Potassium is a heart friendly electrolyte that helps bring a reduction in total blood pressure and heart rates by countering effects of sodium. Cucumbers contain unique antioxidants in moderate ratios such as ß-carotene and a- carotene, Vitamin- C, vitamin-A, zea-xanthin and lutein.

 

These compounds help act as protective scavengers against oxygen derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease processes. Cucumbers have mild diuretic property, which perhaps attributed to their free-water, and potassium and low sodium content.

 

This helps in checking weight gain and high blood pressure. Ongoing research indicates that Cucumbers play a key role in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in their brain.

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