Go Fever

On January 28, 1986, after five weather-related delays, the space shuttle Challenger lumbered heavenward amid a thunderous overture of noise and flame. A mere 73 seconds later, system failure tore the shuttle apart, and all seven crewmembers perished.

The disaster was attributed to an O-ring seal known to have vulnerabilities. Insiders referred to the fatal mistake as “go-fever” – the tendency to ignore vital precautions in the rush to a grand goal.

Be still before the Lord abd wait patiently for him. Psalm 37:7

Our ambitious human nature relentlessly tempts us to make ill-advised choices. Yet we are also prone to a fear that can make us overly cautious. The ancient Israelites demonstrated both traits. When the 12 scouts returned from spying out the Promised Land, 10 of the 12 saw only the obstacles (Num. 13:26-33). “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are,” they said.

After a fearful rebellion against the Lord that led to the death of the 10 spies, the people suddenly developed a case of “go-fever.” They said, “Now we are ready to go up to the land the Lord promised” (Num 14:40). Without God, the ill-timed invasion failed miserably (Num 14:41-45).

When we take our eyes off the Lord, we’ll slide into one of two extremes. We’ll impatiently rush ahead without Him, or we’ll cower and complain in fear. Focusing on Him brings courage tempered with His wisdom.

A moment of patience can prevent a great disaster.

Before making a quick decision, consider why you want to make it quickly. Consider if it will honour God and what it might cost others. If yiu are afraid to make a decision, think about why that might be. Most of all, PRAY!

Culled from Our Daily Bread, written by Tim Gustafson.


Soccer and Saturdays

Last week Saturday, I reunited with Hal FC, a non-league side, to spend quality time keepinh fit and burning fat. Where is the fat sef?

I had missed the training section the week before and was refrained from participating 2 weeks before due to the monthly sanitation exercise, spiced up by poor communication.

Soccer, as my US friends would call football, no be beans. 3 hours of running around with a leather ball with the aim of outscoring the other team is work. The pitch was not the best of pitches but that was the best we could get after the Real Madrid wind blew us away from our initial Emirates.

Without any professional coach or cones, poles et al, we enjoy ourselves, especially in the rain. I have missed 2 consecutive rain balls and it is an experience I hope to reignite after one in my Higher Institution days. Have you heard of the Higher Institutions Football League (HiFL)? How FUTO is not being featured is another discussion. Follow the trend.

My team went unbeaten last week, coming from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 in one of the most difficult games. We edged the other team via penalties. Today, we clawed back from 5-2 to earn a 6-6 draw. No fear, na 2 hours monkey post. (Don’t tell me it is mocking post).

I launched my Nike Hypervenom boots last week but it was a terrible pitch. It did another hitch today before calling it quits, hoping to be resurrected by one of the teens who needed a boot badly. While we await for his replacement from across the Atlantic, my Mercurial without studs will “stand in”.

In all, Saturday is a good day to burn that fat, work the heart, gasp for air and keep fit. For bodily exercise profiteth little.

Time to sleep. Oh – the Premier League!!

Reunion: The Musketeers and The Fishes

My phone rang and the number didn’t look familiar. When I answered, the voice sounded familiar. The unique laugh followed, in confirmation that it was Prof. I had learnt that laughing style yet he still accused me of using the style.

I have not met Prof since a Federation Cup final at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos – should be 2015. But he was in town on an official trip and it was a great opportunity to catch up on ourselves.

He had a “Bud” oiling his system while two fishes was being grilled down the poolside. It was a cool evening, sitting by the pool catching up with tales and events. We rarely had such cool evenings at school buy with time and life, we could own it to enjoy it.

While we sobered at the missed opportunities in the region, in came Le Banks. He joined my Maltina ministry – I hung my drinking cups very early life and I have never seen him with a bottle. Prof drank his “Bud” while we spoke about everything – from the World Cup, Russia, marriage, school flames and politics.

Early on in school, the four of us were seen as unserious especially after we botched someone’s sales because we identified the error in the material. The salesman didn’t take it likely and swore to get back at us. Young at heart, mischief on sleeve, we didn’t care. We shone on.

The fish came, embroidered in potato chips, salad and spicy sauce. Beautiful as a bride, adorned with onion rings and a worthy sacrifice to the gods that rule the belly. It was hot and worthy of the 8 years reunion by the Three Musketeers. If only the fourth – Abobi – was there.

And then the second fish swarm to the table despite the steel pool water. Diego Costa was on fire at the other end but it didn’t stop our fingers from dissecting fish into consumable parts.

It was an evening well spent. Thanks Prof and Le Banks. Let’s do this again. Respect.


Re-blog Re-birth Re-xyz

It has been a poor blogging year for me here. Caught in the rat race, i have had my sights at quenching office fires, bridging relationships and chasing the football passion.

Change came like it often does. New routines start from repetition and a desire to achieve some goals. But two blog posts for the year is a far cry from my minimum target to share something with you at least once a month.

I have hugged the skies in the last 9 months – much more than expected, crossing the great Atlantic and the popular Sahara to round it up. Things have moved faster than I had planned and this blog suffered.

I met old friends miles away, made new ones and reignited dormant ones. I made acquaintances, learnt new culture, tried a new language and new meals.

I saw the World Cup and can now rest. I chased the passion of football with Victor, Bayern and Juventus. The Premier League returns within two weeks and the banter will be on. Unai Emery is in charge of Arsenal. Will there be a different story?

I saw new cities, always giving me reasons to shake my head at how poorly developed Nigeria is – mentally and in terms of infrastructure.

There were new grounds, new fantasies, new drives, new goals, new xyz. Behold, man is insatiable. The quest to be better is everlasting.

Nevertheless, I have slowed down the pace at which I read. I have allowed the office vacuum to suck on. The battle line has to be drawn again to seperate the sheep from the goat, the needs from the wants, the goals from the distractions, the urstuff from other stuff.

Can August be my month of rebirth? A month to re-strategize, re-evaluate the change and relaunch the attack. Time to reconnect and recalibrate with The Maker.

Time to get back here and change lives. Don’t give up. Stand up and move on.


You First

Tibetan-born Sherpa Nawang Gombu and American Jim Whittaker reached the top of Mount Everest on May 1, 1963. As they approached the peak, each considered the honour of being the first of the two to step on to the summit. Whittaker motioned for Gombu to move ahead, but Gombu declined with a smile saying, “you first, Big Jim!” Finally, they both decided to step to the summit at the same time.

Paul encouraged the Philippian believers to demonstrate this kind of humility. He said, “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” Phil. 2:4. Selfishness and superiority can divide people, but humility unites us, since it is the quality of “being one in spirit and of one mind” Phil 2:2.

When quarrels and disagreements occur, we can often diffuse them by giving up our right to be right. Humility calls us to show grace and gentleness when we would rather insist on our own way. “In humility, value others above yourselves” Phil. 2:3.

Practicing humility helps us to become more like Jesus who, for our sake, “humbled himself by becoming obedient to death” Phil. 2:7-8. Following in Jesus’ footsteps means backing away from what is best for us and doing what is best for others.

Jesus, You gave up your life for me. Help me to see each sacrifice I make as a reflection of your humility. In putting others first, let me honour you.

Humility promotes unity.

Culled from Our Daily Bread 2018, written by Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Read more: Philippians 2:1-11


My Tomas Rosicky

Christianity is Life but Football is like a religion to me. There are many gods that have graced the sport even to the extent that they are worshipped. One of such gods is Tomas Rosicky – who retired in December 2018.

Last year I had a fellowship with the Gooners at the Emirates when Brighton and Hove Albion visited. It was the sole reason I took a 12 hours road trip from the North crossing through Glasgow and Manchester to have that feeling of the Emirates.

While I sat beside another Gooner who came from Nottingham (Lord Bendtner’s villa), I wished I was watching Tomas Rosicky playing. Although I spent most of my free thoughts making the unfair comparison with the league in Nigeria, I was in awe with the atmosphere at the stadium.

I started watching Arsenal week in and out in higher school and that was when Tomas Rosicky came into my life. A wonderful goal at the 2006 World Cup and those goals against Liverpool started the love.

Although I love jersey #8, I had respect for his jersey #7. Inherited from Robert Pires, seeing that number on the team sheet signifies that there is hope that something electric will happen.

People idolize Messi, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Henry et al but Rosicky is my choice. A professional and a proper football, blessed with pace and wise at feet. Nimble footed, he was an accelerator and could turn everything around in seconds.

While it is sad that he was cut short by injury, his 10+ years at Arsenal ended with 2 FA Cup trophies for his worries.

The way he runs and how his hair bounces on his head was a beauty. His outside foot shot was his trademark and was used against Spurs more than once.

With a smile always, he was influential in the dressing room and was solely missed when he was injured for about 2 years. I want to smile like him even when the storm is on. His sliding tackles were lovely and I enjoy doing that to issues that come my way.

I had hoped to travel to see him play for his boyhood club but I will make do with a handshake with him. Roger Federer and Arsene Wenger are two others I would love to get such treatment. When will I meet all three? Add Nicklas B to make them four. Chuckles.

This is not a sports blog but this shows how much Tomas Rosicky means to me. I will make a big poster of him and my kids will know about the Little Mozart. Can anyone replace him in my heart?

Happy Retirement Tomas Rosicky. Remain in the sport and inspire a generation.

With love.

I have wanted to write this since December 2018.

Tales From FEGO: Rub and Shine

There comes a time in every academic session when the weather is so cold in the morning that your skin loathes the idea of having any contact with water – especially cold ones. This is usually in November, with peaks in December, the Harmattan season. It runs parallel with the Owu Period.

Your fingertips were the thermometer and the conductor that sends messages to the brain about the condition of the water. The brain uses the information to make a judgement as to whether to shower or Rub and Shine. It could be as a result of laziness or scarcity.

While Rub and Shine was optional, the urge was heightened by the strategic unavailability of water. The water table becomes low, the Twelve “borehole” Taps becomes dry and water becomes gold. The reservoirs that used to be filled up at least once in a day could only be serviced once in a week – Saturday mornings. Red Tank was the option like an oasis in the Sahara – but it was far and risky.

Walking down from classes on that dusty uneven red road parallel to the girl’s hostel, my eyes were looking afar towards the borehole, hoping to have an indication of water availability. At this hour, the borehole used to be filled with students especially girls with a lot of buckets like they were never going to fetch water again in their remaining stay in FEGO. But on this day, it was void of any living thing, except the dragon flies trying to do much with the nothingness at the Twelve Taps and Baba Tanker no where to be found.

This period was burdened with scarcity of everything – including Garrium Sulphate. But the scarcity of water was the height. You could do little with no water. Water was gold, only second to freedom from being sent by a senior to do anything. This water scarcity gave a lot of students – especially the junior boys – the opportunity to Rub and Shine. It was the makeshift way to have a bath in order to look alright for the day.

The Rub and Shine “kit” included:

  • Water – quantity varying from two hand scoops to “one bailer“. Anything more than that could be considered a bath. It was essential to clean off dust that comes with the season.
  • Vaseline – very important for the shine. It was the anti-whitening agent required for the Harmattan season. It was worth everything. Legend had it that some students just rubbed Vaseline on their body for the shine without the need to rub or have a proper bath. Woe betide you (in Mr. Balo’s voice) if you fail to rub Vaseline after your bath, you shall look like a ghost passing by, painted in white with skin dry as stale bread.

A quick rub on the visible part of the body – the arm, leg and face – and you are good to go. Your armpit is deprived of the baptism, just like the back and chest. While your odour cannot be vouched for, you can fool a good number of persons that you’ve had a proper bath.

Those exempted from the Rub and Shine were those who were not bothered by water temperature, had alliance with the kitchen women to fetch warm/hot water, had Element or boiling rings to heat up water if there is power, or were excellent in hoarding and storing water fetched from the Red Tank. You remember Red Tank in Abuja?

With Rub and Shine, you know you are incomplete and a trip to the Red Tank was needed to wash your sins away and refresh your soul. Although not encouraged, Rub and Shine  were the only options for some and they survived.

Share your Rub and Shine  story in the comment section.