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A Life Of Impact

I never read any of Myles Munroe’s books; never listened to him either. However, I was aware of him. I think I have two or so display picture quotes of his. That is about how much I knew him.
I never met Chaz B that anchored ‘Life Issues’ on 94.7FM. I listened in on his programme if I switched on the radio and happened to hear him. That was as much as I knew him.
I never met Dora Akunyili, yet I had to ask the question; why really do the good ones die early and most times in pain or misery?
I never met General Sani Abacha but he is forever etched in our memory. Though his is a controversial choice but he made an impact, no doubt. He couldn’t care less what the international community thought and our economy was once boosted.
I never met Eva Peron or Princess Diana or Mother Theresa or Nelson Mandela or Michael Jackson. Yet I felt the impact of their deaths. That is what a life of impact does. It could be positive, negative or a mix of both. It affects. It touches. It speaks. It resonates. It evokes emotions and hurts when they leave the earth. They made their mark in very different ways but the most important thing was they shared their lives and purpose with people; people they knew, people they didn’t know.

It set me thinking. What have I done with my life? What have I done with the talent and gifts God gave to me free of charge? What will I be remembered for? The truth is, the effect from allowing your life to touch others is more for your benefit than even the recipient. After all, like the people mentioned above, it is their names and not those of the beneficiaries that is being remembered.
I learnt an important lesson through my tailor that put me unease and question my purpose at rest.
I had run into this random young Hausa tailor about four years back who fascinated me with his determination to sew and go to school at all costs and at the same time. I like such people. So I encouraged him by sending customers his way and sewing with him. Then he committed the cardinal sin; he sewed a style he wanted; not what I had chosen and brought the dress 24hours after the event I was billed to wear the dress. Of course, he disappeared. He resurfaced six months later and brought a dress as a symbol of his remorse. It took me another two months to give into his pleas. As I introduced to him to a new client, I mentioned that I had had a falling out with the tailor and I hoped he was back on track, if not, if he messed up again, this would be the end. He assured me that he had matured and knew what was now expected of him and he left. The following is what he sent me a few hours later. I have quoted him verbatim.

“ I come back to you after we had misunderstanding always just becaused you ONCE told me “Bangis you will be great in life” this led me to consider you as my STEVE JOB. I have been influenced by such a word of yours. Remember I left my parents in the age of 19, for me to actualise my dreams. I always remember the inspirational speech from people. I have to #respects you.”
Don’t laugh. Though it makes you wonder! (Our schools..smh)
Anyway, I meandered the English and I was both surprised and touched. I can’t remember telling him those words but clearly I did and he has hung on to them and is chasing his dreams.
Then it became clear. I might not be a household name or cause worldwide impact but if I do my bit in my small corner every day, I might never know the seed I planted or the person I helped or gave clarity to. That did it for me. You just never know. Give that word of encouragement, hear that person out, help that person out; anything as long as you reach out. You never can tell what impact you will have; even if it is just one person.
* Thank you to those who sent in feedback on the Janus story and how it has helped them re-evaluate their transactions.***

The Women (Not) In Politics

When the name, Remi Sonaiya started making the rounds in political circles, it elicited more interest when it was discovered she was a female and the only female presidential candidate in the run up to the 2015 elections. She ran on the platform of an unknown party at the time, KOWA party. I thought it was rather brave that the party fielded her given that her predecessor, Sarah Jubril, had attempted the same feat at least three times. However, within the short space of time that KOWA jacked up its exposure; for first timers, they impressed. This was simply because when Sarah Jubril ran, she always had a lone vote at her party’s primaries and never became the flag bearer. There are a lot of indices that affected this. One truth is, I am sure that if Prof had attempted to run in either PDP or APC, she would never have been a candidate!
At the state level, you can imagine the pleasant surprise when for the first time a woman became the gubernatorial candidate of the mega opposition party! I must confess; the first thing that flashed my mind was, “they will never allow a woman to become governor especially in the Northern state of Taraba State”

Women in politics has always been a tricky situation; from questioning if politics is a woman’s place to relegation. This has made it very tough for women to come out and participate in politics. The ones that do irrespective, don’t get the ‘accolades’ they should for being able to run a campaign and succeed. We have had the Mulikat Adeolas, Remi Tinubus , Patricia Ettehs who have run and won but supported by men in politics and thrown under the bus also by men when the stakes were much higher in some instances. The A’i Osoris, Ireti Kingibes running decent persuasive campaigns, didn’t succeed but threw their hats in the ring nonetheless. A number of things come to fore: there aren’t enough women in politics- enough to even participate and make a difference to determine the outcome of congresses and who emerges as candidates or flag bearers! So, the few women available in politics are at the mercy of their menfolks! The dominant place women participate is in casting their votes.

When I look back, the question i ask is, “should women have rallied all their votes and cast them in favour of Remi and Jummai? Wouldn’t that have been “sexist”? Should the main criteria have been that she’s a woman? At the Presidential level, we showed ourselves since Remi didn’t pull enough votes at all to be a contender but pulled enough to be noticed even winning in some polling stations in Lagos! However, the story was different in Taraba. For the elections to be inconclusive, can it be safely said that the women of the state threw their weight behind Jummai? Simply because around election time, the votes of women seem to be critical to the success of any candidate especially the votes in the hinterlands. I mean this woman put up a stiff against PDP! However, I’m not sure if it was the fact that the flag-bearer was a woman or that voters just wanted PDP out that influenced the voting. Frankly, we didn’t see that coming. It also seems the number of women to have made it into positions this election year seem to have shrunken.

The main point is that if a woman wants to participate in politics, she has to work three times as much and deal with the stories that she slept her way to the position, is sleeping her way to keep the position or filling a quota! This is not to talk about the home front challenges.
Should women support women in politics because they are women? ABSOLUTELY. Should the gender be the main consideration? ABSOLUTELY. Would that not be sexist? ABSOLUTELY. Should women show their electoral power and build up female candidates? ABSOLUTELY. But Will the women do the afore mentioned? ABSOLUTELY NOT! This is our Achilles Heel.

The problem is, women are not equal to men. It is a fact, no point arguing it. Equality is often misconstrued. We are human beings first but once gender comes into it, nature dictates; rather, it is about complimenting each other. Should women be at the helm of power? Maybe. But it takes a huge toll on them and often distort their personalities gravelly. To survive most times, she has to take on the personality / traits of a man to succeed. Before we enter a row about dragging women back to the dark ages; let me state that I believe a woman should be empowered, chase her dreams, participate in politics and government, go to the moon etc and still have a great life. We should just be mindful of the fact that we can’t have it all and great sacrifices would have to be made to achieve them. And we all know that those sacrifices border on health, family, marriage and the children. If you can find the right balance, I don’t see why not. We shouldn’t however think that it is there for the picking. It isn’t. That is how the cookie crumbles.
As 2019, approaches the landscape is pretty dangerous and dark for even men that have dominated this space. As it is, I haven’t heard of any woman coming out like the two mentioned above did. It will be safe to say that our participation has gone ten step sback.
As Theresa J. Whitmarsh and Executive Director of the Washington State Investment Board said, “If you exclude 50% of the talent pool, it’s no wonder you find yourself in a war for talent”
Should we start an all women’s party? * shrugs shoulders*



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