Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Be patience

I walked across a beautiful garden
Cold and shivering, though smiles adorned my face
I saw a special flower.
I admired it from afar.
I wanted to go near,
Yet my leg won't move
The flower seems to understand 
My predicament.
I became more enchanted;
More fascinated, more engaged.
I was happy and knew 
I could lay my hands on it.
As I made to go pluck it, 
I woke up...
A voice echoed, "Be patience!" 

#echoofmymind

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Not from the North, Not from the south

A little to the North
a little to the south..
An angel dazzles the sky with smiles
a starlight dancing near the cresent..
Lagos multitude relishing the cool air of the night
The world, and the hearts in it stand still
wondering at the mysterous angel..
Not from the north and not from the south
her wings spread across the land
eyes cannot see..
She sings like one welcoming saints
ears cannot hear..
Not everyone is blessed to behold
for her blessing is not for all..
Will I ever behold this mystery?
Will I ever understand
why good people are hidden
...away from sinners'eyes?
Not from the north not from the south
...the light of God ever shine...

Sunday, March 8, 2020

When you have learned to discover yourself

When a soul have learned to discovered self,
when it has gone deeper than ordinary souls,
when it has discovered the secret behind it existence,
when it has learned to use the sixth sense,
when it has been able to distinguish between desire, ambition and reality,
when lust fear it approaches and hope supply the hug,
when it passion has completely disolved into it essense,
when he has clearly understand that every man is equal, and every equal is man.
.and that the thin line between it and angel is love..
It will love unconditionally ..
First..itself.. next... God..next humanity.
A priceless and bottomless love toward all.
Beauty and ugly...
Man and animals...
That is true love.

Not everyone know this!
Most manage to cling to fantasy and paddle their lives
like canoe across the ocean of life....
Some made it,
others are broken by the storm,
others are rescued when the real sailors approach
...and still many simply surrender
...and flow with the tide,
until they meet their end
...for better for worse..

Only sage can truly love..
Fool paddle through the emotional seas
...and float aimlessly!

Isqil Najim

Friday, March 6, 2020

Echo of my mind: with faith, you are too big to fail

One of, if not the most important treasure  you can possess as an individual  is faith. The faith that welcome disappointment  and setback and drive you forward even when you barely see what is ahead. By faith, i do not mean burning candles and keeping vigils  at religion centres. I refer to  that extraordinary  human unseen power to  hold on when nothing is in sight.

You are filled with hope, expectations  and confidence that end is not now until the end is the end. You lifts yourself up and move at your  own pace, even though blindfolded by your current reality: the belief that there is a way and your  determination  to find that way activates the inner eyes as you begin to exercise  your willpower.

Then, as you walk consistently and knock persistently with faith, absolute sincerity  of purpose, you found the road right ahead of you.

And to your chagrin, whatever it is that blindfolded you vanishes. Leaving you to trudge  ahead and take charge of your fate.

With faith backed by positive action, you are behemoth too big to fail.

I am Isqil Najim


Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Echo of my Mind: The people you need to be scared of

They are always vibrant and active.  Always loud when it comes to concurring with good ideas at meetings and official gatherings.  They are the first to raise the glass and say cheers to the original  innovators- the man of the moment... and hug the winner with prolong admiration. Their charisma blindfolds everyone into acceptance without questioning.

When the meeting is over; when the party is over, they are the telescope that see all the happenings within the organisation and then gossip privately with the "man of the moment".  They call themselves "concerned friend" and "professional.colleague", to receive our unabashed patronage. They reveal all our "enemies" and "haters" who are not happy with us  within the organisation to us so that "we can stay away from" them. "Be careful of that man, he has been acting strange", they warned privately with utmost concern.

Unknown to us, behind us, they also approach other members of the team, notably those that they have asked us to stay away from and tagged us arrogant, self centered and selfish. Our "haters" of course believe in these "charismatic social  telescope" who grin from ear to ear in order to build image for himself.

One fine morning, when our success have been assured, the, "charismatic social telescope" begin to work silently  to pull us down and show the world they are better than us. They use their association with is as a proof that the have been in constant touch, building ideas and helping us in various propositions that have won us laurel and name.

"We did it together as team" is often their rallying call to appeal to power brokers and idle ears. Be it elective or appointment position. Their treachery knows no bound. They will do every, anything to share in the glory they had no input and go further to work towards cornering same all to themselves even if it means pulling us down from our modest ascension and turning us into ruin.

Watch out for such animals in your team. They seek praises and recognition  through the appellation of love. Give them all these and you will soon be facing a monster whose appetite  for power; whose for craves personal glory is endlessly wrapped in intrigues hidden behind their friendship and love.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Beyond Amotekun debate:, There is a Disturbing trend that must be checked

Beyond the demonstration of  power of unity among the South West Governors and their people, the public  debates that trailed the launching of Operation Amoketun, revealed something disturbing about this generation of Yoruba intellectuals (and of course Nigerians as a whole).

Something more serious and perhaps with far reaching tragic consequences. The region is losing its grip on its environment and many intellectuals didn't really imagine how grave this is. for them and for the future generation.

First of, the security issues can be brought to its heel and resolved, but the devastation of the environment, endangered animals, and the historical legacies will be lost forever unless some actions are set in motion right now and with sense of urgency. The  Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka  called the governors to embark on Project Awosikun to complement the Operation Amotekun,, to which I totally agree. There is the need also for the third, and it is for all of us . Not just south west Nigeria.

First time in 2020 that i went round to read on some political groups on Facebook and saw many debating whether  Amotekun should  or not be. On a popular group I had merely posted a sarcasm to question the noise on Amotekun  but it soon became a thread to define what kind of animal Amotekun  is.

I read many comments there and elsewhere with bemusement. Not that they  are irrelevant  but that a large portion of Yoruba language is being lost while also exposing the shameful attitude  to conservation  of our environment  and animal reserve. There are still forests in South West Nigeria of course but How much of the wild animals we still have there is debatable as our people use every opportunity  to turn any unfortunate animal into barbecue and keep the skins as a reminder of their bravado.

Now many of their children  only see the skins of those animals so they are now confused as to what class of wild cat is Amotekun  since their father have turned most of them into endangered species  through  their carelessness and lack of foresight on conservation of their forest reserve.

Beyond security there are many lessons in this and while the professor had recommended Awosikun as the next project i think there should also be a focus on conservation of our wild animals as well as the forests.

There used to be elephants in this part of the world but our "gallant" Ode Aperin who made their living by showcasing their bravery  through hinting of wild animals  have sent them all to the brink of extinction if not already in extinction.

The new generation of Nigerians should begin to have a new orientation about wildlife conservation  Or else our future grand children will only been seeing those species on google image and never in real life and they will be debating needless things as we do today on what kind of wild cat Amotekun  is. And by ridiculous  extension, they may even come to think it was an imaginative tale by moonlight and had never really existed. The only cat they probably will see is the domestic cat climbing their roof  to hunt for rats and steal meats. That is if those  ones are saved from going into extinction as well.

Sometimes ago, a big whale was wash off the lagoon and hundreds of human scavengers mobbed  it. Knives and bowl in hands and some even came with electric  saw. In few hours the hapless creature have been reduced to bones. Same thing happened in south east. I do not think it is hunger that instigated this; for without that whale the scavengers will not die of starvation. It is our attitude to wild animals and seeing each as a delicacy to be savor that is driving us. We have enough of domestic and eatable animals around us but some still think their pride is better magnified when they had taste of wild animals and wear it skin or hang it on their wall..

Amotekun  the tiger.. Amotekun  the cheetah Amotekun  the kiniun Amotekun  the Ekun Amotekun  the ologbo la rere.. Amo.... whatever it is.. preserver the environment and stop destroying wild animals.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Echo of my mind: Do what you wish of your circumstances


There comes a time in life when you're no longer driven by people's opinion or fleeting hands of fate.  You have become accustomed to the world as a place where good and bad necessarily cohabit and where in absolute reality, there are no bad.

The same flood that brings debris and wash away homes also nourish the earth and plants that sustain life. Where people being their garbage and waste; someone is converting to manure to be of use in farm, another is fuming about the stench.

Your life become what you make of it. Failure is not what brings you down, success is not what elevates you, it is the spirit with which you welcome them that determine the condition of your life.

What someone calls starving
,another calls fasting. What someone calls fun, another labels extravagance. What someone calls exercise, another is paying as a price needed to get rid of junk fat and regain his health. . Same outlook but different motivation.

Do what you wish of your circumstances, but be sure you are the driver of your own fate. Be in charge and exercise control over your perception of events and people around you.

As for me, one of my favourite words comes from invisible mentor: Rabindranath Tagore...

Clouds come float into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm,but to add colour to my sunset sky.

#echoofmymind #wizardofkalamakato #tuesdaymotivation

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Lagos rain; before science opened my eyes


Growing up in Lagos as a kid, I was very inquisitive and always trying to find answers to things I don't understand. I lost counts of number of times I received admonitory smack for putting my nose where it should not be.

I could remember my early years and those myths bandied around me. From Awolowo living in the moon to the world is ending soon. As I get older and get to discover that the world is not all about my house; then my street and so on. I dropped layers after layers of myths and misconceptions that enveloped the young me and craved even more understanding of the events and narrations that are too good to be true.

One of the best thing my dad did was to buy me an Atlas. The book was precious to me as I get to discovered the other "worlds" and communities that made me even more inquisitive. How did they get there? Why are we different? I couldn't stop asking myself. And no one is there to provide answer.

One area that I however was sold without question, at least in my early years, is as regard Lagos rain. As kids, naturally we got excited when it is raining and took delight in playing in it. The cold we contracted afterwards was insignificant compared to the fun of relishing nature. Of course parents scrambled to get us back inside and locked us up till the rain stops.

Before I found out about the changing nature of seasons and weather, I observed, for instance, a particular period when "prophets" and "seers" would troop to our street and others in the vicinity. They would saunter to and fro with their bell clanging loudly as they captured  attention of the multitude. The first attraction is often their funny dance.

I can remember my first encounter.  As the man in the white garment darted to and fro... Singing and clanging his bell and then dancing hysterically across the street. I asked the person near me... "Se o ya were ni. ?" "is he mad?" The girl replied. "Se oju e fo ni?" (Are you blind) .. I didn't like the hostile response so I moved to another person. This time, an adult to find out what was going on. After all, only mad man can my young mind envisaged to be acting that strange.  The next person didn't indulge me. I was sent inside. No explanation was made for my dismissal even as I noticed that there were many onlookers outside. I guess I asked stupid questions. I soon found out later they are seers; the Prophets.

Once they have gathered enough curious observers who would leave their chores and trades behind to hear "the new revelation" they will roll out their prophecies. Most common of the prophecies are "there is someone thinking of doing evil towards another person on that street and he or she should not do it." "Someone will record trade loss in her business, he should be prayerful i avert heavy loss" "someone will be sick." And many more. But for this piece the one on flooding interests me most.

"There will be a non stop torrential rain in coming days and many houses will be flooded. People should pray fervently to avert the disaster, the flood and loss of properties and lives" The prophet will  warn in terrifying  voice. You can see some old women clutch their hands on their chest in reverence to the words of God and the fear of the bad times ahead. Often, such occurrences were linked to sins among the evil doers and the story of Noah is often the rallying point.

True to their "prophecies" there will be heavy downpours and there will be massive flooding in some areas. I know of places where this flooding were frequent and many homes recorded damages to their properties.
People began to believe these "prophecies" since this happen every time they come to warn. Many would collect address and visit them in their place of worship. As a kid, I was so fascinated by the accuracy and I got more curious but no one helped.
There was also another group of prophets that came to warn people to be vigilant and pray and against fire disaster.. My little mind later found that fire outbreak was common because that period of the season is dry and many people had reckless attitude to handling fire during the period with attendant loses to inferno.

As with many other myths, science opened my eyes as i gained more knowledge of science of nature. I found that there are two seasons. I observed that the prophets  warned of flooding at the approaching of the raining season.  And most of all I found that our city's drainage system was so bad. When it rains, the water all converge at a place we called "Ajagbandu". And should it rains so heavily, the water accumulated in that location and then flooded the nearby streets. The incessant flooding was checked when government cleared 'Ajagbandu' and constructed a proper channel for the water to exit the area and later turned it into a modern market now known as MKO Abiola Market.

Most of all I found that Lagos has such rainfall because of its geography and its location. And trough weather forecast one can e warned in advance of such occurrence.  Each discovery of the reality got me a bit more skeptical about manipulation of religion. And this was part of the reason I decided to take deep interest in religion studies from early age.. to find out what is motivating them and to know as much as I can.

As I grew up and more restless in mind. I got answers to some of my childhood curiosities. Thanks to science.. And I went fully into it and decided that is where my vocation will be.
Today, when I read about floods in some parts Lagos and the reactions on social media. I smiled at myself as took walk down memory of my childhood where some smart folks who had learned about weather forecast and aware of our poor drainage system had brainwashed many into parting with their hard earned money for prayer to avert what proper sanitation and drainage will have prevented.
Ironically they have not disappeared. They have only transferred their "services" into other areas. This time it is poverty, unemployment, late marriage and ill health that is driving many today.

Rains are blessing to mankind. They are natural event that balance the seasons. without rain there will be no harvest of crops. And of course we know what will happen after that. But rains crave natural path to their destination in the seas and rivers  When man's activities and impropriety has led into obstruction of their natural paths, they overflow and flood our streets.

Looking back. I wonder how many people who were conned by "prayer warriors and prophets" are as angry as I am and more determined to ensure that their future generations are not deprived of basic science knowledge and common sense. For Africa to develop and fully return to its glory days, the myths and superstitions are first needed to be shattered and prayer put into use where they should be.
Basic understanding of science behind natural events and how nature works will save a lot of people from losses relating to environment. They can get updated through weather forecast and they can be assisted in understanding what to or not do in the event of natural disaster and how minimize or avoid loss of life and properties.

Science is fun and beautiful. And being science-literate will liberate a lot of people from unnecessary myth and personal loss to conmen in religion garb. Those who do not understand it tend to get confused. It is just commonsense.  But Edwin Hubble captures it perfectly when he said; "Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure 'science.''

I am Isqil Najim @isqilnajim on twitter 

Monday, July 1, 2019

Echo of My Mind: You will never miss the water till the well runs dry

You will never miss the water till the well runs dry. You can be blessed and not know it. Only as you look back will you realise  that what you have is much more important than what you don't have.

Happiness does not come from getting what you want. You are unlikely to be happy after  getting what you want because  human want is insatiable.  The more you get, the more you crave for another.

Happiness comes from appreciating your gifts and what you have. And from developing what is in you.

You are  going to record  some loses. And what will keep you going will be your capacity  to let go what you lost and build on what you have. Only by this can you become master of your own destiny.

Rise above fleeting rage of time when it visits you. Dive in its vast ocean of opportunities. Stake your claim on what is at hand and bless yourself in your imperfection. Explore. Discover. Rejoice.

It is July.. make it a jolly one. Take charge if your NOW and take control of YOU.

Be blessed

Wizard of Kalamakato

Friday, May 17, 2019

Be Grateful Even When It's Difficult - by Bo Sanchez


Once upon a time, in one of the islands of the Philippines, there was a young tree. It was the only tree in that island. This lovely tree had long branches with leaves too many to count. It was a happy tree. It liked looking at the green plains below and the blue sea surrounding the island.
But one day, the tree noticed that one of its leaves was turning brown. What was going on? This was the first time it happened. It never experienced it before. The tree began to panic. Soon, more leaves became brown.

And then the impossible happened: One brown leaf snapped off its twig and fell to the ground.  The horrors!

Soon, more leaves fell. He counted them. Gasp! He couldn’t believe it. In one day, 6 leaves fell off from his branches. The next day, another 9 fell. The day after that, 12 more fell. On and on they kept falling.

He was losing so many leaves each day, he blurted out, “I’m dying!”

Everyday, with great anxiety, he stared on the growing mound of brown leaves gathering around His roots. He began to lose hope and wanted to end his life.

That was when a bird flew by…

Three Messages From The Bird

The feathered creature perched onto one of the tree’s branches. The bird asked, “What’s wrong? Why are you so sad?”

The tree said, “I’m dying.”

“Why do you say that?” the bird asked.

“I’m losing all my leaves! I’ve lost 94 already…”

The bird was taken aback. “You don’t know do you?” He looked around and realized why. “You haven’t seen another tree in your life. You’re all alone here. My dear friend, what you’re experiencing is something that every other tree in the world experiences.”

“Huh?”

The bird smiled and said, “I want to give you three messages today.”

“I’m listening,” the tree answered.

1) More Blessings Than Problems

“First, you say you’ve already lost 94 leaves. You count the number of leaves that you’ve lost. Count now the number of leaves that are still on your branches…”

The tree went about counting. “1, 2, 3, 4….” When he reached 300, he said, “I can’t count them. I have too many leaves!” The tree wasn’t crying anymore.

“Then you’re learning a very important truth. Remember that you’ll always have more blessings than problems. Problems seem more because you count them, you measure them, and you analyze them everyday. But when you count your blessings, you’ll realize that your blessings will outnumber your problems. Always!”

May I interrupt this story by another story?

I was reading about Roger Crawford. When he was born, he had a genetic defect. He was born without two hands and without a left leg. But despite his disability, he became a professional Tennis player in America.

He became a champion?  How could he play Tennis without two hands and a left leg? I don’t know. But he did.

You see, Roger never complained, “Lord, why don’t I have hands and a left leg?” Instead, he said, “Lord, thank you for what I have. I have arms and I have one leg. What will you do with what I have?”

Roger didn’t bother counting the leaves that fell off his branches. He celebrated the many leaves that remained in his branches.

Let’s go back to my story…

2) More Space For New Blessings

The bird said, “Here’s my second message. I want you to look at your branches. Specifically, at the empty space where your leaves fell from. Do you see them?”

“Yes.”

“Are they really empty.”

“Yes, they’re empty. A leaf was there before…”

“Look closer,” said the bird, “because it’s not really empty…”

That was when the tree said, “Well, I see tiny leaves sprouting in the same place where my old leaves fell from.”

The bird nodded, “If your old leaves didn’t fall, there wouldn’t have been space for new leaves to sprout in your branches. If you want better things to happen in your life, some older things will have to go first.”

“I now understand,” the tree smiled.

Let me interrupt this story again and tell you that this is how life works.

Thank God for empty spaces in your life.

Perhaps a relationship ended this year. Perhaps a boyfriend left you. Thank God and believe that someone new, someone better, will be walking into your life.

Perhaps you lost your job this year. Perhaps your company folded up. Perhaps you were retrenched. Thank God and believe that you’ll get a better job and company very soon!

I remember two women whose husbands left them. Both of their husbands found another woman and walked out of their lives.  Both were devastated.

But both had a very different attitude. One followed the grumbling path and the other followed the grateful path.

One woman cried, “My husband left me. My life is now over.”

But the other woman said, “My husband left me. My life is just beginning…”

Like this woman, don’t ever give up. Don’t say, “My life is over.” Say instead, “My life is about to begin.” Because new growth happens only if there are empty spaces in your life.

3) More Nourishment From Your Growth

The bird chirped, “And now for my last message. Do you notice what happens to your brown leaves?” the bird asked.

“They rot,” the tree shrugged, looking at the mound of brown leaves around its roots.

“Yes they do, but for a purpose,” said the bird, “because in due time, these rotting leaves will become part of the soil. These leaves will enrich you. Your roots will drink their nourishment. Causing you to grow and sprout more leaves…”

You Need Trouble To Grow

“I can’t be grateful for 2012. This was the year my husband left me.”

Or “This was the year our house burned down.”

Or “This was the year I learned I had cancer.”

Or “This was the year my father died.”

Yesterday, I was looking back at the year that passed.  I realized something very important. I realized that I grew the most not during the times when everything was smooth. Or the times when everything was going my way. I realized that I grew the most during the times when there was intense trouble. Intense pain. I grew the most when I was attacked from all directions and I couldn’t breathe anymore.

That’s when God stretched me.

I have one word for you about trouble: Get used to it.  Because trouble is the birthplace for your greatest growth.

Be grateful for the blessings behind your trials.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Echo of my mind: Time to Avoid English Press and footbaall Pundits

So Chelsea will now square up with Arsenal in a final of a Cup both have derided in the past as of no importance? What a big humble pie to eat by two proud rivals!

At a time in recent memory, Arsenal derided Europa Cup when Chelsea won it. Chelsea on other hand had derided Arsenal many times for being in Europa league and for not even having European success.

This is season has, and will humble both of them. Sari ball had become a nightmare on Stamford Bridge while Emery desperately need Chelsea to lose the Europa final to prove a point. Both will be so happy to lay their hand on the trophy regardless of their past misgiving about the cup.

They must have learn from Man United why half bread can be better than none. Now the two will go to war to challenge for title. At least they wont be ending the season like Man United which is the only club in top 6 that is ending this season with a cup full of shame and regrets.

Can we now say the losers have come home to eat their vomit?

On a serious note: the La Liga fans can now end the efforts at trying to convince the rest of the football world that theirs is not a kindergaten league. The gods of football have announced their shrine is located in England. No one knows how long they plan to feast on EPL's red oil, palp, kolanut and other sacrificial morsels.

This is  time to avoid English  press and their pundits.. we wont sleep again!

#echoofmymind

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Echo of my Mind: Watch those minor slights

Great wars and damaging family feuds were not created by big calamity or cataclysmic event; they were created by simple,  repeated, and seemingly inconsequential acts of perceived injustice and misunderstandings; where the guilty person thinks the other person is either for the taking or incapable of upsetting the odd.

In your home or among your peers, watch out for those simple slights. Those little annoyances and make amend quickly before the victim withdraw silently to his shell. Many people takes it for granted that the one who retreated after he was maltreated is a coward. Sometimes, taking advantage of such person even more, and subsequently building a position of (false) advantage over the victim.

While it is true some are indeed cowards and weak; it is from among such supposed cowards and weakling that the seeds of enmity and discord are sown. When this seed is nurtured and watered adequately by the constant shower of injustice, they germinate, however slow, to become a poisonous tree that come back to humble their sower or the generation that preceded them.

Human beings are creatures of emotions.. Never ever hurt someone's emotion without making amend. A perceived  weak person's revenge is at the root of great man-made calamities.. No wonder, the prophet of Islam once said: " he is not the victor,  who vanquished and humiliate the weak: the real Victor is one who maintains deliberate control over his raging emotion.."

Beware of the revenge of the provoked that refuses to act immediately. History have recorded voluminous books where those who were once regarded underdogs and weakling have upset the giants in ways that changed the path of history forever- for better.. or for worse!

I am Isqil Najim

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Rules cannot Take the Place of Character


Albert camus put it succinctly "integrity has no need of rules"


Alan Greenspan once said "Rules cannot take the place of character," and he was right.
In some organisations, most managers focus on the rules and neglect the character. Left on his own, the average human can manipulate any given rules and no one would find him out. He can make his compliance so visible and receive generous commendations from superiors. yet, behind the public show of compliance is a routine law breaker, who has mastered the art of concealing his crime in favour of the more visible art of intelligent compliance.
Such persons lack character which is needed for a deeper trust and a long term organisational productivity... Unfortunately, they are not always found out until a damage is done. Society also encourage dishonesty by punishing act voluntary disclosure of wrongdoing and making a scapegoat out of honest disclosure while rewarding those who are masters of conditional compliance. The victims eventually learn to be dishonest as a way of earning good rating. They soon join their colleagues in mastering art of compliance without character. Such people care only about their career advancement, or business interest while embracing organisational goal halfheartedly.
Companies and organisations need to begin to encourage those who relate with them to develop positive character rather than placing strict emphasis on the rules. In the long run, people with character and positive attitude tend to deliver more than those who are strictly obeying order and have firm resolve not to do more than obey order and execute instruction. The later are innovation killers, more often slowing down productivity if not altogether reducing it.
I like the way Stephen M. R. Covey put it, "only as corporations focus on trust and integrity, rather than compliance, will they really be able to promote true organisational credibility and trust."
Do you care about your long term organisational goal and stronger commitment of your people to the goal? invest in your people's trust and character. any smart crook can break the rule and cover his track, only men of integrity and character give their best whether you are watching or out of sight... Albert camus put it succinctly "integrity has no need of rules"