James Agazie Ed D

James Agazie Ed D

A retired college Professor  with educational backgrounds in law (JD) education (Ed.D, MA) counseling,( MS) and and mathematics.  Write on topics dealing with Nigerian families, marriages, education, and employment. 

 

Sunday, 17 April 2016 14:21

Amadou's Complaints

You’re a Christian. You’ve met many African Muslims you see at flea markets scattered around your city in the USA.  They are men selling handbags and jeans imported from China. Their women plait hair, carry babies on their backs, and help their husbands support the families.  Perhaps, you’ve been to their social gatherings, they gave you food, you ate, and did not die. It finally dawns on you that “these people are people.” You are finding out that, like Christians and Jews, the Muslims are children of God.  They want the same things that you and I want. They want family life, money, houses, love, food, and peaceful communities.

Many (you don’t have percentages) appear to be nonviolent. They aren’t openly in agreement with the activities of boko haram or the terrorist’s attacks in France and Sweden or bombings around the world. When you look at them you are perplexed, not knowing what to do or say. Like you, the Muslims laugh, cry, bleed, die, and do all things that everyone else does. “Where are all these violence and hatred coming from?” I wonder. You wonder. We wonder, and we are very perplexed. Then you ran into a Fulani named Amadou in a vivid dream. Amadou! Amadou!  Come here, Amadou!

                                               ________

Confused, fearful, and undecided about blowing himself up, Amadou, a Fulani from a village beyond Sambisa Forest, has a lot to contemplate. His complain is about his religion and the pains it had brought him. In the end, he wonders if his religion is an anachronism. Could it be a relic, a holdover, or leftover? He questions whether he should trust his cousin Yohanna, a recent convert to the Jehovah Witness which teaches that Christianity is mistaken in its belief that Jesus is God.

So strangely compounded (you might say confounded) in his feeling of self-pity, this young Fulani boy, while he knows the utter worthlessness of his life in the Sambisa Forest, can scarcely forget how Yohanna’s Uncle killed   his wife for supporting a niece who eloped with the son of Reverend Ezekiel Sambo to a secret wedding at Abuja., and how the Sharia Court sitting in Sambisa Forest dismissed the murder charge as excusable when done in defense of family honor on the ground that comingling Islam with other religions is a heresy, an abomination any Muslim worth the name should never tolerate. When ground has been dishonored, mustn’t it open up? Shouldn’t it swallow (nay, admit) Sambisa Forest, and by extension, the whole of Nigeria into its infernal bowels?   

To make matters worse, Amadou’s only sister, 9-year-old Amina had somehow died mysteriously when someone pressed a key on a cell phone that denoted the suicide belt bound tightly around her petite body as she walked nervously into a large crowd in Kano market. Amadou is seeking answer, an explanation as well as escape from his unbearable anguish. His lamentation is both heroic and inconsolable for a 12-yer-old Fulani boy.  He seeks you out of a crowd upon discovering your roles as Professor and recently ordained Pentecostal minister                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        for the sole purpose of crying upon your shoulders.

You flew back to America and went straight to your favorite flea market where you were surrounded in a circle of middle aged Muslims who eke out a  modest living 5 days a week, selling China’s imported blue jeans and handbags. You told your audience about Amadou, how his only sister was blown up to shreds, how his uncle killed his wife, and how sorry you were. Fearful and trembling in the midst of  men half your age who could well be sympathetic with a madman and his murderous Boko haram, you picked up courage and threw the first protective blow in a pugnacious, accusatory tone as your manner usually is.

YOU: How come you Muslims are known all over the world as the most troublesome, terribly murderous group of people on earth? Show me any Muslim country on earth where there’s peace and not bloodshed. Do you know that you’ve killed over 20,000 men, woman and children in my country and rendered over 12 million people homeless? I must say that your religion is an anachronism, causing death and destruction wherever you are. I invite you to meet me here next Sunday to take you to my Methodist Church so you may hear of Christian love and fellowship. How about that?

FIRST MUSLIM: Not all Muslims are killers as you say. We don’t know the god the boko haramists worship, and where they got that religion. Not from Allah and not from Mohammed.

YOU: Then , how do I know a true Muslim when I see one? By the way, where are the schoolgirls kidnapped from their school? Aren’t they being sent as bomb carriers? Tell me.

SECOND  MUSLIM “Prof, don’t mind those people, They don’t represent true Islam. The Quran says love all people. Allah does not condone killings as boko haram does They are serving a different Allah and reading a different Quran, Don’t mind them”  

THIRD MUSLIM “Remember Prof, you Christians have dipped your hands in as much blood and  killings in history as we Muslims. You’re a teacher, aren’t you? Go read history to check out what I am saying.

YOU Thank you, Sir. I know you’re quite right. Then, what do we do?

There was stillness that was quieter than silence.

You flew back to Sambissa Forest to seek Amadou out and pray for his blessed soul, That’s when Amadou the 12-year-old Muslim Fulani boy begins his lamentations to your greatest consternation and broken heartedness.  Amadou says with eyes blinded with tears:

 

“Cry for 9-year Amina unaware she was ready to be blown up by external remote

Will there ever be a future with Boko Haram; and how long do we run out of virgins?

Oligarchy is suffocating Northern Nigeria, just as trading intoxicates the Anyamiri

Things were better under British and Igbo-Yoruba governance than under Bello-Balewa

Allah, doesn’t the General know Nigeria’s 170-million is an entity under one banner?

 

Does he know that a written Constitution, like gum Arabic, holds 36 states together?

Chei,Oligarchy is the barbaric concentration of power in hands of dominant uncivilized

If General doesn’t know, why pretend he’s commanding assault on Dutsen Lamda

Against a battalion of half naked women with exposed breasts and buttocks ajar

Allah oo!  ! Cry for 9-year Amina unaware she was being blown up by external remote

 

Hey there, Mr. Coup Planner tell this man it’s a new day; the day of Sandhurst is over

And, Mr. Coup Planner, when was the last time you shot an Igbo pilot in the head?

Wasn’t garri in the barracks while Biafran children ballooned with kwashiorkor?

Since suicide bombers are seeking virgins, aren’t 3million Hausas girls quietly waiting?

Cry for 9-year Amina unaware  that she would be blown up cruelly by external remote

 

It wouldn’t be fair that 3million Fulanis should die to set up the world’s largest harem

No one has a monopoly on death, for all blood is blue in veins and crimson in open air

Why are Hausa and Fulani girls in a hurry to ensure we never run out of eligible virgins? 

Muslims,where were your Islamic heads when Anyamirin and Mghati were booky-booky?

 Did you cry for 9-year Amina unaware she was destined to be blown up by external remote?

   

Were you fashioning koboko, polishing the bow and sharpening poisonous arrows?

I heard you were devising advanced bomb making with kettles and steel pipes

Getting your greyhounds ready to tear off raw balls from swollen bloody scrotums

While you’re reciting incomprehensible Arabic syllables and facing Jerusalem in error

 Shekau says “Attention”; his boys ask “Shall we Burn the church or rape the girls?”

 

When Shekau says, “Both”; the boys answer: “oshe bee , mu Je” Kpataraka boom

In obedience to a madman’s command to chase Christians wherever Muslims find them

Might doesn’t make it right; when the kite that carries a ducking is a stupid coward

Heap praises on the kite that lifts up the chick whose mother puts up a daring fight

The world cries on deaf ears: Bring back the girls, brriiiig baaak, brrriing  baaak  girrrls!

 

The Coup Planner watches his life-long dream vanish in thick blackened smoke

I was the Fulani that follows a thousand cattle, gathering the droppings for firewood

I boil cuddled milk mixed with millet to make khunu to chase away my terror

Like ancient Atlas I bear the earth alone and stagger on emaciated tooth-pick legs

Shekau leads an army of Hausas/Fulani almajirees  on endless trek of tearful death

 

Why is the North the most backward after we’ve spent zillions to tame the monster?

And how come we Hausas or Fulanis are the most backward tribes of modern Nigeria?

We’re lacking in good judgment and our residence is burning while we hunt rodents

Garba the  prodigal has wasted his inheritance chasing  docile akwunakwuna of Saudia

He now slaughters all in his path to recapture the old glorious days lost forever

 

My nation was raped  by Abacha, debased by Bello, and enslaved by Abubakar Shekau

The Northernization Policy protected us while in reality we were being marginalized

Fellow countrymen, are we Fulanis bona fide citizens or infiltrated through the borders?

Come here, Yorubas, explain to me why the North chooses maroon on a dry sandy dune

Igbos, why do you envy we backward Hausas because you ain’t managing bloody Naira? 

 

Doesn’t a tadpole metamorphose to frog after a few days, and pupa becomes butterfly?

How come the Northern Nigeria sleepwalks while his Southern Biafrans hallucinate?

Still, the backward Nigerian tribes refuse to transmogrify after centuries of wanderings.

Answer me: Since when Is audacious ignorance the exclusive Northern rite de passage?

A vote for the Fulani army General is a step as backward, as a journey to the Middle Ages.

 

Now, tell  Abokina,  the village troubadour and musical entertainer of Lokoja: “ Keep quiet”

He’s  an itinerant minstrel singing and reciting for hire to the chagrin of many tired ears

He sings sad stories of missed opportunities of our lost empires of  Hausa-Fulani-Kanuri

He sings: “Chei, the Northern tribes are at the very bottom on every measure of progress.

Chei, why is it that all that matters to our people is being married to four harlots?”

 

We  troop to Saudi Arabia as eunuchs whose stones have been pulverized.

Wallowing in ignorance, we Northerners are missing the last train of modernization.

Wake Yorubas from death-iike slumber; pour icy-cold water on naked Biroms.

Bring the Tivs and the Idomas to the table to hear the evils of jihadist mallams

Why did Igbos leave a toad-like excreta on a Vono bed in middle of my bedchamber?

 

Does a vote for front-running Sunni sanction kidnappings and stoning of women?

Now, the North is wilderness, the most underdeveloped fringes of nothingness

After wasted efforts of Igbos to transform  and modernize impenetrable wilderness

The Northerner remains incognizant, inconspicuous, iniquitous, intractable, & implacable

He is recalcitrant, stubbornly defiant as oxen , and totally oblivious of commonsense

 

He is intractably stubborn; he’s unreachable, impossible to control, and uncaring

He’s cankerous, has leprous liver, cantankerous, bad tempered, and obstreperous

Isn’t North the neck of woods that produced Federal Ministers of Establishment?

How come with Chief Justices, Governors, and University Vice Chancellors

Whose principal qualifications are week-long diplomas in Islamic Studies?

 

Chei, the Noth still remains as barren as the sand dunes of ancient Saudi Arabia?

Despite numerous pilgrimages, they send narrow-minded simpletons as legislators

They are sponsors of boko haram, of intellectual inferiority, and moral turpitude

Allah, expose the  Hausa-Fulani-Kanuri murder squad, of Northern Oligarchy

In this modern world of peace, education, and love, religion is a divider

 

Chei, Oligarchy is a dangerous thing when the bottom barrel has come to the top

Chei, pray for the souls of murdered  fetuses gutted out amidst pregnancies

Pray for the unknown whose heads were dropped into Birom wells around Jos

Weep for Biafran children starved when bags of garri sat cozily in army barracks

We cry for 9-year Amina unaware she was being blown up to fragments.”

 

At the end, worn out, trembling, and emaciated, Amadou asks to be baptized into Christianity.

QUESTIONS FOR MY READERS TO PONDER:

  1. How do we assist Muslims who, like Amadou are straddling the fence?
  2. What are the steps toward setting up a congregation where Allah and Jesus are not the pillars of faith? What should be the central figure or cardinal philosophy?
  3. Suppose the world ended today and we found out there is no heaven, hell, or judgment after this life, no 72 or so virgins awaiting the lucky few whose suicide belts detonate. Then what?
  4. If Jesus and Muhammad were to meet today, what would they say to each other about the conditions the earth is in? About Nigeria? About how the religions they spearheaded are tearing the earth?

Fictional Eulogy created by Dr. James C. Agazie, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thursday, 14 April 2016 13:51

Things Men Wish Women Knew

This is written to all women, wives and girl friends in the lives of my friends wherever they are. Ladies, thank you for reading my stuffs. Please drop everything and get to know your man. There are things your men wish you knew

Men like to talk, and they sometimes talk of things that are utterly uninteresting to women. Listen as he talks. Encourage him to talk and steer him to interesting conversations that make you feel a wide range of emotions, such as shoes, clothes, make-ups, entertainment, travel, and music. You want to feel hope and heightened aspirations. You don't want to listen to boring stuffs like his past relationships, science fiction or his fixation on money. If he talks shit that bores you, gently place a heavy leg on his lap and pretend you are tired and sleepy. Yawn to indicate you want sex talks and gentle massage on your back in bed rather than boring talks about Buhari and Nigerian politics/palaver. Sit up when he tells good "tory" that takes your breath away. You need to be entertained sometimes, don't you?

Men are vulnerable, insecure, and want women to believe in them. That means that your man is sometimes at risk of not being sure of himself, and at times lacks confidence or self-assurance. Yet, you should accept him for who he is, and believe he will be alright. Gently ask him to unburden sometimes and share his innermost feelings with you. Look for ways to lift up his sagging confidence. without being overbearing.

Men value appearance in women. They want women to always look good, attractive and take care of themselves.  Who wants to be with ooglii (super ugly) lady? Please make your man happy by putting on nice clothes, splashing your body with sweet-smelling odors, and applying the mud to your face with puff-puff. Don't overdo the "mud" thing so much as to look like mammy-water, masquerade, or fairy. Please look appealing, especially in front of your man's friends. He wants to show you off as award-winning soccer trophy.

Men want to be praised. The biggest poison I know is praise: it kills quicker than rattle snakes. Apply massive praise to massage your man's ego. Praise him for anything good he does, like paying bills, buying food, washing your vehicle, even after battering you senseless with unusual sexual activity like a ram. Tell him: "Thanks for being a he-goat" after a night of satisfactory sex, and mean it.

Men want women to encourage them rather than tear them down. There is a big difference between encourage  and put down. Joseph who had the MBA in management enjoys reading medical journals at his pregnant wife's doctor's office. One day, his wife told him "Baby, I see you like medical books, and I believe you'll make a wonderful doctor." Joe said: "Really?" Wife said: "Really, and I mean it." One thing led to the other until Joe quit his management work and enrolled in pre-med program and was admitted to a medical school in North Carolina. I ran into Joe at a conference for MD's (Medical Doctors) . Lucky Joe! Thanks to his wife's application of massive encouragement.

Men don't want women to change them: They want women to accept them for who they are, especially with their flaws and imperfections. Why do you want to change leopard with black spots into a white lamb? Accept what you have. Gently encourage him to drop certain offensive behaviors and pick up those that please you. But do it with cups running over with honey, buttery praise or floundering flatter. Men love it.

Men want more sex, but they claim they are not addicted to it.  Lie! They want to be desired and loved.   The worst thing you would do as a woman is to refuse to discharge what is part of your wifely duty. Show me a man that doesn't like sex and I will show a monkey that doesn't eat banana or a goat that " no de chop" (doesn't eat) grass. Don't be in the habit of often telling your man: "Honey, not tonight again" or "I don't feel like it."  Lady, get up, douse, and climb back in bed and love your man. Tell that man you adore him, and let your love for him be known in public. Touch him often.

Men want to experiment with sex but are embarrassed to let you know. Charles Mkpi (He Goat) likes to take other women to motels to do what his wife wouldn't do with him, until wife got wind of it when she accidently saw a Motel 8 bill Charles dropped in the bathroom. During our Marriage Coaching session, Charles and Angela agreed to leave the children in their stuffy apartment once a week and check into a motel with bottles of Heinekens and wine. That was a simple solution to what could have been a big problem leading to a bitter, acrimonious divorce.

Men want space once in a while and would like women to understand that.  Nothing is more annoying than a woman who crowds her man, or follows him around as a snoop or part-time unofficial FBI investigator.  Men hate clinging vines like yam growing in the garden. Give him time and space to think by himself, to evaluate his life, go to meetings, walk around the mall, or drink a beer of two with men folk.

Men never admit it but they do cry. Psychologists have determined that crying is good for men, at least to show they are human, and release hurts and pent-up emotions that, if not gotten rid of, can lead to stroke and high BP. If he cries , don't stop him but let him cry it out, Please walk to another room if you can't stand it. Crying is healthy. Some men pay fees to psychologists to learn how to cry. On the other hand, the Chinese who don't express emotions of joy and happiness easily as they pursue hard science and the Yuan, are paying their therapists money just to learn how to laugh.

Come on, girl, you can really do it and know what your man wishes you knew.

About the Author: Although James C. Agazie, JD, EdD, is retired Professor of Education & Psychology, he is being called out of retirement to serve as Adjunct Professor. He has taught for years as Professor at  both the  undergraduate and graduate levels. He devotes time to writing and consulting services, helping students with the Master's theses, Doctoral dissertations, and research and statistics. He runs Marriage Coaching sessions which he started with his late wife Dr. Maxine M. Agazie,(40 years of marriage) and which is geared towards assisting couples to work through marital difficulties and/or avoid divorces. He can be reached at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Dr. James C. Agazie, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The purpose of the instant essay is to argue that the killings of women in Nigerian society will continue so long as women are considered to be property. Charles Adegbite from Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria, filed a report on July 3, 2013. The report stated that 45-year-old Daramola, a motorcycle repairer and farmer, beat his wife , Iyalo Daramola, a mother of three children to death and buried her after the incident, because she requested for food money and the man said he had no money. Unfortunately,  while he was talking, the sum of N38,000 ($125) allegedly fell from his pocket.

As an argument escalated, wife attempted to walk away, but Daramola pursued his wife with a piece of wood and beat her until she fell down dead. That Nigerian women are systematically abused and sometimes suffer deaths at the hands of their husbands, who think of nothing in the world other than money, is not a secret. For one thing, in the Nigerian society, women are considered to be chattel or slave to be used and discarded as a man deems appropriate. Chattel is a movable personal property, or any article of tangible property other than land, buildings, and other things annexed to the land.  Land is more valuable than women in Nigerian society, and that's why males inherit terra firma/earth , to the exclusion of  the women. Why does the woman's property belong to her husband? It is because women are property meant for the pleasure of men. Pieces of property generated by a property are considered property belonging to the original property owner .

To give you an illustration, if I bought a fowl from Ogbete market and slaughtered it for pepper soul, what is your business?  Isn't the damned chicken my property and why can't I have my pepper soup in peace? Why do Nigerians pay a dowry or bride price for a wife? If you have not heard of bride prices and you want to swear that your father or your uncle  took his wife without paying some money to his wife's relatives, then there is no bigger liar than you, your uncle, your father or all of you, and you  ought to get out of my face and go jump into River Niger. As the time  draws nigh for the arrival of dowry, come and watch old Papa and Mama perch up like famished pussy cats on stretchers  for two reasons: grab the money bag and banish extra mouth from food table. They have just sold a slave to a man to so do a he chooses.

We are not going to discuss the appropriateness of the punishment a man doles out to the wife he bought or the things the Nigerian government does to contribute to frustration that leads men to kill their wives. These topics are for later essays. Go tell cows that a dowry is for the purpose of showing appreciation to parents for raising a daughter. Isn't that a part of parental duties?  The point is that Nigerian men kill their wife more frequently over insignificant events than one realizes. Should I tell  a story of one Nigerian husband who went to the market to pour a quantity of petrol on his wife and set her afire? She made a failed business transaction resulting in losses rather than profits. To digress a little bit just to make the "tory" more disgusting, in India where wives bring dowry to the man rather the other way around, wife burning has reached an epidemic proportion. A wife who brings inadequate bride price to the husband's family runs the risk of dying in flames orchestrated by future mother-in-law and prospective husband's siblings.

It is not unusual for a  Nigerian man to send a wife he bought for a bride price totaling  less than N30,000 ($99) back to her father's house in the village and to ask that his money be refunded in full. He does so even after the husband has used the woman for years and she has given birth to one or more children. I have seen many a Nigerian man arrogantly bluff: "The children are mine and they must go with me because 'na  Ala igbo, umu azi bu nke nwoke '" (children belong to the male in Igboland).

A story is told of a man and his wife who were in the process of filing for a public divorce and each was asked to take his/her personal stuff before the final separation. The public watched in amazement as the woman quietly took her frying pan, ite ofe (soup pots) and ikwe na odo  (mortar and pestle), abada (wrappers) , ichafusi  (head dress), iyori nti (earrings), and a few other adornments women beautify themselves with for the pleasure of men. When the time came for the man to take his personal assets, Chief Mazi Oga Big Man quickly and boisterously confiscated all that the wife had selected, and in the process, grabbed the woman's left hand, her children and the jigida (large beads)  under her wrapper. Then he announced to the applause of both male and female onlookers: "These are my inheritance."

CONCLUSION: The killings of woman will continue in Nigerian society so long as the women are considered to be "things."  Even educated Nigerian women, including lawyers, doctor, and engineers would rather be bought in the open dowry market than remain at home as spinsters/unattached old maids.

COPYRIGHTED JULY 4, 2013 @ 10:43AM

A meeting I attended on Saturday October 8, 2011, is responsible for spurring or stimulating the writing of this piece. At this meeting, the President and some members present expressed deep concerns over the plight of Nigerian children in the USA. The roots of the troubles we have in Nigeria are attributed to the ways we manage our most valued product. Did you say the product is money? You are wrong. While some members spoke on the children’s indiscipline and inappropriate habits, others point accusing fingers at the real culprits, namely, Igbo parents and parents from all Nigerian tribes, who lack proper child-rearing strategies. Bad behavior is not just limited to Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa, or Calabar children.

Bad behavior of our children is due to the lackadaisical, sloppy attitudes of we parents from all tribes represented in Nigeria. Yes, and we don’t have half-mouthed excuses. Our Nigerian children are not angels in white robes; some are worse than others, and many feel the world owes them a debt of utmost adoration just because they are little people. The point and lesson to be gotten from the October 8, 2011 meeting and this piece is this: children are the most prized possession of any Nigerian community at home or abroad and must be guarded with the greatest envy, jealousy or protectiveness. A people without disciplined children are as lost as the wilderness. All hands should be on deck, investigating the problem of children indiscipline and coming up with viable solutions. Your feedback and criticisms will be deeply appreciated in any community.  

Raising a child is the most difficult job in the world. The statement is worth repeating. Raising a Nigerian child successfully is becoming the most daunting job.  Why is it so? It is not only the most difficult; it is also the thorniest, the most complicated, the most intricate, always thankless, and the trickiest. Raising a child successfully isn’t as easy as A-B-C  because it involves dealing with the most elaborate and convoluted commodity the world has ever known: the human being. The easiest job you and I have done or can be called upon to perform will involve the manipulation of objects, such as machine, chair, tire, foodstuffs, buildings, or an 18-wheeler truck. Objects, even the most sophisticated computers, do not behave as a child, and therefore do not place great demands upon our time, effort, patience, planning, prayer, or financial commitment.

Unlike a machine, a child has emotions, attitudes, aims, desires, likes, and dislikes. Improper care of our children means our civilization is threatened and could suffer extinction. Children are our future, our most prized possession, and our future depends upon our children. There have been many complaints about the ways Nigerian parents are raising their Nigerian children in Nigeria, the United States, in Great Britain, Canada, Europe, and the entire world. The behavior of Nigerian children everywhere is nothing to sit in a showboat and be as proud as a peacock. We are yet to find Nigerian-American children of whom we can write home and brag “He’s problem-free”; “He’s worthy of emulation “;  or “Oh, she is how my mother raised us.”  

Our children’s behavior, attitudes, and contributions to society have left a lot to be desired. If you doubt this, please talk with your child’s teacher at school, the pastor at your church, your community leaders or even the local law enforcement personnel. Nigerian children are improperly raised by parents using unacceptable techniques in homes shockingly situated. Since it takes a village to raise a child, it will require all shareholders, including the parents, teachers and the community at large to recognize the onerous undertaking raising a child entails. As the principal players in child-rearing activity are parents who we urge to put the best foot forward in reversing current pernicious trends the press and others have reported . A Nigerian college male came home on vacation and proceeded to choke his younger brother to death while the father was at work. He ended his insanity by beating his physician mother until she collapsed in a pool of blood in the garage at the point of death. A few suggestions are outlined for the benefit of parents interested in raising children that the world and Nigerians in general and the Igbo, Hausa, Fulani,  or Yoruba community in particular will be very proud of. 

LISTEN TO THE BASIC INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE LEAVING EARTH

The purpose of this essay is to offer some suggestions that might help some of us who are responsive parents. Because there are no schools or colleges where effective child-rearing training is taught, and because you and I are raising our children the way our parents raised us. With all of us being unsure and untutored, learning to use tried and sure techniques might be our only way to better serve our children. Unfortunately, there are no tried and sure ways. I have heard a Pentecostal pastor at Fort Valley, Georgia, speculate that basic instructions on raising responsible children are outlined in the Bible which he defined as the  Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. If you combine the first letters of each word from “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth”, you will get the word BIBLE. Without preaching, without being too moralistic, and without belaboring the issue, two instructions seem to stand out.  

First, “train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). That means, we should hedge in, enclose, circumvent, beat around the bush, or get around a child at the point of instruction on every step he/she takes, drilling the child thoroughly on how to perform certain duties, and how to escape dangers in order to receive appropriate blessings and avoid immense curses. We should stamp these lessons deep in the soul and lead the child to constantly practice the lesson until it becomes part of his or her life and nature. Here, “practice maketh perfect” is a famous Nigerian idiom.

Secondly, “withhold not correction from the child, for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die” (Proverbs 23:13). That means that correcting the child may involve the use of negative consequences, including corporal punishment, withdrawal of desired reinforcements, and manual labor, retribution, or payback for the wrong done. You’ve heard some Nigerians say: “Spare the rod and spoil the child.” The child must suffer disincentive, deterrent, or restraint. The way to discourage certain behaviors is to “nip it in the bud” so to speak.  If you don’t  then capital punishment becomes society’ s only means to protect itself from undisciplined, dangerous people when your child is given long prison sentences lasting for 20 or more years or ordered to be given lethal injection execution-style.

 I can still remember how my father would lock my head between his massive thighs and deliver some sharp whip whip whip to my bare buttocks for skipping homework to play soccer. Have you heard of Asian countries (Indonesia in particular) that sentence your child to face firing squads for trafficking in illegal cocaine?  China is executing many of your children for the same crime while many other countries are reviving their death sentences aimed at snuffing life out of your Nigerian children. Isn’t the widespread  execution of Nigerians in foreign lands a sad testament to the ineffectiveness of our child-rearing practices?

APPLICATION: instill in your children that raising them in proper ways to behave is a duty God has placed upon or entrusted to you; that you are going to carry out this duty fairly and firmly regardless of your child’s  approval or disliking you; that performance of this duty may involve dishing out punishments and withdrawal of privileges; that they may not see the value of your training now but will discover it eventually when the benefits accrue or vest; and that the training you are giving them now is part and parcel of the love you have for them.

THIS IS NOT A POPULARITY CONTEST

You are a parent charged with raising your children to the best of your ability. It is not your job to win a popularity contest with anyone, nor to be well-liked or admired by your child, or to beat out your spouse as the “better” parent. Mr. and Mrs. Silas and Monica O (fictitious names) are having difficulties agreeing to the rearing practices suitable for their four boys and two girls. While Monica believes children should be allowed to do as they choose in taking food from the refrigerator and drinking milk and juices whenever they please, for example, Silas insists on eating and drinking only at proper breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

 Monica argues vehemently with husband in front of children who begin to feel that Daddy does not love them and to side with Mommy who characterizes Daddy as being too cheap. The couples also disagree about children’s responsibility for and contribution to the family budget. Silas is frustrated that (a) children waste food; (b) eldest 25-year-old daughter is in and out of college and hasn’t yet graduated after four years of college, does not hold part-time or full employment, and does not contribute to family rent, food or utilities even when she does work occasionally, though she eats, and lays around the house talking to friends and watching television; and (c) rather than encourage her teenage children to find part-time employment and be responsible, Monica spoils children with excessive pocket money and unnecessary pizza parties. The result is that the unemployed eldest daughter at age 25 is not in school, does not date, and has no clue as to what she wants to do with her life.

APPLICATION: Child rearing requires joint efforts of both Mom and Dad. There should be no  “I love you more than Daddy does;” no “I win- you- lose” situation;  but “I-win and -you-win” state of affairs in child rearing. Each parent should encourage children to respect and listen to advise from the other parent. It is arrogance and stupidity to claim to know all child-rearing answers or to put oneself out as the “savior” or “protector” of your children over the other parent.”Recognize that you may be the cause of children’s irresponsible behavior when you directly or indirectly encourage laziness, drunkenness, dishonesty, shiftlessness, and undermine the other spouse’s efforts, or exhibit I-know-it-all attitudes in front of impressionable, susceptible young people. You don’t know it all and you need to keep quiet.

START EARLY

It is easier to start the raising and training of your children as early as possible, preferably from birth, than it is to begin when they are older or gotten bent out of shape with problems, school suspension or dismissals, prison sentences, or court-ordered  community work or other consequences. This Nigerian woman knew her son was problematic at school and in the community, but she chose to ignore or approve of his misbehavior until the child became arrested for serious crimes. Then, our woman was seen on national television crying and declaring: “But my son is a good boy.” Nobody would listen to such lame excuses of a mother for her recalcitrant ward. To be recalcitrant is to be wayward, headstrong, disobedient, obstinate, intractable, or unmanageable. Such behaviors did not start all of a sudden or on one “blue-sun” day. It took, days, months, or years in the making.

This Texas Igbo family’s teenage daughter had the habit of slipping out of the house by climbing out of the  back window at or around midnight to visit her boyfriend. She would get home and climb back through the window just before dawn to prepare for school. The family knew or should have known of the girl’s behavior and, upon checking all rooms during the night, the father sometimes found the window unlocked and the daughter not in bed. One day, in order to correct his daughter’s dangerous behavior, the father locked the window while the daughter was out visiting her boyfriend. The daughter retaliated by informing teachers and classmates that father was raping her and that was the reason for her slipping out of the house. What a brutal, treacherous daughter who felt that having sex with a boyfriend at night was more important than the security her family provided. Result?  Innocent Dad was arrested, charged with rape, and lost his job before the truth could surface.  

APPLICATION: Do not be tired of correcting your child’s behavior even from the crib. Correction should be done immediately after first occurrence of misbehavior so there will be a connection between behavior and consequences (cause-and-effect), not done in anger or vengeance after the fact, or as a form of public ridicule, embarrassment, or humiliation. If for any reason rearing, training,  or correcting inappropriate behavior proves to be tedious, tiresome, or dreary, ask for assistance from the community agencies, such as the social agency, juvenile prevention personnel, law enforcement,  psychologists, psychiatrists, and special education .Speak the truth without fear no matter whose horse is gored.

 Do not feel that reporting your case to the police, mental health, or judge means you are an unfit or incompetent parent  Meanwhile, stand your ground in the family; declare that final authority rests with you as parent; demand that you be respected and your rules obeyed as a mandatory, non-negotiable family rule without exceptions; refuse to be challenged. Find out from school and law enforcement proper ways to administer corporal punishment/floggings, and do it with love and empathy.

BE FAMILIAR WITH YOUR PROPER ROLE

Your role as a parent is to provide guidance and correction for your children in an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect. You are the disciplinarian, the authority figure, the reward person, the peacemaker, and the breadwinner. You are the “god” or “goddess” your child sees when he or she first comes into the world, you are the oracle of which the Bible warns children; “Honor your father and mother so your days on earth will be long and prosperous.” To honor is to respect, admire, pay tribute to, or follow the example of. Your role is not to be your children’s (a) boyfriend or girlfriend; or (b) buddy, playmate, soul-mate, or simply friend. You are to be respected or feared, not toyed with, or taken lightly. You occupy awesome position and perform amazing functions. The child who listens to your guidance enjoys several advantages, including success in life, long life, freedom from incarceration or early death, and financial success.

This New York Nigerian nurse wanted her son to love her and often went to movies and skating rinks with son and a bunch of son’s classmates. She gave frequent pizza parties for the boy and his friends in her home. Sometimes, the boy slipped in cigarettes and alcoholic beverages into the house for him to enjoy with friends while Mama  was resting  in bed  in preparation to go midnight schedule  as a nurse. The teenage son demanded and Mama bought him name-brand shoes, POTA (pants-on-the-ass), jewelry and all the stuff young school children love. She would argue and fight with her husband whenever he advised restraint or attempted to go against buying too many unnecessary gadgets for their son.

“You cannot buy love,” Papa often told Mama. His wife responded, “But I love him because he is a good boy.”   This continued until middle school when her son demanded to be given a very expensive cell phone. When Mom failed to buy it, her son decided to take revenge by telling teachers his mother would come into his bedroom at night to sexually molest him and play with his penis. One thing led to the other until the police arrived at Mama’s workplace to handcuff and drag our big-time Mama (BSN nurse) from a hospital setting to county jail on charges of criminal sexual molestation of a juvenile.

The wife cried for husband to bail her out, but sweet husband mocked her: ”No, baby, you love him, and that’s your good boy.” At trial, the son named a night his mother was at work at the hospital as the time she came in to molest him. The court found out the son was lying, and motive for lying was anger at mother’s failure to purchase a phone. The family of our New York Nigerian nurse took that boy to Nigerian under the guise of family vacation. Angry relatives from the village gave our “good boy” a sound whipping at Murtala Mohammed Airport for embarrassing his mother. He has since been left  in Nigeria and would not see America again until he completes  secondary school  and enroll at Ibadan, Nsukka or Nnamdi  Azikiwe University. I hear he has completed college and married to a Nigerian woman.  What a clown of a son! He can now return to America for the graduate school.

APPLICATION: Understand the reasons why most children misbehave may include (1) desire to belong to a social group; (2) children are observers and practitioners of behavior they witness on T.V. or see rewarded in others; (3) misbehavior to gain undue attention; and (4) misbehavior to gain power over parents or another person.  Be aware that a serious mistake  parents make in rearing their children may include (a) being a masquerade dancing to save children from all difficulties; (b) backing down in arguments with a child; (c) bribing your way out of enforcement of family rules; (d) breaking your own rules; (e) doling out rewards in advance as a poor way to motivate;  (f) blowing your stack and overreacting in anger against or  in support of your child ; and (g) making promises you cannot fulfill. Another is attacking the other parent’s disciplining efforts.

KNOW WHO AND WHAT YOU ARE UP AGAINST

If you don’t know that as a parent you are a fighter in a battle more disastrous than the Biafran war, you really don’t know what you are up against. There is a jungle out there in America, Nigeria, Europe, and in fact the entire world. What your child is up against can be likened to a huge, uncharted tropical forest.  Life is changing so fast as a result of technology and globalization that children and their families are experiencing unprecedented problems of adjustment. Technology has given your little Joe dangerous access to information that you as parent never knew ever existed where Joe could steal all money in your bank account while smiling in your face. He could be building a powerful bomb with your tea kettle right under your large supersize ass while you are on phone bragging to a neighbor:“my son has the most amazing science project.”

 No sooner had you gotten off the cell phone than the ambulance arrived to take to you to the hospital.  The surgeon arrived to announce: “Madam, we’re sorry we have to operate because half your ass is gone, blown off by the bomb your son has built from materials he ordered from the internet.”  The pain in the remaining half of your ass is so throbbing you cannot sit up to imagine “how in the world could my good son can do this to me his mother?” 

                Everyone is scrambling for survival and those not adept at jostling are marginalized or left behind.  Your African child needs to be taught that America and Europe are nations for the whites, and the  so-called jungle in which  your village is located is best suited for Africans. If you doubt it, look at the American current unemployment rates and prison statistics: it takes special skills to survive outside Africa.

                Don’t you hear the frontrunner Republican for the White House billionaire Trump say “Africans are good at being lazy, stealing, and heavy fucking.” There are more blacks in prisons than there are on college campuses. The most successful industry in the United States is the correctional institution that houses an ever-increasing prison population, and that hires more wardens, security officers, and general prison workers than the public schools do. The purpose of prisons has more do to with control, denial of freedom, exploitation, and institutionalization than on rehabilitation. Pray that your child doesn’t fall into ditches the society is digging to channel your child to the school-to-prison revolving door.

As a parent, your job is helping to protect the our endangered species,( your own children and mine) from becoming prison statistics. Please see that our children do not fall through the crack or be labeled habitual offenders. If your child receives a felony conviction, his chances of ever running for and winning political offices or holding responsible governmental positions requiring truthfulness are slim, delayed , or gone forever. In addition, your child has as much chance to take loans from the banks and run a successful business as a snowball in hell. Your child’s situation in America is rendered nearly hopeless by the blight of drug abuse, child abuse, gang activities, and child pornography.

This Nigerian man regrets bringing  his teenage daughter to complete secondary school  in Georgia, USA. Daughter completed high school, refused to go on to college, and settled with having a baby girl form unknown person. She lives in a room in his father’s house.  She owns a cell phone with which she l keeps in touch with an army of male customers who bought her a Toyota Camry, give her money,  and fuck her whenever  they get a break from wives.  Her father is unhappy and frustrated that neighbors see him as father of a prostitute. He cannot tamper with his wayward daughter’s lifestyle for fear that one of his daughter’s “pussy snatchers  might beat him up or even kill him if the pussy is found to be missing.  

Your first step in protecting your child from self-destructive forces as outlined here is to insist that your home be free from  sexual impropriety, and everyone, including yourself, your spouse and children, be completely free from the use of such habit-forming substances as tobacco, alcohol, or marijuana. Be sure every member of the family abides by the laws of the land you live in, respecting the person and property of others. Insist that your spouse and children live exemplary, profitable and respectable lives, and pursue educational or employment goals.  Insist that each child in the family has chores to do. Washing dishes, cleaning house, ironing clothes, cooking meals and mowing lawns are some of the many chores our children ought to be doing for the family. Children who have part-time jobs should be called upon to pay water, light, gas, and cable bills.     

APPLICATION: Remember that the success of your misbehavior management and corrective measures will depend upon (a) heredity or nature (what we are born with e.g., color of eyes, hair type, and weight) and environment or nurture (social influences e.g., wrestling group, foodstuffs); (b) birth order (position of child in the family; (c) gender roles (behavior expected of males and females in society); and (d) child development (physical and psychological developmental stages children go through from infancy to adulthood).

The most effective tools you as a parent need will include understanding and respecting your child’s individuality, feelings, and beliefs as you gently confront problematic beliefs and attitudes. Listen attentively as your child talks and expresses feelings and beliefs. Encourage open expression of feelings and attitudes. Insist that the child own his bad behavior rather than “exteriorizing” or blaming others for his/he own failings.  Understand that each child is unique, and there are no two persons alike. You ought to appreciate the fact that “punishment should fit the crime.”

 Therefore, do not discipline your child for ignoring homework by ordering two hours of homework each night.  Why make homework an aversive stimulus to be avoided rather than to be approached? Instead, make eating a favorite ice-cream contingent upon completing homework.  In Igbo language, “were ice cream kwua ugwo ime homework” (use ice cream to reward your child for doing homework).  It is a good idea to have weekly family meetings to discuss problem areas needing improvements. Discipline mistakes most parents make include but are not limited to these: making empty threats parents and their children know cannot be enforced; stooping down to the child’s level to exchange insults  or argue over a situation; and not giving the child any options or benefit of the doubt.  Be fair and firm.

BE FAMILIAR WITH THE OLD AND NEW METHODS OF DISCIPLINE

The Old Method emphasized: lots of positive touching such as is involved in spanking, carrying, hugging,  cuddling, and holding; prompt response to a baby’s cries to provide calmness and to avoid frustration and flooding baby’s brain with positive emotions; breastfeeding lasting longer than 2 years to improve baby’s immune system; multiple adult caregivers that go beyond mom, and dad (to include uncles, aunts, grandparents, nephews, nieces, cousins).  Show the baby love; free play with multiple age playmates (eg Nigerian wrestling groups, masquerade clubs, soccer clubs, etc); and natural birth which gives mother’s hormone boost and energy to care for newborns. The old method is better because it teaches family tightness and deep communication.

The New method emphasizes loneliness. Rather than being held, the baby spends hours in carriers, car seats, strollers; only about 12% of mothers are breastfeeding at all by 12 months; extended families are broken up by job movements, divorce, separation; free play allowed by parents decreases significantly; isolation of the child in his room occasioned with the belief that quickly responding to fussing will “spoil” the child; ill-advised beliefs, practices, and misinformation about the use of infant formula, and corporal punishment are commonplace. New method emphasizes isolationism and may lead the child to develop problem behaviors  as he/she matures.

APPLICATION: There is no fool-proof, fail-proof child-rearing method available for the world to copy. It is always  a trial-and-error approach, and please use the approach that works well with your child, and be prepared to modify when all fails. You have a thankless job, and you need to refuse to be intimidated. This Alabama college professor was murdered in his sleep by a teenage son who was upset Dad was not doling out money to support his drug habits and life of abject prodigality. Neighbors informed police the son had been having run ins with police for a long time. Judicious parents ought to inform the police and judge when their children prove to be absolutely unmanageable. Take out restraining orders to protect yourself and other family members. Ask the difficult child to vacate family home if and when he/she cannot respect rules and live in harmony with parents and other family members. Mrs. Eunice Mbadugwu (fictitious name) became a widow after she lost her husband and inherited five children that include three girls and two sons. With the exception of the oldest son who had decided to live as a prodigal (wastefulness, drugs, and waywardness), three daughters and one son are promising doctors. The oldest is a fool from whom Mother has to hide her pocketbook for fear he might pilfer the few Naira in it and head for the Indian hemp seller. Why must a mother continue to harbor a grown son who is about nothing instead of kicking him out of the house to fend for himself and deal with his drug habits?

ORGANIZE YOUR SUPPORT SYSTEM

It takes a village to hoist/raise a child, so the saying goes, and it takes a big-hearted support group to raise a child from Kindergarten through college. The support group may consist of your spouse, parents, grandparents, village elders, siblings, or old classmates.

BE SURE YOUR PERSONAL LIFE DOES NOT AFFECT YOUR CHILD

Mr. Polly and Uloma N (real Nigerian Abia man married to Anambra lady but given fictitious names to hide their identities) have gone through harrowing experiences. After a marriage that lasted for almost 20 years, Polly suddenly discovered that Uloma wasn’t a befitting wife: she was short, dark-skinned, and can be weighed on the doctor’s scale and labeled obese. What was most annoying to Polly was that Uloman wasn’t a registered nurse. Polly fell in love with Imo lady named Rebecca (slender, high yellow, LPN) whom he met  in Texas during one of his out-in-Texas drinking splurges.

Should I blame midlife crisis as being responsible for what followed? Polly divorced Uloma with whom he had had three adult children, and married yellow Rebecca whom he hardly knew and whom he fucked  a few times to quickly put in family way. Polly divorced Uloma and married Yellow Rebecca, who in turn, divorced Polly and walked off with a huge child support to be paid until baby turns 18 years. Polly fought tooth and nail to save the home he bought with Uloma from going to YEGREB (yellow, greedy Rebecca). Realizing he had been made a big fool out of at least in the eyes of his Abia friends, foolish Polly ran back to “ugly” Uloma with knees shamelessly bent to beg for remarriage.

Uloma rejected advances from her ex who had earlier disrespected her with ugly divorce in front of everybody,  and finally married Israel another Nigerian man whose wife had no use of. Polly survived and emerged from YEGREB crucifixion and is now happily resting in the arms of a Cameroonian wife. The last time I called Florida to speak with Uloma, she has created a big support system for her three children with a bigger family consisting of four parents: ugly Uloma, foolish Polly, Israel, and Cameroonian woman who is Polly’s wife. Listen, folks, when life gives you a lemon, learn to make some delicious lemonade. The last I hear is that Cameroonian woman has left Polly because of Polly’s unsatisfactory “bedmatics” and   frequent lamentations/ cries about  his long-gone “Yellow Rebecca.”

APPLICATION: Recognize that when you are beginning to experience problems in your marriage, take prompt and timely steps to bring about healing. Seek marital counseling from your pastor or mental health professionals. Practice effective communication techniques and listening skills. Build bridges; make new friends but keep the old ones, also. It may be necessary to maintain friendly relations with a divorced spouse in order to benefit children in the marriage. Try reconciling with and remarrying divorced spouse if that is feasible since you might be wiser and have learned from past mistakes.

HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS

One of the reasons the Nigerians who came to the United States in the 70’s, 80’s, and early 90’s were doing better than the recent immigrants is that they brought something with them from home. They brought (a) sturdy family values; (b) strong work ethics; (c) national pride; and (d) good self-efficacy beliefs, and (e) effective study skills.  We the early Nigerian settlers in the United States came with well grounded values that our families instilled in us. Values are defined as the principles, ideals, morals, ethics, and standards that guide behavior and are passed from generation to generation. Our goal for coming to America or Europe was to better ourselves and finally go home to help develop Nigeria with what we had learned. Nigerian was agitating for independence from colonial masters and we saw the mantle of leadership being passed on to us. We felt it was better for us to be prepared to assume leadership roles than have the opportunity to lead and not be prepared. The quest for education became the crying need of both the country and her Nigerian citizens abroad. We needed education for democracy, for nation-building, and for solving the problems created by different tribes and tongues and differing cultural orientations.

We had such work ethics that we had to believe in the dignity of labor, in the conviction that we would conscientiously change our position in life by working hard at our chosen occupation that would yield profits and pay for most of our personal and national expenses. Laziness has no place in our scheme of things. We worked hard for everything we had. We were a proud people, and we did all that was within our power to represent Nigeria well wherever we were.

Our value system is eroding fast. We see young Nigerians coming here to look for money and  enjoyment at all costs. Let’s remember the story just told about the Nigerian father who brought his teenage daughter from Nigeria and now wishes he had left her in the village. The 20-something-year-old young woman has out-of-wedlock child, no education and no job. She lives in her father’s house and manages to drive a Toyota Camry. If you look closer, you will see she runs a successful prostitution business under the father’s nose. The father feels that he can do nothing or that it is too late. Is it better to  be quiet in order to avoid being accused of sexually harassing the young prostitute who is going about doing her prostitution “business?” Why can’t the fearful father seek help for his daughter from social services, counseling, and child protective agency?

As a parent, you are expected to help your child develop self-efficacy. We define self-efficacy as the beliefs we hold about our abilities to perform certain tasks and accomplish specific goals. A child  who possesses high levels of self-efficacy are not easily intimidated but are challenged by complex assignments and projects which they see as opportunities for further growth and mastery. Even when things go wrong, they do not give up easily but interpret failure as a temporary hurdle to be eventually overcome.   

APPLICATION: Child rearing problems should be shared within the family until a good solution is arrived at. Mr. & Mrs. Albert O (fictitious couple) did just that when their 20-year-old son got into serious difficulties with the law in Chicago. Young Albert, Jr., led by his high school friends, would drink alcohol and participate in such gang-related activities as protecting a turf, selling marijuana, possessing weapon without proper permit, and intimidating rival gang members. When son would not listen to parents after being locked up in county jail for disorderly conduct, Mr.& Mrs. O reported the situation to the wife’s family in Nigeria. It was decided to send Albert O, Jr. to his grandparents in Nigeria as an alternative to hardened criminal career in the US. Being sent to Nigeria proved to be the best gift the couples gave to their son who completed a Nigerian college, became employed, and married an Igbo lady. This proves it takes a village to really raise a child.

CONCLUSIONS

Raising good children in an ever-changing world is challenging and demanding of our time, energy, endurance, and resources.  We ought to recognize that our children are experiencing the “strum und drang” (German for storm and stress)  of modern living and therefore need our patience and encouragement.  Optimum child rearing seems to blossom in an atmosphere where there are mutual respect, acceptance, and open communication of shared ideas. Dear Parents, keep doing your best raising your child. Ogadi nma. It shall be well with you. It’s well.

Written and copyrighted by Dr. James C. Agazie, 10/24/2011, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ,  Permission is granted to reproduce for educational purposes only.

About the Author: Although James C. Agazie, JD, EdD, is retired Professor of Education & Psychology, he is called out of retirement to serve as Adjunct Professor. He has taught for years  as Professor at  both the  undergraduate and graduate levels. He devotes time to writing and consulting services, helping students with the Master's theses, Doctoral dissertations, and research and statistics. He runs Marriage Coaching sessions which he started with his late wife Dr. Maxine M. Agazie,(40 years of marriage) and which is geared towards assisting couples to work out marital difficulties and/or avoid divorces. He can be reached at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sunday, 03 April 2016 18:49

Shouldn't Islam change to be acceptable?

The purpose of this essay is to bolster the contention that while various religions are transforming themselves to meet the needs of a changing world, some cults hang unalterably to the past like a dinosaur that refuses to disappear. For example, Islam is unalterably addicted to violence when attempting to convert worshippers who behave obstinately, stubbornly, steadfastly, unwaveringly, fixedly, obdurately, inflexibly, or unyieldingly. Normally, a conversion is achieved by faith through conviction, assurance, reliance, or devotion or it is gotten abnormally in ways that are clearly brutal. The normal is amicable or good-humored while the abnormal is truculent or bellicose. A thing is unalterable if it is like a woman's longstanding pregnancy that refuses to end soon or be delivered so everyone's anxiety is extinguished. There is a reason for this.

Perhaps, Islam should not behave as a sadist, a man who derives extreme pleasure in inflicting pain on self or on others. Doesn't a boxer float effortlessly around the ring with intricate leg work while throwing and receiving blows?  There is a thin thread running through pregnancy, sadism, Christianity, Islam, and the boxing champ: they all enjoy the attention of a wider world. Islam is like a boxer who steals into the opponent's training camp just to yell and rain expletives designed to intimidate and weaken the opponent's resolve.  Islam ought to get rid of the unhealthy habit of seeking attention by holding the world on sleeper hold or as captive audience ostensibly to authenticate, convince, justify its existence, or inspire terror.

It is no coincidence that people who believe in religious teachings like Confucianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Epicureanism, Taoism, Scientology, Rastafarian have lived happily with each other. It is not surprising that aside from the historical land dispute between Jews and Arabs, those who profess Judaism are happier and fare better than Arabs who continue to wallow from one war to another, leaving behind a trail of bloodshed and misery. The world needs a system of beliefs that embellishes a smooth process of life on earth, a philosophy that provides anchor and facilitates man's transitional journey through "the valley of the shadow of death" in frightful environment. It is reasonable to believe that religion has helped man to answer such intricate questions as: Who am I? Where do I come from? Where am I going? What's my purpose in this life? Where do I go when this life expires?

Everyone on earth believes there if God. Not believing in the existence of God is by itself a religious belief. Religion has helped people to hold on when there is nothing in them except the wlll that says "Hold On For A Solution is Coming!" Religion provides the will that keeps us marching on until....whatever happens in the end. Religion helps us to rationalize and hope for a brighter tomorrow. The problem is not with what religion we profess; the tragedy is with how we profess that religion. Do we live in a harmonious, peaceful coexistence, or shall we end up dead on a perilous, precarious planet?  For the truly true to life few, religion calls for faith in God who is omnipotent, and omnipresent.  The overriding purpose of religion appears to pull people together in their pursuit of life, health, wealth, and happiness while life lasts. And religion draws people closer in their times of mourning.

The history of Islam is the history of a people at war on more fronts than there are men to man. Can we name any Muslim nation that is enjoying peace and whose citizens enjoy human rights without all those stoning and beheadings? Becausethe Muslims are perceived as "unpeaceful" and prone to frequent outbursts of barbaric brutality, they are barricaded as farm animals under autocratic regimes ruled by strongmen in war-torn Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Arab Emirate, and Yemen.  Islam must transform or be crippled as a religion of anathemas from anachronism and irrelevance.

There is so much confusion in the world stemming from animosity between sets of brothers, (a) between two half-brothers Isaac and Ishmael born to old man Abraham; (b) between two full brothers Jacob and Esau, twin sons of Isaac son of Abraham. Ishmael behaved violently toward younger sibling Isaac who was the child promised to 100-year-old man and his 90-year-old wife. Ishmael who suffered a banishment to the hot desert with his Egyptian mother Hagar, is now rearing a spiteful head of avengement.

The result has been war between brothers: descendants of Isaac (Jews) and Ishmael (Arabs). Jacob the trickster outsmarted Esau the porridge eater and defrauded him of the coveted first-son birthright. The consequence has been seen in the enmity between the children of Jacob (later named Israel) and the descendants of Esau whom we now know as the Arabs. His advice is for wise parents. Beware of encouraging sibling rivalry and jealousy. In the final analysis, Islam may find it expedient to change or be crippled. Christians may find that accommodation is more efficacious than arrogantly galloping alone  .

As you may know, Jews have successfully used the argument they are the chosen people of God and the chief partakers of the promises God gave Abraham. Jews take the promise so seriously as to befuddle their enemies. Having acquired nuclear capability just to prove its point, Israel works hard to ensure nuclear technology doesn't get into Arab hands. Jews have been able to convince the Arabs with the argument: "we are better than you because God has favored us over you."

While the Arabs have believed the Jews and accepted the subordinate role, they operate from a disadvantaged position, from a position of weakness. Arabs have never made it a secret they deeply resent their brothers and desire to obliterate or wipe out the Jewish State from off the face of God's earth. Will God allow that to happen? Will the world stand by to see that happen? Because Jews have always managed to be united even under the most crushing regimes through their long exiles, persecutions and near extermination in Nazi Germany, Jews are determined to always be ahead of the Arabs in self-determination and measures of development.

For one thing, Jews are a superpower with nuclear capability. Ever wonder why Israel which is surrounded by hostile Arab nations is unafraid to sleep as peacefully at night  as a lamb does in the den of fierce lions. Arabs should think it wise to recognize the existence of Israel as a sovereign nation. You cannot spill the blood of one Jew and expect no retaliation from a people whose existence has been threatened for centuries. Call it the instinct of self-preservation.

Enmity between Jews and Arabs can be traced to poor parenting skills of mothers who preferred one child over the other: Isaac vs. Ishmael; Jacob vs. Esau; Joseph vs. eleven brothers. There are the usual elements of sibling jealousy and competitiveness. Preferred kids often seem to do better than siblings not so well preferred because of the principles of self-fulfilling prophecy. X performs better than Y because X is convinced that he is superior and Y is inferior, and Y performs worse than X because Y is convinced that X is his superior. Jews and Arabs are two brothers hostile to each other but coexisting side by side.  Better than and worse than are conjectures determined by strength of the mind.

The Muslims appear to be at war with the whole world on many fronts because the Arab nations believe the world supports Israel. This war would continue for many decades until the Arab world duly accepts Israel or changes its official policy. Islam and Muslims shall stop chanting religious slogan of bigotry and blood to get the support of a vengeful God. Islam and Muslims shall have to transform from the 7th century farmland to the cosmopolitan village of the 21st century. No man wants his kids destroyed in unintelligent nuclear catastrophe of the type into which North Korea is dabbling.

About the Author: Although James C. Agazie, JD, EdD, is retired Professor of Education & Psychology, he is called out of retirement to serve as Adjunct Professor. He has taught for years  as Professor at  both the  undergraduate and graduate levels. He devotes time to writing and consulting services, helping students with the Master's theses, Doctoral dissertations, and research and statistics. He runs Marriage Coaching sessions which he started with his late wife Dr. Maxine M. Agazie,(40 years of marriage) and which is geared towards assisting couples to work out marital difficulties and/or avoid divorces. He can be reached at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

COPYRIGHTED 05/05/2013. DIRECT COMMENTS TO ESSYIST

A Nigerian New Yorker calls and says: "Doc, this man's wife called police to put him out of the house, and she wants to  get a divorce, and now he is threatening to kill her."  I fought for 2 days to get the Igbo would-be killer's mobile phone number, and when I finally left him a voice mail he failed to respond. Then I texted and warned him against any violence.

He responded with a mixture of anger, pride and shame. "PLAY THAT GAME IN ATLANTA. THIS NEW YORK BIG APPLE."  He has terrorized and beaten his lawyer wife to a pulp so much her family members who are New York physicians have paid a divorce lawyer to get their sister out of hell. His three children's constant "daddy, daddy" cries haven't persuaded him to quit beating  his wife or to shake Satan out of him. Now, he concludes that since he cannot control the woman he "brought and buttered"back in 1998; and pastor's mediation or fellow Nigerians' reconciliation efforts  have gone unheeded, his best option is  killing her.  I assure him he can remarry if he is willing to make drastic changes in behavior and attitudes. But pride is getting in the way.

So your wife calls police to the home to save her life? You are embarrassed, aren't you because neighbors finally got the wind that you are not a real man people mistake you for. All that goes between you and Beatrice, all those smiles at church and in wedding pictures are nothing.  You are not a real man. All are facades, make-believe, and pretenses. Calling the police is the final straw that broke the proverbial camel's back.

Real men don't find it embarrassing and belittling when wives involve the police in domestic disputes. Calling police to the home may be necessary when a wife is afraid for her life and unable to defend herself. How would you like Killway Nwachukwu, Hogan Bassey, Mike Tyson, or Muhammad Ali  to push you around or punch on you? Calling police prevents altercations from escalating and ending in death or serious bodily injury to one or both spouses. It gives spouses time to cool off and eventually sort things out .

Legislatures and courts mandate that police at the scene of domestic violence should decide which spouse to remove to prevent possible death or serious bodily injury. Cities and police departments have been held liable for failure to carry out the mandate in negligence actions.

To prevent your wife from calling police on you, there are some sensible things you ought to do. Remain calm and out of heated arguments. Agree with her until she calms down. Reassure her of your loyalty, love and interest in the marriage. Ask her to explain what actually is bothering her, and agree to work the problems out together.

Should police come to the house, show respect to the law enforcement.  Don't argue with police.  That behavior is dangerous. I know a Nigerian whose wife called the police who beat the argumentative husband, inflicting serious injuries that required hip replacements and mending broken bones.  Explain your side of the story calmly without invoking authority of your Nigerian customs. Remember this is America where laws reign supreme. It is not your neck of the woods where Jungle Nwokolo is the Judge. Since you are the man of the house, you should exercise better patience, tolerance, understanding,  give-and-take.  Do not express your frustrations by saying: "I brought her here with my money." Police is not interested In your tribal justice  or your voo-doo economics. In a marriage, there is no winner and there is no loser. It is a win-win situation, the situation where " I'm Okay and You're Okay".

Let your wife win the argument sometimes even if you are right and she is wrong , and if that would bring peace and love. Jesus has shown that humility  and peace are the most powerful and dangerous weapons in a diplomatic person's peaceful hands. Say to her: "I am sorry, baby, please forgive me. God isn't yet through molding me." How is she going to knock down a person who is already down and begging for mercy?

If police decides to remove you, follow quietly but say to your wife" Baby, I am sorry. It's my entire fault. Please call me so we meet over lunch to discuss this further. I promise this will not happen again." Be humble and forget what your village Papa and uncles tell about how to marry Nigerian women. Your tobacco-snuffing Papa wouldn't be able to handle his freedom-loving wife in America or survive New York  winter for a day without wishing he were in the village, sleeping around open fire in a hut filled with  smoke to drive away pesky mosquitoes. I know an 85-year-old grandmother who came to America with her husband who later died. Granny returned to America shortly after the funeral and is flouncing her old ass at all Nigerian parties in tight jeans and exposed sandal breasts which she folds under bras.  She thinks: Freedom! Freedom at last!

So you still want to kill your wife after all? Killing your wife makes you a bloody fool, a criminal, a murderer who deserves the electric chair or lethal injection. Does your wife's better education, better income, or better physical attractiveness drive you to want to kill her? Why don't you imitate her in her choice of education and selection of career?  I know some Nigerian men who were so envious of their wives' BSN/RN degrees  and high income nurse's jobs, that they made the decision to go to the  nurses schools to earn the BSN/RN themselves and now are in nursing where the demand for males outstrips supply. I respect men who have the get-up-and-go.

If you harm your wife, you may be deported after serving  your sentence, assuming  you lived through it. Your life has ended; and you may never get what you killed for. You must kiss bye-bye or bid farewell to normal sex, money, love, or respect. What is awaiting you as you enter the American prison system is big-time homosexual sex where you the man become the woman and someone is riding your back. It is better to return to the village, hang your head in shame, and count your life over.

The Igbos respect human life and believe one should not destroy what one has not created. Before you decide to kill ask to go for anger management or psychiatric evaluation; speak with your pastor, physician or lawyer. Abandon your excessive Igbo pride and listen to reason; you cannot use the same methods that work in Nigeria in America. The cultures are totally different.

Killing means you have limited power of persuasion; your communication is unconvincing at best. Try to reason with her, be her friend, date her all over, try to win her over to your side. Speak the "I feel" language.  Examples are many: "Baby, if you call the police, it might make them feel we are unfit parents. You make me feel you don't love me any more when I am trying to do my best. I don't want to make you feel that I don't care. Calling the police makes me feel like a criminal, and please don't make me feel that way. You make us feel like uncaring, unfit parents, and they may take away our most treasured possession: our children. Please don't do this to us" PEOPLE RESPECT FEELINGS WHEN YOU LET YOUR REAL FEELINGS BE KNOWN.

Comments and Criticisms Directed to the Author always welcomed and Solicited

About the Author: Although James C. Agazie, JD, EdD, is retired Professor of Education & Psychology, he is called out of retirement to serve as Adjunct Professor. He has taught for years  as Professor at  both the  undergraduate and graduate levels. He devotes time to writing and consulting services, helping students with the Master's theses, Doctoral dissertations, and research and statistics. He runs Marriage Coaching sessions which he started with his late wife Dr. Maxine M. Agazie,(40 years of marriage) and which is geared towards assisting couples to work out marital difficulties and/or avoid divorces. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it to his brethren, and they hated him yet the more. (Genesis 37:5)

You've made your New Year resolution, a list of important things you wish to do in the New Year. You first drift off, your heart rate slows down, your temperature drops, and your brain begins to process events of the day. As you fall asleep, initial dreams flash as thoughts and images from your waking life. As you dream, you see visions, you hear voices, you receive revelations, and you get caught up in a reverie of years and events long past. You are in a trance. Dreams are refreshing, inspirational, invigorating, energizing.  Perhaps, you have plans in place to marry a wife and start your own nuclear family.

Perhaps, you are interested in enrolling in the University for that Master's degree or PhD you have neglected to complete for too long because you don't have the chance or finance to begin. Perhaps your dream is to own a business. Many people dream to purchase a plot of land in their village and begin to erect a foundation for a three-room bungalow. Dreams are the building blocks of actions. A dream occurs to you when you least expect it. It comes as flash and is stored in the long term memory for retrieval and digestion at future times as more dreams occur with details in stroboscopic motion.

You rarely remember these dreams unless they are extremely important or demand immediate action, forcing you to wake up from nocturnal rest. Dreams are personal to the dreamer and should be treated with utmost confidentiality. Before you run off to tell the whole world about your dream, wait a minute. You could be killed for your dreams. A young man's dream moved his brothers to want to kill him.

A Nigerian man's dream moved his elder brother to send hired killers to London on a successful assassination assignment. Another Nigerian returned home from Japan where he had been shipping used vehicles home. His dream of setting up a motor park was not realized. His elder brother sent his driver and a hired killer to Murtala International Airport. The plot was to drive to the bush and have the younger brother's life ended with a bullet to the head.

Remember what happened to a man considered to be the best dreamer and interpreter of dreams of all times.  Joseph, the eleventh son of his father's twelve sons dreamt his parents and brothers were paying obeisance to him. Obeisance is a bob, bend, or curtsy. To pay obeisance requires one to bow. It is a movement of the body expressing deep respect or differential courtesy, as before a superior, a king, or local village chief. Obeisance can take the form of prostration which Yorubas are known for. Yorubas' greetings often involve the placement of the body in a reverently or submissively prone position as a gesture of deep respect.

You are in America where your folks back home think you are swimming in an ocean teeming with green dollars bills. The ocean is bounded on all sides by beaches of sparkling diamonds and glistering gold. You are lucky, so they say. Why weren't they in your position and you in the village breaking palm kernels? Who wouldn't be tired of chewing palm kernels and drinking a bowl of garri before going to bed for the night? A handful of garri from an empty can of PeaK Milk is dumped in water and sweetened with two or three cubes of cheap sugar. Your name in America is regarded with utmost envy. You are the Americana; dollars are sticking out of everywhere on your body, including your anus. You are the object of envy.

One doesn't have to wonder where the murderous envy comes from. Wonder no more. Eighteen –year-old Joseph was the architect of his very own misfortune, calamity, and hardship. He'd invited envy into his bedchamber and nearly paid for it with his low-class shepherd's life. Green envy is defined as ekworo (Igbo for jealousy); anya ukwu (greed); ikpo asi (hate); anya ufu (malice, bitterness, or spite). Joseph's talkative lips blabbed as he spread ego-inflating  rumors. He told tall tales of his conquests. He scattered his secrets indiscriminately. Jealousy of hearers took on the force of volcanic eruption.

A wiser man would handle his dream judiciously, no matter how supercilious or condescending the dream is. A wise man ought to guard his dreams carefully even from so-called acquaintances who appear to be friends in disguise but are enemies in actuality. All our plans, dreams, and aspirations should first be presented to God who says:

" For I know the thoughts that I have toward you, thoughts of peace ,and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon Me, and ye shall go and pray unto Me. And I will harken unto you. And ye shall seek me and find Me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart". (Jeremiah 29:11-13)

When you open your mouth wide to reveal the nature of your dream, all eyes are open wid. Ears are tuned in as you broadcast your downfall. Strongman Samson told a woman the source of his extraordinary strength. And what happened? Delilah told Samson's enemies how to destroy her husband, and they did just that. As 18-year-old Joseph bragged about being superstar exalted to the position of Prime Minister under an Egyptian autocratic Pharaoh. Calamity followed him.

Poor Joe said things that would get an unprotected man destroyed. He said to his brothers: "I dream I will be high and you will be low." As if that was not an injury, Joseph added salt to an open wound when he said to hapless siblings, "I will be chief over you and you shall be vassals, kneeling down and worshipping me. That will include our Daddy and Mommy" Under the feudal system, a vassal or feudatory is a person who has entered into a mutual obligation to a lord or monarch in medieval Europe in the use of land. In the context of Joseph, the elder siblings would serve the youngest as Joseph's farm hands.

"What?" Joseph's ten brothers asked incredulously. They disbelieved Joe's story. They found it highly skeptical, coming from a brother who was the eleventh son born in a  family with twelve boys and who was unemployed with no marketable skill. The elder brothers were shepherds who manned the family livestock. In addition to taking animals to luxuriant pastures thereby increasing family wealth, the brothers were experienced soldiers responsible for protecting the Nation of Israel from attacks from marauding enemies, the Philistines. Therefore, they considered Joseph's story dubious, and doubtful. They decided to do something just in case the boy's dream proved to be true.

"Let's kill this idiot and bastard with his fucking dreams," the siblings said among themselves. They threw him into a waterless, airless hole, expecting him to suffocate to death, then they proceeded to eat supper The hole was extremely hot being dug deep in sun-baked earth where temperatures could rise to boiling point. When Joseph failed to die as expected, they brought him out and sold him to a caravan merchant travelling through the hot desert to Egypt.

There are many lessons to learn from the story of Joseph. You cannot deal with all your dreams all at once. Focus on a dream that stands out or one that occurs repeatedly. Write it down, describing it in details as much as you can remember. Recall events in your life to see the origins of your dream.

You can realize your dream. Take a leap of joyful faith; you are climbing Jacob's ladder. Discouragement may set in but do not let it overwhelm you. Remember that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Look at your current situation, and if you aren't satisfies, change it for goodness sake. Don't cry over the spilled milk, meaning try to forget the past and focus on the future. Procrastination is the thief of time and realize that this time is the best time to attempt to pull down the heavens, to put your dream in a realizable mode. Doing today what needs to be done tomorrow, is not a bad policy. While you are chasing your dream, don't neglect your most important tool which is your body. Are you cleaning yourself up well, eating the right food, exercising well, and being in the right frame of mind and spirit? A fool waits for help to come breaking down his door; but the wise person cannot wait to begin knocking at doors of opportunities until the right one opens. KEEP DREAMS ALIVE

Presented by Dr. James C. Agazie, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Nigerians are a fascinating people. We agree. That Nigerians are a lawless bunch is not an exaggeration. To deny Nigeria's lawlessness as most of our corrupt politicians and I-don't- care fellow citizens do or to defiantly ask "what about other countries like US and UK" is to dream that, in the flush of dawn, Nigerian sky glowed with empyreal beauty. In Nigeria, although the law is in the books, it is bent so much that it appears either to be neglected or to not exist at all. In the United States, the law reigns supreme; no one is above the law. Even the United States President Obama is under the rule of law. He cannot be above the law or do things the law prohibits. His role is to uphold the Constitution, to encourage enforcement of the law, and to see that the law applies to everyone evenly across the land. He ensures that everyone is respectful of and in obedience to the law.

Obama can be impeached and removed from office as assuredly as President-elect Hillary Clinton or Republican frontrunner billionaire Donald Trump if either one is elected would be, even arrested and hauled away to jail if he/she willfully contravenes the law. Can we say the same thing about Buhari? Obasanjo? Surely, the same American law applies to me a Nigerian American  as well as to the U S members of Congress and judiciary. Can we say the same thing about Nigerian laws and their application to all Nigerians, including the politicians, judges, or employees manning our ports and oil refineries? The law is absolute, superlative, extreme, and placed on the highest pedal. For example, Bill Clinton, former United States President, was faced with investigation and possible indictment for trespassing against certain ethical standards.

Wrong application of rules has consequences far more devastating than we can imagine. The effect can be dire, portentous, terrible, or horrible. If you are a Nigerian governor known to have been stashing 2 billion dollars of public money in Swiss account, certain consequences will follow. What prevents a secondary school principal from embezzling the entire school fees the students have paid? Managers of the Ports Authority would overcharge customers in addition to seizing property of those refusing to pay the overcharge. Police manning our checkpoints would demand bribes from conductors and kill those who refuse to pay. Prices of garri at Ogbete market would rise when merchants conclude that "government is eating all out money."

You are a Nigerian legislator and you have joined the syndicate of celebrated thieves raiding your country's treasury and looting public monies . Aren't you aware that the money you are stealing is beautifying other people's land while the constituency you are elected to represent is decaying and riddled  with poverty and infectious diseases? Do you mind knowing that after your death from vehicle suicide, cardiac arrest, or kidney failure in an Indian hospital, your children cannot have access to the billions you have dumped at the Swiss Bank?  Know you not that at your death your grave is marked with a song that reads.

Here lies a  Nigerian with soul so wasted he never had learned until it's too late

Money is nothing  when hoarded but creates something when shared with others

It enriches those who receive and those who to others do freely give

None are so rich they can have it all; none so poor they can do without it

It creates happiness at home, goodwill in the nation, and love worldwide

For none can take it when leaving the earth and all must leave it here on earth?

As a small child growing up in Nigeria, I overheard friends often say: " A thief runs when nobody is pursuing. "What pursues the thief?  The pursuer is guilty conscience, a sense of right and wrong, or the fear of being penalized for transgressing against a code of conduct. The American  law is said to have matchless supremacy. Words used to describe good, equitable laws include: without equal, beyond  compare, unparalleled,  unrivaled, incomparable, perfect, unique, inimitable.   Does the rule of law exist in Nigeria? Yes, it absolutely does exist.  Is the Nigerian law applied evenly across the board? The answer is no. The stark tragedy in the Nigerian context is in the application of the law.

You could wager or gamble all the dollars you have in the Bank Of America, including the Naira you have been saving at Equatorial Bank, Lagos,  that most citizens  in Naija know when they contravene or are in breach of laws criminalizing  certain behaviors, such as, bribery, stealing by the taking of property of another or killing by the taking of life of a neighbor, for example. Unfortunately, very unfortunately, most Nigerians refuse to acknowledge the rule of law, or have not been indoctrinated into obeying rules. Nigerians have not been encouraged to assert their legal rights under the law. They are awash in Jungle Law Very regrettably; most Nigerians often notice that the laws promulgated to govern them do not apply equally to each and every citizen just the same. The Nigerian law has incomparable futility or ineffectuality, meaning it is regarded as being inconsequential. It can be stomped in the dust with feet of shameless bribery and unabashed effrontery or impudence, meaning rudeness, disrespect, or audacity.

My country Nigeria has every good law on the book, but it takes more than being on the book to have a stable civil society. We need obedience and respect. Was Chief Obasanjo under the law? Is he was, why did he attempt to seek the 3rd term? Is Buhari under the law? If he is, why does he look the other way when Christians arebeing slaughtered by bad Boko boys who gained notoriety after General Buhari lost the elections?

Why must anyone, such as  Nnamdi Kalu, be arrested , detained, and denied  constitutional rights without a speedy trial? Why do some Muslims arrogate to themselves the vicious temerity to attempt to convert Nigerian to a Sharia Law state when the country is 50 percent Christians and 50 percent Muslims? Their attempt to intimidate Nigeria into becoming a member of the Islamic League without a referendum is the utmost disregard of the rule of law.

Is Babangida hiding from the law and did he respect the law while he was a leader? Did Jonathan get up from sleep one morning and decided to sign an edict instituting a laissez faire attitude toward national insecurity or whatever sentiment he dreamed of the night before? Do members of the Nigerian Senate and House of Representatives pass laws that apply to Nigerians with the exception of their own persons? The current Nigerian law seems to be what one negotiates. What law enabled a Nigerian policeman to order a lorry conductor who refused to give a N100 bribery to alight from the bus and then proceeded to shoot the hapless soul to death in full view of terrified passengers? We can safely say Nigeria operates under the Law of the Jungle.

A few years ago, while this writer was teaching graduate programs at a state university in a southeastern American city, he came face to face with what most, if not all Nigerians in the United States understand to be the interplay of running and being pursued. A Nigerian male had committed a crime involving drugs and shootout with police, and was being sought by law enforcement. He ran to our city in southeast United States to hide from the law. He sought refuge or sanctuary and was harbored in the house of another Nigerian friend.

The alleged criminal was not just hiding; he was doing more than the children's game of hide-and-seek. He hid out of great fear, refusing to venture out even to purchase his favorite beer. He was dreadful, terrified, petrified, and scared stiff.  He was nervous whenever his friend drove in front of, beside, or behind a police vehicle. Looking behind or sideways at the approaching police vehicle, that criminally minded Nigerian would complain:"  Why are these ndi uwe oji (police in black uniforms)  following us?" His complaints were insistent even when the police officers were obviously busy minding their mundane or humdrum business of maintaining law and order. This proves that Nigerians fear American laws but trash the laws of their country.

Living in the United States brings every citizen, including every Nigerian-American, within the law's ambit. Good citizenship implies awareness of the sphere of influence the law has on citizens and what lessons are to be learned  from awesomeness of the concept of law. That we respect the law, fear the law, live in conformity with applicable rules, is evident in the daily lives of our law-abiding neighbors. The prospect of being stopped by the police and taken to jail for driving under the influence of alcohol should strike fear into the heart of most law-abiding persons. Yet, the fear of police and laws of the land should teach us about our own rights. Fear of the almighty law invariably confers or bestows certain advantages on law-abiding citizens. For example, you can sue and win monetary damages for false imprisonment.

Recently, a traffic policeman issued this writer a ticket for allegedly exceeding the posted speed limit of 65mph. The ticket alleged the writer was travelling at 81mph, in a 65mph zone. In Nigeria, the police would arrest the writer and extract a bribe and let him go. In America,  the writer can elect to pay a fine at the court before court date in lieu of appearing in person. I am choosing to go to traffic court and argue my case. There are a few possible lines of argument.  First, Officer was mistaken in his determination of my speed. Checking speed by radar is not faultless since the radar might be inaccurately calibrated. The radar can malfunction without warning while being used.

Next argument is that exceeding speed limit was justified during the morning I was ticketed because motorists were rushing to the work on that pleasant mid-morning sunlight, and I was driving following the flow of traffic. Slowing down was risky and could cause a ghastly accident. Finally, Officer mistook my car for another after spotting a vehicle that looked like mine. He could be spotting a man who looked my age or who was driving a car that resembled mine.  It is up to the Judge to make impartial determination of my guilt or innocence. I would submit to the punishment an impartial judge recommends. In Nigeria, I would have as much chance as a snowball in hell to defend myself before a Judge who may be uncontaminated by untoward influences.

Almost every US citizen, including any Nigerian-American, knows his/her rights under the law. We constantly talk about suing someone for infringing upon our rights under the law, and we are apt to fight to defend those rights. The American law applies equally to you and me. Neither of us is above the law. We pay a fine or go to jail if we break the law. We are encouraged to assert out rights and defend them in the courts of competent jurisdiction in the United States to the fullest extent o the law. The most bothersome aspect of most Nigerian laws is their ambiguity or vagueness.  The laws in Nigeria are not clear. The Nigerian laws can be and are often circumvented with the impunity of a one-eyed bandit. That one is right does not ipso facto guarantee success at trial. Success is sold to the highest bidder.

We don't fear good laws nowadays in America because a good law is our friend  when we comply with its terms. It gives us courage. Let the police stop you on the highway. You will almost shove your driver's license and insurance card in his face. Then, you would almost stab a warning finger at the police and sneer: "Officer, why are you now stopping me?  What probable cause? What law have I broken now?" Perhaps, you have made an illegal u-turn, fail to change lanes properly, or forget to buckle up. The penalty is a fine which you would promptly pay before the court date, or you could go before the Judge. Breaking the law wastes valuable time. It takes money from your pockets. It inconveniences you and takes you away from attending to other more pressing tasks. Therefore, it is to our advantage and peace of mind to obey the law no matter how unfair we deem it to be.

The situation is different in my dear country Nigeria, isn't it? I hear Nigerians with money or powerful political connections  do feel or see themselves as being untouchable. They seem to live above the law with peculiar aggrandizement. That's why a man can go to his village,  and pay a policeman N5,000 to place a man he consider s to be a  threat in a slammer house for a few weeks until the briber is able to leave the village. Unfortunately, a man caught red handed in the very act of killing his wife with a machete or taking someone else's land will talk back at accusers. "So, what will you do about it?" He has no remorse or guilt because, according to him  (1) "The law does not apply to me since it doesn't apply to the police or the president;" and (2)  "I can bribe the police or judge and be declared guiltless." The Nigerian criminal can even stand before omnipotent  God and declare in his right mind: " Heavenly Judge, I'm not guilty of breaking this law."

Just consider former governor James Ibori 's innocence in Nigerian courts and guilt on every count in a London court. This gives me a sinister idea: if you do me wrong overseas and if I catch you at home, I will bribe a policeman/kotma/ndi uwe oji to lock you up on trumped-up charges until I am ready to release you or until I kick you hard many times on your ass. Sometimes, I think the law of the jungle has some sinister benefits. Call them the JA's, the  Jungle Advantages.

But the rule of law facilitates my peace of mind. When the law rules I sleep better, drive better, move around better, and talk to my friends better. I'll have no need to build my house in Nigeria enclosed within the protection of high walls fortified with broken bottles or pointed jagged metals. There will be no need to pay a dibia (witch doctor) a lot of money to provide me with some magical concoctions or drinks to enable me to avoid being poisoned or taken hostage. There would be no need to seek a witch doctor who may inject some mixture of water and powdered roots into my veins to protect me against gun shots.

When laws are good and evenly applied across the board, I will not give N100 to every thug that throws old tire and dirt across the road inside the market to prevent my exit until I give a bribe to avoid an illegal kidnapping . Why must I pay the official N200 road toll at a Lagos checkpoint and N100 to a hideous robbery team inside the dusty market?  The market has Mr. Barawo, the dusty checkpoint man! But, when I poked my face out of the window into the dusty air and bellow at that Barawo Checkpoint thief: "Oya, I wan go. I beg-o take those stupid dirt out of my way. Driver, make we go." The barawo would smile, pointing a dirty finger at his mouth and stomach and saying: "Oga, I wan make I chop small."  He was  the perfect picture of a hungry/starving thief seeking food. God, forgive me for being uncharitable.

My heart would melt out of pity for that man, one of God's wretched sons. "Driver, here, giveam  N100 and make we go." Then , I wanted to slap the driver who kept reminding me, "Oga, dis no be America. Na Naija  you de. You go give this people something." He is encouraging me to give bribes to a self-appointed traffic control thief. I am still upset about giving too many backhanders/bribes already. I am still angry with my friend named Felix who is attempting to convince me that "In Nigeria, you have to give this people some bribes if you want anyone to work for you." Shiege! So giving bribes and breaking the law are rights de passage demanded  by force? The role of lawlessness in Nigerian crisis is obvious.

Bad laws make me lose sleep and hard-earned money as you can see. I had given N500 gratuity to a bank teller in Lagos to look up my account number and give me my balance. I became impatient at a roundabout delay as night was falling. I beckoned the starving officer to approach the taxi I was riding in. I then slapped his hand and left dirty N100 in his clammy, greasy palm so my taxi would be allowed  to move on. I had accompanied my friend Felix to NEPA office to pay for his overdue 2-or-3 months N7,000 electric bill.

Felix and I walked behind the NEPA building to say a few words to a famished/hungry clerk. Felix handed the clerk N200 bribe, and he issued a N2,000 receipt. We used the N5000 left over from the original N7,000 bill to purchase a quantity of petrol  for our Toyota and kerosene for the generator.  Felix also bought a few bottles of Heinekens. Shit! The Jungle Law in my ancestral home can be so overpowering and frustrating particularly when you are dealing with a lawless people like Nigerians who know how to take undue advantage of the law in lawless society where bending or circumventing the law promulgated to protect citizens, is tantalizing entertainment.  You can't resist saying "Shit". It appears that lawlessness plays a significant role in a conundrum in reference to a riddle whose answer is a pun, a paradox, or a Nigerian crisis whose answer is uncertain.

Submited by Dr. James C. Agazie, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sunday, 28 February 2016 22:35

How Do You Solve the Biafra Riddle?

PART ONE

Three Nigerian men met at the foot of Dutsen Lamba, a stony hill in the vicinity of Jos  They came to discuss appropriate Muslim response to the recurrent Igbo problem, including Biafra and Nnamdi Kalu. After shaking each other's hands and washing their extremities with warm water from small  kettles, they knelt down in a solemn moment of prayer, facing the intersection of 31degrees 47minures N by 35 degrees 13 minutes E. Time came for introductions.

"I'm Ayo, Yoruba, from Ado Ekiti. I forgot to tell you I am Muslim," the first said.

The second was a tall, slender, and lanky fellow. " My name is Ogenyi. I am Idoma converted Mslim . I hate Nyamirins."

The third man, who appeared to be a nomadic Fulani said: "My name's Usman Garba Suleiman. Of course, Muslim."

AYO: "The problem with Igbos is that they are like weeds which climb up every tree and spread across all surfaces . We've allowed them to trade their goods in Lagos, and now they are claiming the West is no man's land. Soon they will be claiming Kano, Kaduna, Sokoto, and even the State of Plateau.  Barawo. Anyamiri.

OGENYI:  That's right, Mallam Ayo. I second your motion. The igbos say they can't be stopped. They have turned Sabon Garri into a slaughter house of pigs. You know we Muslims don't chop pork.

SULEIMAN: Forget all that turning and chopping. What I'm concerned  about is this: these people don't respect Muhammed and Islam. That bothers me more than gonorrhea  or malarial fever. Very painful.

OGENYI: I must add, Alhaji Suleiman. It is more painful than kwarikwata bites or the sting of koboko on bare backs. That's right. Why can't these Anyamiris respect our religion or, at least honor our Ramadan week and stop eating pork?

AYO: Impossible.  Can  Americans stop going to Zimbabwe to shoot those lions? Impossible! The best solution is to dispossess Igbos of things they love the most: money and land. Let's drive them out of lucrative  ventures like choice property, government contracts, and ministerial posts that oversee resources.

SULEIMAN: How do we do that without first converting them to Islam? Let's  be real and get them to think like us, worship like us, sleep like we sleep , and go to Mecca once in a lifetime.

OGENYI: Did you say sleep like us?  Mark this: Igbo women are hard to convert to Islam. Allowing  Anyamiri men to marry Muslim women is risky. Why? Once you let our women taste the forbidden  fruits, you must let the door of cattle market wide and flung far.  Forbidden fruits are irresistibly sweetest. Very risky, indeed! I believe the best solution is to strengthen Sharia law; enforce the covering of Anyamiri women legs and faces in public; prohibit Muslim women's drivers chauffeuring our women   to meet Anyamiri men behind our backs; and outlaw the selling and watching of anyamirin movies coming from Lagos Nollywood, including beauty contests that drive our women into Western pollution.

SULEIMAN: Ye wah.    ambiguation

OGENYI:  One final thing. How do we handle upcoming elections in 2020? Igbos are too verbose. They are infested with high ambiguation. By ambuguation  I mean  words and phrases that lend to several interpretations, heavy faluting, meaning their grammar is like the long and winding road, leading to nowhere. Remember how they confused Gowon at Aburi. I thank you all, and  Ayo, what's on your mind. Conniving bastard?

AYO: No final word. But I believe the solution to Ogenyi's concern is to hire some expert Oxford educated grammarians like Sir William Leeds Leubke, PhD, LLD to translate difficult Anyamiri words.

SULEIMAN: That's a good idea. I'm still not clear on the Islamization process. Our boko boys suggest enslaving  and indoctrinating the Igbos might be a viable option. The question is this :Who will bell the cat? Sshhh. Sssshhh. Meeetig is adjourned as of now. Here comes our Anyamiri comrade Alhaji Stanley Okechukwu Okeke. Ssshhhh.

Meeting adjourned abruptly

 

PART TWO

In the first part of this story, three Muslims brainstormed on how to unravel the Igbo riddle . How do the Muslims  go about containing the Igbo expansionist ambitions and curtailing their money-making proclivity? Yoruba Muslin Ayo suggests denying Anyamiris access to lucrative land deals, government contracts and ministerial posts in finance. Fulani Suleiman chooses intermarriage and conversion of Igbos to Islam. It was Idoma convert to Islam Ogenyi's position that the Sharia law would provide the lasting solution..  ENTERS the 4th brainstormer Alhaji Stanley Okechukwu Okeke, the only Igbo Muslim in the group.

AYO: Alhaji Okeke, we've been discussing how to make Islam the only religion in this country. First, how was your recent pilgrimage to Mecca with your beautiful wife? Er, Em Excuse me,  I meant with your fourth wife. How did the trip go?

OKEKE: We almost didn't make it. The airline cancelled Alhaja Mercy Okoke's reservation at the last minute.

OGENYI: Why? She's  Muslim, isn't she? These Anyamiri Christians are something else. We shall defeat them with Allah's help.

OKEKE: I believe we shall. They say her ass was so wide she couldn't fit into the passenger seat. We almost didn't go until I was able to secure three adjoining seats in a row and have the armrests removed. It couldn't have been done without Ayo' s help.

AYO: Sorry about that. I thought she is beautiful the way she is.  Er. Em. Excuse me.  And---

SULEIMAN: I shall have a serious talk with the President and his people.  We have been demanding that Muslim trips to Mecca be comfortable and provided free of charge and guaranteed for all Muslims who want to pay homage to our Great Prophet. Allah be praised. It is within our rights.

OGENYI: "Anyamiris have been demanding for our government  to pay for their visits to their Holy Land in Israel. You know Isrealis are our deadly enemies.  How do we deal with what we 've been talking about, Alhaji Okeke? I mean Islamize these  Anyamiris knockerheads?

OKEKE: Easy. But that's a hard job.

SULEIMAN: Easy and hard?  How's that so? Please explain. How do we convert Anyamirins to Islam?

OKEKE: Easy. You see, comrades.  Anyamiris are hard to convert to our religion. Why? They love money  and so much money it would cost us all the money in the NNPC. Give me enough money and support  to go after the Igbo leadership who have power over their people. You know, among Igbos, money and title are everything, and we know if you want to certify an Anyamiri is really dead, you know what to do. Call him Chief Moneyman Nwoye and see if he moves. Place a bundle of Naira on the dead body. No movement means he or she is really dead.

AYO: You are right, Comrade Okeke. I know it. My Igbo girlfriend Comfort  wants to be my fourth wife, but she demands millions of Naira for red Mercedes, mansions in Port Harcourt, South Africa, and frequent trips to Dubai and vacations at the American Disney World . I tell you what?. Nawa.

OGENYI: For one thing, Alhaji Okeke, how much money are you talking about? Can you handle the upcoming elections  in 2020 as well as conversion of Anyamiris to our world class religion? Can you? I mean can we pay you so you can buy our election winning results in 2020?

OKEKE: Very easily, my friend.  Can't place my hand on exact figure that would do.  Perhaps N500 trillion   will help to begin the massive job for the Great Prophet. Allah be praised.

AYO. Very well. No problem. We have over 570 billion dollars between Barclays and Citibank. Remember we have to purchase expensive GulfStream jets for each of our Muslim governors .

SULEIMAN: Ayo, it's hard to find you sometimes. Are you still enforcing the Sharia laws against the akwukwuma (prostitutes), the lega-lega (homosexuals), and the triko-triko (traversites)? I know you are.

OKEKE' No, Ayo is not. He's always at my house checking my wife's big buttoms out, I have asked him to please marry my wife's younger sister Comfort with twice the butt size. I don't know why he is wasting time.

(Ayo lowers his head in shame. There was a loud laughter until Suleiman recovered control).

SULEIMAN: Order! Order!  I say order.  Ayo, while you are out checking butts sizes, please check to see the size of Muslim cash flow (not  nyash slow) at all banks, including the Central Bank of Nigeria, Barclay's, Saudi banks, New York, California, Dubai Bank. Alhaji Okeke, we shall get back to you after we pull all the money together. Give us about a week. Thank you all, gentlemen. Any final word before meeting is adjourned?

OGENYI: Would it be better to import white Muslim girls from Egypt or Afghanistan than messing with the 200 or so girls kidnapped from a school? I am just asking.  No more last word, Alhaji Sule, Sir.

 

Meeting adjourns at 10:15 pm

Fiction written by Dr. James C. Agazie, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

I just want to tell you, my darling wife, " I LOVE YOU DEARLY"

I say this in CAPITALS because I want to emphasize the gravity of what I am about to say

Please read my declaration of love carefully to see what we must do to avert

The enemy that is creeping in to destroy what you and have built with blood & sweat

Though many of the couples we know or started our marriage with are fallen behind

Yet my love for you is more expansive than the East is from the West

And, Baby, the love I have for you is farther than the North is from the South

I love you because my heart beats best every moment your heart is next to mine

Loving you puts me in a merry-go-round amidst a never-ending masquerade dance

You came into my life as an angel Heavens sent to love, care for, and succor me

Thanks for the sacred knot we tied to share each moment and ensure our name is not lost

Thank you for choosing me from the group of young men your friends recommended

I need not remind you of the extravaganza and joyousness of our wedding day

I say this not to minimize YOU at the expense of stupendous clothes, dinner and Heinekens

When all is said and done, who is left after the banquet ended and guests went away?

You were and still are the reason for the joyous occasion, the noblesse oblige

Finding you was exasperating, chasing you breathtaking, and marrying you "oh serendipity"

You fill each minute with 60 seconds of rapture, each hour with 60 minutes of utopia

You transform my seconds to days, days to months, months to years, and years to eternity

Sometimes, I forget to say How now, buy flowers, chocolate or things to express my abiding love

Sometimes, I long to clasp your hand in mine, grab you by the waist, splash you with kisses

I ignore or don't do these not because I do not care but I want to give you time to miss me

I love you in a special way unlike the manner Nokia unites communities and Nikes "Just do it"

I swear to God I'll never break your heart, betray your trust, or trivialize your hopes

I treasure the moments, after hot garri & bitter-leaf-okporoko" and a cold beer

We lay together undressed, caressing, panting and sweating drops of hot blood

And I begin to explore you beginning with tiny toes to secret parts and to the heaving breasts

And work around your beating heart to the depth of your troubled soul

Reassuring you this Valentine Day, Baby, to hold tightly on; it's going to be alright

I just wanna tell you, my darling wife, I treasure you deeply

Please listen to the end of my declaration, my avowal and affirmation of love

We've been together for years and now a re-confirmation of our sacred vows is due

Don't think marriages are easy or get taken for granted as weeks turn to years

Marriages are breaking up, and friends we know have taken their case to the Judge

Too many misunderstandings, fights over money, allegations of infidelity and raising of kids

The Devil is a loose seeking, running helter skelter, seeking which homes to destroy

Please know this: We're in the most important social institution God Himself designed

For the preservation of the human race, to ensure we as a people won't be extinct

Inspite of Biafra fiasco, boko menace and lingering corruption gone awry

Baby, hold on, grab me by the waist, let's put our parachutes on, get into our life boats

We pray evil passes over us as Angel of Death did over the Hebrews of ancient Egypt

It is alright, it shall be well, it is already well in Jesus Name

One thing I ask, and seriously ask for or strongly demand of you in this:

That our channels of communication be as openly high as the sky, deep as the ocean

Trust me, get me to trust you, let's undress our secrets to us and us alone

And not to Okonkwos or Angelas or those thinking they monopolize sex and dollar

Come on, Baby, let's embrace, and kiss and plan for our 50th or 6oth wedding date

Let's do this in remembrance of sacrifices our parents and ancestors have made

I love you and only you as the Sun loves the moon and gives her the glowing light

Just want to ask you "How are you?", and tell you "I love you dearly"

COPYRIGHTED 2011, updated 2/14/16  Dr. James Agazie, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.