Martin Luther Jnr Letter from Birmingham jail

 

Title: Martin Luther Jnr Letter from Birmingham jail

Author: Martin Luther King Jnr.

Published by: Christian Century Magazine

Publication year: 1963

 

 

Rev Martin Luther King received a letter from some group of local clergymen who urged him in a letter mailed to him in his jail there in Birmingham that he stop the street protests against racial discrimination. Rev Martin Luther King reacts in what I have likened to apostle Paul’s wholehearted lengthened epistle to the churches.

Martin Luther King Jnr has risen up to that peak in his (would I say) Apostolic calling and activism in that, he was getting lots of letter from people opposing his activism move which was in a bid to stop racial segregation in America. In accordance with an invite from a Christian NGO which has charged itself with the sole responsibility of standing up for the human right of black Americans. King argues that he wouldn’t protest all by his intention alone but by the support of big names and notable American clergymen who sees the reason why the human right of minority Black Americans should be fought for and without violence. In Malcolm X’s autobiography, Malcolm measures King’s anti-segregation campaign as not fit to tackle the persisting oppressive rules simply because Martin Luther King Jnr was seemingly becoming too lenient with those he (Malcolm) tags the devil. On an account in his autobiography, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Malcolm did states the reasons why black Christians shouldn’t be believed. He feels they have adopted the white man’s religion and therefore had been brain- washed into being at the mercy of their rules which wasn’t so after examining crucially the role Martin Luther King played in the peaceful agitation for the right of Negroes in America.

Martin Luther King Jnr didn’t just want to take part in what has been registered in the heart of protesters globally as the best peaceful protest ever, but comes to tie with Apostle Paul’s call for aid, such that was given to the churches (Paragraph 2). Just like the activist plight of Anne Moody in Coming of age in Mississippi and Richard Wright’s in black boy, Martin Luther King Jnr also feels the urgency to respond to the emotional brutality of his ‘brothers’ in America and especially in Birmingham where obnoxious rules on blacks were hot should be immediate.boy, Martin Luther King Jnr also feels the urgency to respond to the emotional brutality of his ‘brothers’ in America and especially in Birmingham where obnoxious rules on blacks were hot should be immediate.

Rev Martin Luther King Jnr clearly expresses the objective of their peaceful agitation establishing what is globally accepted as elements of a peaceful agitation. We were not unmindful of the difficulties involved… Page 4, first line. Rev king Jnr and his several affiliates wouldn’t just dash into a peaceful protest without proper orientation and disorientation of some long standing ideologies of protest. A non-violent tension was the tool Rev King makes do with after his several preaching against violent tension. King’s protest was tagged untimely, but my question following after the order of King’s is; Should hands be folded while lives deteriorate without repair. But even at that, King later have what I think is the best response of all time after he tells the Clergymen in his letter: We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor: it must be demanded by the oppressed. This fact has been proven severally by notable activist and most especially authors of some predemocracy books. Richard Wright in his autobiography states how he had to protest with cold shrills when he was little and with this, mama just lets go of him while others pay dearly for their misdeed. What if he (Martin Luther King Jnr) kept shut?

Rev Martin Luther King writes with the pain of segregation seriously hurting him. He speaks here on [page 6] with an emotional feel to drive his point home. The other black clergymen or clergymen who wrote him might probably not be affected by the obnoxious law definitely, had they been affected they wouldn’t have tarried the day of their freedom. There is actually no better time to correct any ill situation. That time you noticed that unpleasant situation is just about the best. Regarding 1Pet 5:10 The actions of the Clergymen is quite notable, an act of disappointment to Martin Luther King Jnr and even to the body of Christ with whom King was peacefully agitating for.

Luther King Jnr agitation and  Elijah Muhammed or Malcolm X’s movement are two opposite thing. Theirs was never in any way supporting peaceful protest as  Malcolm X notes in his autobiography of how the nation of Islam trains Muslim brothers karate for defence. Malcolm X opposes the white segregation laws and even referring to the white man as the devil who defied the black man of his human right. Fighting the course of the black man’s human right now becomes the struggle of two entity where one seems to be unfair with its approach to the trending issue of prejudice.

From Martin Luther King Jnr’s approach, we have seen a perfect example of Christians being the light and the salt of the world as the scriptures quoted in the gospel of Mathew 5:12-16. How best will he be the light if he fails to shine it from his residence in Atlanta all to the south of Birmingham and beyond the states in America where racial prejudice was at its peak.

Martin Luther King Jnr’s letter here reads the mind of a patriot who won’t want his countrymen to fall apart even while his struggle was to ensure equality of right with more emphasis on the minority blacks who were the subject of prejudice. The story of great men is enshrined in the book they write. This is just a letter from one of America’s finest activist and clergyman who fought till he became lifeless with his famous ‘I have a dream’ captivating speech.

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A Merciless Place 

Title: A Merciless Place

Author: Emma Christopher

Publisher: Allen &Unwin

Publication year: 2010

It is a rare pleasure to review a book that will appeal not only to the specialist in the field, but also to the general reader. A Merciless Place is such a book, a work of original scholarship that clearly indicates years of hard labour in the archives, and also a beautifully crafted literary endeavour, one that should attract anyone who appreciates excellent writing.

For more than a century, England used its North American colonies as a dumping ground for its unwanted criminals. Societies without prisons generally rely on physical punishment and exile as punishment for all levels of crime. England had used branding, beating, mutilation, and the death penalty for centuries. On paper, British law relied heavily on the latter penalty for all sorts of crimes, from petty theft to the most heinous acts of violence. By the latter half of the eighteenth century, England had some 225 capital offenses on the books. However, as many historians have pointed out, juries hesitated to convict if they believed that a minor crime against property would result in the death penalty.

The legal system relieved that stress through the ingenious mechanism of the king’s pardon commuting the death penalty into transportation to the colonies. Few people objected to shipping common criminals off to North America, with more than fifty thousand having been transported to the American colonies by 1775. Transportation not only relieved the English of thousands of criminals, but it also allowed them to treat their American cousins with contempt, as when Samuel Johnson declared the Americans “a race of convicts, and ought to be thankful for anything we allow them short of hanging.”

The Americans were not consulted on this creative legal structure, but they gave their opinion on many occasions, and it was decidedly negative. In 1759 Benjamin Franklin publicly complained that the policy was “an insult and contempt, the cruellest perhaps that ever one people offered another”. He suggested that it would only be fair for the colonies to ship rattlesnakes to Britain in exchange. The American Revolution created a crisis for the British legal system, which had a serious backlog of criminals sentenced to transportation with nowhere to send them. Emma Christopher of the University of Sydney gets to the obvious but previously unstudied question: what did Britain do with its criminals when the United States came into existence? It is well known that eventually, the British government decided to use Australia as a home for its undesirables, but I hate to admit that it never occurred to me to wonder what happened to its criminals between 1776 and 1788. Christopher provides the answer in fascinating detail.

 

After the American Revolution, London’s jails were bulging with men and women sentenced to death.

Lacking America as an alternative punishment, the courts proceeded with executions in “an orgy of public slaughter,” the number of hangings in Middlesex doubling between 1780 and 1785. Hundreds of sleight-of-hand artists and petty criminals became caught up in a wild scheme of the government to dispose of its convicts in the unlikeliest of places. Trying anything to avoid the overuse of the death penalty yet faced with overcrowded prisons, the government decided to try transporting their prisoners to some other remote location, though in a rather nonchalant fashion. It decided to ship the lot of them off somewhere–an attitude that would probably find many adherents in modern America.

Captains Kenneth Mackenzie and George Katenkamp sought to attain glory and position fighting His Majesty’s war against the American rebels. They gained permission from the War Office to raise two Independent Companies, reluctantly accepting the enlistment of more than one hundred convicted criminals. There were a few true scoundrels in the mix, most notoriously William Murray, a professional con artist and thief who had escaped the gallows on several occasions. But most of these “recruits” had been incarcerated and often sentenced to death for minor offenses. For instance, John Plunkett, who had stolen three mirrors, thought serving in the army could not be worse than His Majesty’s prison ships, especially if he would be doing that service in North America. But on the day they set sail, the members of the Independent Companies discovered that they had been tricked by their government and were bound for Africa.

With the collapse of Britain’s North American empire, Africa had become the new focus of British greed and imperial schemes. But the British “died in droves,” and the War Office quickly found it difficult to man their African outposts–thus the logic of sending convicts rather than regulars who would be better employed in safer climes.

Slaves remained the major source of British wealth in Africa, the slave trade under the control of the Royal African Company but they absolutely did not want the convict soldiers. Racial attitudes complicated the effort to place criminals in positions of both authority and servility in major slave-trading centers; the Royal African Company warned that they would undermine the proclaimed racial superiority of Englishmen. Governor Richard Miles wrote from his headquarters at Cape Coast Castle that these convicts were a “Disgrace to the very Colour”. He knew full well that the African merchants and monarchs were not the powerless figures portrayed in imperial propaganda, but capable of crushing the English slave trade if they ceased fearing British troops. Reinforcing Miles’s concern, the convicts arrived at Cape Coast Castle on the Brookes, the slave ship made notorious by William Elford’s much-reproduced diagram of the ship’s hold crammed with slaves.

It was not an auspicious beginning to this latest experiment in criminal justice. Much of Christopher’s book is devoted to telling the bizarre story of the fate of these convicts–men and women–who travelled unwillingly to the coast of Africa. The reader shares the researcher’s sense of wonder as she explores yet another outrageous aspect of Britain’s transportation policy.

It is worth noting Christopher’s larger point, that the British government acted to solve a domestic problem by sending convicts overseas without any planning, lacking even a “specific destination”. No step of this operation seems to have been thought through, as the convicts were dropped off without food or supplies at remote imperial outposts.

The result, as many contemporaries predicted, was a catastrophe for those involved, making Africa synonymous with death. The Lord Mayor of Plymouth, John Nicol, challenged the Home Office over its use of “so severe a Sentence as that of Transportation [to] the Coast of Africa,” which was tantamount to a death sentence.

Christopher takes a number of informative detours into other dark corners of the Empire, such as the corrupt rule of Governor Joseph Wall on the island of Gorée–another convict dumping ground on the coast of Africa that ended in a “reign of terror”. After the failure of the Africa plan, the government tried America again, which led to two mutinies, an inability to find buyers of the criminals’ indentures, and outrage from the new U.S. government. Returning to Africa in 1785, the transportation of criminals there again proved a debacle, as did the disastrous settlement of black Loyalists in Sierra Leone. A proposal to develop South Africa with convicts in order to make up for the loss of the American colonies also went pear shape.

Christopher writes beautifully and with wit, personalizing this tragic history with outstanding character sketches. There are also a number of evocative set pieces, such as her description of public executions, the hell of British prison ships, and the environment of West Africa. She concludes her book with Australia, the settlement of which takes on new meaning in the context of these previous efforts to deal with a deeply flawed legal system. After all, Australia was first suggested as an appropriate dumping ground before the Lemane Commission, which was looking into a harebrained scheme for convicts to grow wheat on an island in the Gambia River.

Christopher moves beyond traditional legal studies to give us a vision of the law’s impact on the individual lives of the powerless and marginalized. She asks us to imagine the consequences for a young man or woman who steals a handkerchief or loaf of bread and is sentenced to transportation to the coast of Africa. Thoroughly researched, brilliantly written, deeply humane, A Merciless Place is a model of modern legal scholarship.

Credit: All Africa



Florence Jadesola Aboderin Unsung Greatness

 

Book Title: Florence Jadesola Aboderin Unsung Greatness

Author: Four Points Communication Ltd

Publisher: New Africa Book Publishers

Publication year: 2016

 

Unsung greatness reads into Florence Jadesola Aboderin’s fifty-six years sojourning on earth. Her story leads through her business proficiency, career management and motherly responsibility which all build up into the making of an eventual leader she became after the demise of her husband (Chief Olubunmi Aboderin), the founder and publisher of The Punch Newspaper (Nigeria’s most widely read Newspaper).

Florence Jadesola Aboderin (nee Babajide) takes her leadership capacity in the family so strong, manifesting more as the disciplinarian mother. Her temperament and that of her hubby seems to balance well, complementing each other. One (husband- Olubunmi) is extremely soft-handed where disciplining the children is concerned and Florence Jadesola seems to be the opposite version of her partner, a hard-core disciplinarian. Shalewa (Jadesola’s first daughter) recounts on her mother’s disciplinary act, bringing to light an occasion when she left home alongside her siblings to the Murtala Muhammed Airport which was very close to one of their Lagos residence. Well I think on a personal note, if mum applies her disciplinary act here then, it should be commendable (Pg. 46-47). Telling it from the manly angle, Wale (Jadesola’s first born and eldest son) was also warned not to ride in the busy street of the family’s Ilupeju residence. Of course this wouldn’t go too cool with a youngster about his age who wouldn’t be able to get the real feel of owning a brand new chopper bicycle (Pg.47). Going by the European standard, and citing the status quo where disciplining a child in London is concerned, Jadesola wouldn’t have attempted driving sense into her children with the rod. But the change of geographical location to Africa where correcting a child with the rod is prevalent, Florence Jadesola had to leverage on the tolerance nature of the African society to bring up the kind of children she would be proud she raised.

She sent out word to prayer warriors everywhere to intercede… (Pg 55). Jadesola came to good knowledge of the required parenting trait and value. She thus cleverly dispensed it to her initially naïve children. On account of this biography, the author exemplifies more, giving particular attention on her spirituality and most especially her untamed prayer life. She wasn’t just nominal but had come to understand the efficacy of prayer and even deem it fit to instill it in her children. Her children once pondered on the reason why she’d to lay hands on them whenever she prays. Maybe I know how her kids feel like, then (as I have come to once feel like that too) (Pg. 55).

The unsung Greatness of Florence Jadesola Aboderin

One of Jadesola’s unsung greatness came to being after she counseled that two children on admission then at the University College Hospital in Ibadan (where she served as a nurse) be de-wormed. But since medical practice in Nigeria esteems the medical doctors as the ‘Judge’ (as in, one with the final say) over every other professionals in the medical line, then her advise was turned down and later report had it that, those children died of worm-related causes. This singular incident leads to her pulling out from the nursing profession.

Jadesola resorted to doing odd jobs to maintain her family… (Pg 84).The unsung greatness of every mother is the ability to complement her hubby even while he is away or better still when he is insufficient in financial provision. This also becomes evident in Florence Jadesola who stood in the gap for her career and ambitious husband (while Olubunmi studies Accountancy in London) after she took up three menial jobs to assist with the family’s welfare (Pg 83-84).

Jadesola’s experience in London where she was joggling two or more jobs makes up for her, an accompanying element,  giving rise to her becoming the first female mortgage banker in Africa  (Pg. 89). This achievement raised her above the prejudice which sees the women folk as second class or third class citizens.

One greatness yet unsung is the involvement of Jadesola in the setting up of Lagos Building corporation. The fact that she introduced creative measures that enabled Lagosians own a home was quite commendable alongside testimonies of her humanitarian sacrifice to the will of prospect applying for mortgage loans. Despite her readiness to help those in need she still stand up to basic work ethics and high sense of discipline which is today highly commendable (Pg. 96-100). Worthy to be sung also is Jadesola’s revival of the Epe Plywood industries (Pg. 105-106).

For almost a year, the UBS MD ran the office from home… (Pg 110)  Florence Jadesola pioneered as the Managing Director of Universal Building society which sacrificially cost her running the office from home. That she never had an office space wasn’t enough reason not to start or stop her from making her mark in life.

Florence involvement in partisan politics didn’t go well with her children (Pg 94). The usual discourse which eventually results into pandemonium seems to be the order of the day at every political meetings. Some ill operations of UPN leadership (the case of thuggery. With reference to Bayo Success who was hired to terrorize rival political factions) which Jadesola belongs led to her fear of the unknown, leading to her protectively cautioning her family members against the strolling trouble which might be encountered on the streets (Pg. 95-96).

Reading Florence Jadesola Aboderin’s Unsung greatness, I see a Florence who was studious, committed and stood up to what she believes is morally upright all through her fifty-six years of sojourn on earth, and up to a point when her husband died. While it is important for people to make-up their physical look, it is also important to ‘make-up’ the innermost part of one’s personality (see last paragraph Pg 110) into that individual of one’s dream.

Wizard of the Crow

Title: Wizard of the Crow

Author:  Ngugi wa Thiong’o

Published by: Harvill Secker

Publication year: 2006

 

Written in Kikuyu and translated into English by the author, Wizard of the Crow by Ngugi wa Thiong’o will not disappoint anyone familiar with the author’s prolific body of work. This work of fiction sears with truth and lays bare the international foibles of postcolonial African politics. Pregnant with humour and irony, this allegory leaves nothing sacred as when one of the characters is cured of the disease of white-ache. It is a most human story examining both the character of leadership and the desires of the common citizen. Farcical characters become believable, while women, especially, are portrayed with complexity. The story challenges many stereotypes. For example, the main character, the Wizard of the Crow, is a witchdoctor or traditional healer or (~frochiatrist)(p. 622), and proves to be the voice of reason and sanity. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves storytelling or is interested in international relations and African culture and society.

The story tells of a megalomaniacal African ruler with a grandiose development scheme surrounded by conniving sycophants obsessed with greed who try to control the masses and outmanoeuvre each other. The trials of these politicos are interwoven with a love story involving the Wizard of the Crow and an underground activist posing as a secretary. The roles of thinly disguised entities such as the Global Bank also figure into this brazen expose of the (politics of poverty) (p. 87), while many other novel characters populate the landscape such as the (professors of parrotology) (p. 572).

The work is cynical, critical, insightful, and inspiring. Describing the fictional place, Ngugi writes, (If there were no beggars in the streets, tourists might start doubting whether Aburiria was an authentic African country) (p. 35). Contrast this with the line, (The world has no soul) (p. 62). The calcu180 Journal for Global Initiatives (Many a government in the world has been brought to ruin because it has been lax and allowed students, youth, and women to say and do whatever without proper guidance and supervision” (p. 557). And Ngugi observes, (Disorder reigned supreme, for any attempt on the part of the people to organise themselves was deemed by the Ruler’s government as a challenge to its authority” (p. 576). Describing the actions of one of the rich and successful political appointees, he writes, (How does one find humor in humiliating the already humiliated?” (p. 383). He also asks, (Why does needy Africa continue to let its wealth meet the needs of those outside its borders and then follow behind with hands outstretched for a loan of the very wealth it let go?” (p. 681). He also states, (It will not do for any region or community to keep silent when the people of another region and community are being slaughtered” (p. 726).

There is so much to highlight in this wide-ranging engaging story that no review could possibly do it justice. Don’t let the book’s size or the author’s reputation intimidate you. It’s a fun, easy read, and you may learn a lot. As always, Ngugi places the primary burden of resolving Africa’s maladies solely on Africa without shying away from the complex, detrimental influence of the colonial past. The question of whether Africa will experience globalisation as the latest reincarnation of an oppressive colonial past or participate actively as a contributing voice of reason may in some small part be presaged through the reception of this telling book. Thank you for this gift of a book and for holding up a mirror in which to exorcise so many daemons.

Credit: Daniel Paracka, Journal of Global Initiative.

 

Arrow of God

Book Title: Arrow of God

Author: Chinua Achebe

Publisher: Heinemann

Publication year: 1964

 

After his first bestselling novel, Things fall apart which almost caused an unresolved discourse between American hip-hop star 50 cent, and Nigerian author Chinua Achebe goes on to publish another mind blowing Novel by the title, The Arrows of god. The Arrows of God also went on to make name for itself just like it’s predecessors. It takes off with a plot built on Nigeria’s colonial administration with an expanded view into Igbo tribal life.

Ezeulu is the priest he also is the arrow of Ulu, the god of the village of Umuaro. The village relatively isolated from colonial administration largely goes about its business undisturbed but intrusions do take place. One such earned Ezeulu the trust of Winterbottom, a trust that is to prove damaging later. Another – peripherally – is the intrusion of Christianity in the form of a church established near Umuaro by one John Goodcountry, a church to which Ezeulu sent one of his own sons to be his spy, but on the long run this son of his became a Christian hereby causing the son to disconnect from his father and embracing Christianity, a faith he begins to adopt as his own with increasing dedication.

Another encounter which was the third affecting Ezeulu directly comes with the building of a road. The administration decides to bring in unpaid labour in order to hasten the project onwards, and another of Ezeulu’s sons is volunteered as one of the labourers. A wayward lad, given to sloth and overindulgence in the local beverage, he turns up late for work with a hangover and taunts the overseer with his attitude. The overseer, an Englishman, beats him severely for doing so.

Ezeulu, then, is not as well disposed to the colonial administration as he might be when Winterbottom decides to set Ezeulu up as a local chief in the area following the policy of indirect rule whereby trusted locals take positions of authority on the administration’s behalf. He summons Ezeulu to attend him, such summons always being delivered by locals who, running the administration’s errands, cannot resist using their position to levy taxes and to gain benefits by making demands with the supposed authority of the administration itself. Their arrogance in delivering their message further compounds Ezeulu’s negativity and, moreover, they do not know the basis upon which the summons has been made, further frustrating Ezeulu who finds the summons peremptory. Ezeulu resists, refuses on the basis that a man in his position is not to be summoned in this fashion, but fellow villagers not wishing to offend the white administration prevail upon him to attend.

He arrives to find Winterbottom indisposed by illness and a deputy, less familiar with the situation in Nigeria and not knowing Ezeulu at all, has the task of making the offer. Ezeulu refuses, and the deputy imprisons him out of irritation, and in the hope, he may be able to persuade him in that way. Here, Ezuelu’s absence from the village becomes important. With each new moon, he eats one of a dozen yams from the previous year. When these are used up, he announces the new harvest of yams but, in his absence, yams have gone uneaten. When he returns, then, for the ritual to play itself out, the harvest is fatally delayed. There is some question here in my mind whether Ezuelu is pedantic about this merely given his dedication to the ritual, or whether irritation with his fellow villagers at sending him on his demeaning mission plays a part. The ambiguity may have arisen from my o’er-hasty reading, but it does seem Achebe focuses upon the latter when Ezuelu first makes his decision, the former as events work their way through as a consequence. Either way, Ezuelu is adamant.

Goodcountry, the priest, sees an opportunity. He puts it about that if the villagers bring offerings of yams to his own harvest festival, the Christian God will protect the villagers from the wrath of Ulu and so they can bring in their harvest. Many of the villagers prove reluctant to abandon their traditions in this way, though their plight is severe, and Goodcountry offers them a solution. However, Ezuelu is to suffer yet again when one of his favoured sons, in temporary ill-health, is prevailed upon to undertake a strenuous activity at a funeral ritual. It is too much for him, and he dies.

Ezuelu is now a broken man and, the arrow of Ulu, the villagers see a broken god. We know that their abandonment of the old ways for Christianity is now inevitable.

Whether or not Achebe intends his readers to see the book in this light I do not know, but for me, this is a story of the unintended consequences of power, and the inevitability of its leading those over whom it holds sway into the ways of those who wield it. Winterbottom may be content for the villagers to continue with their traditions so long as they cooperate with the administration, but that very cooperation has consequences. The fact it is able to simply commandeer labour brings tensions, and it is only able to do so because of the awe in which the administration is held, however that may or may not be acknowledged. That is a tension that must be resolved. Moreover, no local aware of the ways of the tribe would have kept the priest away from the identification of the new moon and disrupted the annual ritual. In other words, the two cultures can exist side by side only in temporary stasis. Even with the best of intentions not that I am claiming the best of intentions for British colonial rule in Nigeria overall the dominating culture must prevail and usurp its predecessor. The tensions are too great between them, and the more powerful culture will inevitably win out as the old, perforce, fails to live in harmony with it, even if the disharmony is unrecognised by the usurping culture and its actions in bringing it to the fore are unintentional.

This is one work of fiction I love but may not quite understand too well it’s contradicting plot or should I say plot complexity. It is although a good read for anyone craving to know more about the missionary move to the eastern part of Nigeria and the corresponding response of indigenes to the worship of purportedly unknown God.

Rich Dad Poor Dad

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Book title: Rich Dad Poor Dad

Author: Robert T. Kiyosaki

Publisher: Warner Books

Publication year: 1997

 

It is good to instil into children relevant knowledge at least at the tender age they are wise enough to absorb wisdom. Most important is the issue of how to make money which launched Robert and Mike into the search on how to make money. Robert got to know on time some catalyst needed to aid his actualization of wealth. This becomes the bedrock of what begins as an adventure into the search for wealth which of course began with his inquisitiveness.

There seem to be elements of naivety or simply put sincerity of the heart in Mr Kiyosaki’s (Robert’s dad) response to him on (pg 34) where he says; “Because I choose to be a school teacher, but I really don’t know how to make money…” Mr Kiyosaki was blatantly transparent here and I begin to wonder if any father wouldn’t know how to make money in this present dispensation.

The idea of learning from two dads is one driving force for which I think this book caught the attention of most of its readers alongside the fact that one was rich and the other poor. At first, I had wondered the possibility of this title. Of course, we all know it is never possible that this would happen, but then I got to understand the relationship Robert built with his socialist dad (Poor dad) and his Capitalist dad (rich dad) who later lectured him on the cash flow quadrant.

Learning from his rich dad helped Robert set the distinction between the four major factors in the cash flow quadrant. Asset, liability, income and expenditure being the subject on which Rich dad taught Robert about finances played, a key role in determining how we handle money. Rich dad’s teachings happen to be a good start for Robert, setting the distinction between the rich and poor. An important distinction is that rich people buy luxuries last…  (Pg 117). And this makes me think why we want to get all the good things of life all at once, even when we are not financially ‘there’ yet. The ability to delay this immediate financial gratification would have been a good idea if people can just wait for a little and watch their asset grow bigger.

Using the cash flow quadrant formula which has income and expenses upward and asset with liability downward, Rich dad was able to lead nine-year-old Robert and Mike the right way aright where money making and investment is concerned.

This is one book that will never go out of print, not in the mind of readers that it had gone on to engrave itself. Even when copies physically go out of print the mind still will reproduce such an astute literature ever written on the subject of money and investment. If you were given financial education while growing up, good for you but if you weren’t made to learn a proper financial education like Robert and Mike enjoyed while growing up, at least you find this book.

Royal Service

Book title: Royal Service

Author:  Stephen P. Barry

Publisher: Macmillan Publishing

Publication year: 1983

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Getting to understand how the English monarchical political systems works can hardly be well understood to one’s preferred taste until some mystique about English royalty or other royal services are unravelled. This is a memoir of Stephen P. Barry, valet to Prince Charles after his twelve years of sojourning in the British Royal service.

On the opening pages of this book, Stephen eulogises the pleasure he finds in being a prince’s valet. Becoming a prince’s valet was particularly sought- after job… (pg 12). He further highlighted his pleasure in being considered for a royal appointment, a job he thought has got security. He seems more attached to the prestige of being seen as a royal emissary more than the mouth watery offers the job sets to give to him. Well, here I think the part of every man wants a majestic attachment, making everyone wanting to feel important. The author further establishes this fact when he went ahead to learn more about the basics of the job which in turn paid (see pg 34, 36, 41, 42).

There I was in the back of his brand new Aston Martin… (Pg 15)

Studying the personality of Prince Charles and on account of this story, one can deduce that he is down to earth a humble man, a man of good breed. This can hardly be understood when one is not close to royalty. I wouldn’t have expected a prince to give his valet a ride while he sits at the owner’s corner at the back seat, but life at least has taught us that successful men do not necessarily need to announce themselves, their humility will. It has often been said that being discreet and always wanting to command respect is what is obtainable in royalty, so this in a way upset my curiosity. Prompting me to know more.

Shirts are made to measure by Turnbull and Asser and again he chooses the fabric and styles in the comfort of the palace… After reading this part of the book I’d thought maybe someday I will also become Prince Charles in Buckingham [lol…in my wildest imagination] you know it is such a great privilege for him to have been serviced with a special home service embellished with all respect needed for royalty. It brings about that prestige attached to royals even though it is obvious that the cost of home or palace service makes any item bought by the royals double expensive.

In getting to meet the royals at least on paper, Stephen Barry unleashes their country lifestyle and their pattern of doing things.  Here he explains in successive order, how the royal family seems to have specially selected time, members of the family do things. And sincerely I seem to be thrilled by this organised lifestyle of theirs. The author writes as an authority to reckon with where the Royal family’s lives and most especially the Prince’s welfare is concerned. At least he’d lived the better part of his life knowing the makeup of the royal family. One must have thought being a member of the royal family warrants spending exorbitantly, enjoying the best life has got to offer, but the author did states of how purchases are regulated by the prince. This, of course, goes hand in hand with an instruction on the things needed to be bought and how much is budgeted for each item to be purchased. [Penultimate paragraph pg 71, 75].

After an attempted murder of the queen, and on the event of the successful assassination of Lord Mountbatten and lady Brabourne I would astutely summate that the royals weren’t also secured from external tension after all [pg 92]. Securing the royal residence wasn’t just an idea conceived out of the blues to give the royals a good taste of royalty but several cases of insecurity wouldn’t just let go the pessimistic attitude abiding within their security officials.

Working with the British monarch indeed was a great education and exposure for Stephen Barry who initially wouldn’t know how to break the news of his final goodbye to the prince and princess of Wales. He had been part of the prince’s life and he (The Prince of Wales) as well can hardly do a day without having his most preferred Valet in his daily picture. Stephen P. Barry knew his time was up in the Royal service and especially his service to the Prince of Wales and courtesy demands that one leave the stage when the ovation is high and so bidding the family a final bye was befitting after his twelve years as valet to the Prince of Wales.

This is the first book opening my eyes into the British monarchical system and mostly into the pattern of living which the royal family imbibes. If you’ve never been to Buckingham palace at least you have this book.

Abiku

 

Book title: Abiku: The battle of the Gods

Author:  Elizabeth Salawu

Published by: Segilola Publishing

Publication year: 2016

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Have you ever seen an Abiku lady? Never dare you to struggle to get her man off her. She can really be deadly dangerous than you can ever think. My first approach to the meaning of the phrase ‘Abiku’ as a young man of the Yoruba descent was very startling. Initially, I thought an Abiku is a demon possessed child (of course somehow they are) but a broadened understanding of the Yoruba context and interpretation into the world of mysteries taught me to understand that Abiku actually meant reincarnation but with some mystical features at times which sometimes may not be explainable.

Writing with an indigenous understanding of what Abiku meant to Africans or better still Yorubas is one good way to lecture the western world about reincarnation. Elizabeth takes turn through the thought of a mixed race girl in her early twenties who finds curiosity with who she is and what the immediate world around her says about her being even while she never knew it.

Writing from the beach, why?  There seem to be something mystical about this writing location of our major character. Writing from the beach gave me a pause. It further made me brood over Dayo simultaneously pondering while reading this piece, and asking why the author preferred to do this without a strong association to the context with which she writes. The question again reiterates, why write from the beach? She might have her reasons but it will be better only if she could just define it a little. At least explain things to a voraciously curious reader like myself.

Doing drug, of course, is no good, getting so much Hallucinated is even crazy enough to note and most especially when it comes from a substance like Cocaine. The author leads her reader once more into the world where illicit sex and the harmful effect of a drug would make one wonder he’s somewhat in an amusement park. Thinking of Henry and finding Akin in her dream was one big trouble (a good drama though for the readers making our heart race like the sport car used in Formula one) Ekundayo may not be able to see through only if she understands what it meant in this other part of the world we find our footing. And most especially when there is already a sexual intimacy with a man from another world the battle can just be as fierce as you will possibly guess.

Switching between mortal and intermittently the immortal world is one distinct feature found amongst the Abikus. Elizabeth did just justice to this with a good use of a cinematic mind. She set off a battle ground for two men, whose struggle for the big prize (Ekundayo) is already resulting into insanity for the prize (Ekundayo) herself. Dayo is now at a crossroad. It is either she embraces who she use to be and get cleaved to her spouse in the immortal world or settle for her mortal and first love who seems to be confused about an initial sweet taste of love gone sour.

If you know of Abiku and haven’t read this book, then you may not really know it. Abiku, the reincarnation is a story you will be glad you read.  This is a story of love, Mystery, doubt and fear of the unknown grafted into a myth this world still trembles at.

 

The Purpose Driven Life

 

purposedrivenlife

Book title: The Purpose Driven Life

Author: Rick WARREN

Publisher: Zondervan

Publication year: 2002

 

Have you ever pondered on why you were created? Why you weren’t created a European but African? Why not Caucasian but Indian? Have you ever thought of the divine drive channelled into your making, I mean your DNA. But guess what, this is a unique book I just picked after someone I hold in high esteem recommended it for my reading. I almost wasn’t reviewing this, but if you haven’t read this book, you might just be missing a whole lot. This is Rick Warren, Listen to him.

Rick gets to unveil the divine way through which the discovery of one’s purpose is unveiled in this book of his. Going away from all other self-help books which he admits could be useful where determining one’s purpose is concerned, he reiterates that, it is the owner of a creation that can better tell what his invention is meant for. And then stating the importance of the inventor’s piece of manual which is always attached to every of his invention, – here he refers to the Bible.

Rick Warren talks about worship.

“Depending on your religious background, you may need to expand your understanding of “worship.” You may think of church services with singing, praying, and listening to a sermon.” (Pg 42.) The place of your local assembly of worship cannot be over emphasized. Here Rick talks of how much God values the services we render onto Him. This he tagged one of our purposes on earth. He reiterates that our service in our local assembly is a form of purpose we’re fulfilling, further stating that in our service to God we’re also worshipping Him. This is to correct the long-established notion that we can only worship God in our praises and singing of some solemn songs but it’s beyond that. Worshipping God according to Rick also involves the offering we give. So when someone ask you if you’ve worshipped God today and you’ve given someone a thousand naira bill, you’d better let such person know that you really Worshipped with all gladness.

I’ve heard lots of folks fault their failure on their parent, race, look, location and the likes. But Rick Warren is saying here that we were predestined whichever way we appear today. God also planned where you’d be born and where you’d live for his purpose. Your race and nationality are no accident. God left no detail to chance. He planned it all for his purpose… (Pg 15)’. Rick admonishes that man wheresoever he finds himself has been made for a reason and there is the responsibility for him to discover that reason.

Reading Purpose driven life will expose your mind to some predestined divine orchestration of your life. Serving God with your skills or your service is a form of worship that touches the heart of God and in turn pays back for you. This is such a good read into the New Year. Pick it today and you will be proud you did.

 

 

 

 

The Autobiography of Malcolm X

malcolm-x

Book title: The autobiography of Malcolm X

Author:   Alex Haley and Malcolm X

Published by: Ballantine Books

Publication year: 1964

 

I heard people speak of someone by the name Malcolm X. I’ve heard of someone who never schooled beyond the eighth grade but drilled on the street of Harlem and also of someone who attended the University of Charlestown Prison. I finally was privileged to meet him after several years of anticipation, yes on the pages of this good read.

On the account of this autobiographical narrative, Malcolm’s psychological approach to getting one’s request granted in life is sped up through making some noise. I would open my mouth and let the whole world know about it… I learned early that crying out in protest could accomplish things [pg8]. And this he learnt during his childhood. This then affirms the African proverb which says, (paraphrased) what will become of a man can easily be identified during his formative years. The negroes in the early 50s have something in common. Most were poor, talented, maltreated, and hostile (even towards each other) and finds solace in religion. Even while Malcolm was been taken to live with the Gohannas, his weak mother still remembers to inform the state man that Malcolm shouldn’t be fed with pig [pg19].

The analysis of any story with a strong theme of Afro-American activism and in this case, black Americans in a black populated city like Harlem wouldn’t be complete without stating the poor mindset most black Americans had nurtured since time immemorial. You do odd jobs, get rich through tips, gamble and when you had your hit, you’ve got to buy your friends drinks and steaks, buy a Cadillac and in a brief squander those returns on gambling without any thought of investment. Most of the time it happens as a result of wanting to show off one’s spending habit, in a quest to meet up with the status quo. Malcolm did well by tackling this demeaning mindset when he joined the Nation of Islam.

 

How ridiculous I was! Stupid enough to stand… (Pg 54)

Malcolm X is the man with a ‘glass’ heart. His version of the Negro suffering was told in this biographical account of his without ‘padding’ things up. Even when he seems to be betraying the race to which he belongs, he says it in clearer terms.  While Reginald plots out Malcolm’s path into becoming a Muslim, his presumptions about the white folks will just be unrealistic as anything. Speaking about the anti-white policy and loss of identity syndrome which works hand in hand with the white’s hatred for the negroes, one might have just thought that is his best move towards working out the conversion of his anti-Christian brother. Malcolm wouldn’t listen to anyone order than Reginald, but even at that, he wouldn’t swallow all he’s saying hook line and sinker. He still remembers some good white buddies. Several letters Malcolm got while he was in the prison hastened him to accept the Islamic religion. The fact that Elijah Muhammad in a way blast opens the truth about the black race, also in a way affirms Malcolm’s previous thought of his race. It also affirms James Brown pride in his colour when he sang in 1968 at Los Angles, ‘I am black and proud’ but in a way discouraged Michael Jackson’s several surgeries which defeated the real him. While some of what Elijah Muhammad’s studied might be true, there is still no proof up till this very day of this review that the white man ever brainwashed Negroes to accept Christianity on any oral or documented account. This makes Elijah Muhammad’s theory not substantial. Arguably, Christianity on the African continent only met with some taste of racial oppression, black’s loss of identity, when slavery also was at its peak and therefore, just in correlation with that which has been said above, the black will always want to find solace in something. And then Christianity sets in for the black majority.

Malcolm seems to have learnt so many things even while he was in prison [Pg 171], a total opposite to some parent’s thought that it is only in the formal school where anyone could be knowledgeable about anything. Though I will not in any way promote being a convict or ex-con, but there was more concentration for greater absorption of knowledge when he was isolated from distractions.

The ‘X’ substituting Malcolm’s surname became a question on the mind of the entire public, here is it. The ‘X’ substituting Malcolm’s surname came up as a result of his dislike to bear the white man’s slave name. Bearing Little is still more like him disappointing the race to which he belongs, so he had better follow Elijah Muhammad’s thought about getting the X in place of his surname after which Allah will replace it with another new name. Malcolm X, Lloyd X, Ulysses X all followed this same theory propounded by Elijah Muhammad.

[Pg 221] No Muslim who followed Elijah Muhammad could dance, gamble, date, attend movies or sport, or take long vacations from work…. This sounds controversial and won’t make an average American or African embrace Nations of Islam or the religion itself. Elijah Muhammad is making Islam so tough like military operations. I personally wonder what will become of the Muslim sisters and brothers if they can’t date, attend movies do sport or even take long vacations. These majorly are what give people joy and relaxation amidst several days of hustle and struggle. Elijah Muhammad might have been talking about a total concentration of the works of Allah but may not get the approval of the public where the aforementioned is concern. I’d even thought if all this still remains in this present day Islamic practice (maybe someone will clarify this for my understanding). Malcolm really grew into a good salesman and orator. His knowledge of persuasion and conviction infused into his teachings makes the public want to hear more of him. Often ending his teachings with the phrase “Who among you wish to follow The Honorable Elijah Muhammad” is such good punch line often used in churches where the preacher makes an altar call of commitment to salvation. Astonishing, this also make of him a good salesman, who is always concerned not only with the persuasive part of his talk but the commitment of his listeners.

Malcolm X was really hurt when news of Elijah Muhammad adultery flung open to the general public. And on seeing this myself, I was thrown aback, wondering how this happened. I’ve been reading about disciples being loyal to their lords, but the case of Malcolm X to Elijah Muhammad seems to be highly exceptional, even when Elijah Muhammad destroyed him at his back. To crown my awe at Malcolm’s dedication to the nation of Islam, I seem to be marvelled again when Malcolm and Wallace Muhammad had to objectively help Elijah Muhammad out of the mess he was, here making references to the bible. It now seems to be the final resort from where they sort for a solution to cleanse Elijah’s mess. And of course, the bible proffered the solution they both searched for. The question now stirs up in me, who else would have done it (help Elijah Muhammad out of his mess) better if not Malcolm X, the castigated faithful of Elijah Muhammad? You see, I begin to think if blacks regardless of their ethnicity or religious affiliation could just unite together, things will get better than it is now. He was faithful to the gallows even when he saw it staring at him.

Not trying to be a fanatic here, but after reading about some biblical characters, I seem not to agree with Elijah Muhammad’s statement with Malcolm X where he was comparing himself with some biblical characters like David, Noah and Lot [Pg 299]. What is he trying to achieve? I seem not to understand. Can anyone provide help?

Towards the end of this book, Malcolm was able to ascertain some crucial understandings about the racial prejudice in America. He feels that the America white man is not a racist but it is the American political economic and social atmosphere that automatically nourishes a racist psychology in the white man. He thinks the white man is not inherently evil but the America’s racist society influences him to act evilly which was more confirmed when he had contact with Islamic friends from his trip to the Holy land of Mecca.

The autobiography of Malcolm X is an honest unleashing of a die-hard patriotic American who met with death but disdain it in a bid to secure a level playing ground for his black countryman. Like Truman Nelson of THE NATION said, “A great book. It’s dead level honesty, its passion, its exalted purpose will make it stand as a monument to the most painful truth.”