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He fell down the spiral stairwell…. Yes. It all came back to me some days back; I looked at my eight year old and couldn’t help but be grateful to God that he’s still here and that he’s in great shape – no negative aftermath from that fall.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the spiral stairwells a number of apartment complexes have.  At a house we lived in sometime back, we had one that led from the kitchen balcony to the parking lot. It was our secondary exit and we were aware of the danger associated with this type of stairwell, so we kept the kitchen door and the safety gate just before it closed all the time to ensure our little one didn’t go out and get hurt.

You know how you identify the hazards in your home and put certain things in place as mitigation? Yeah. We had done that, and the barriers were well understood by all occupants of our home. Our home was safe, or so I thought, until that afternoon. I can’t quite remember what I was doing but I was upstairs when I heard the most heart wrenching wail ever coming from downstairs. My son was crying loudly and calling out ‘Mummy… Mummy….’ I raced down to the front of the house but he wasn’t there, then I quickly went to the back and found him at the base of the stairwell. He had fallen and bumped himself here and there but  thankfully he seemed okay.

We took him to the hospital for a check. The doctor said he was fine but advised us to do an MRI scan to confirm. We sought a second medical opinion and decided against the scan after being properly advised. Thank God for good counsel.

I needed to get to the bottom of this incident to make sure it never repeats itself. A number of things contributed to the incident but this was the most prominent – Someone had come to stay with us for a few days. On this occasion, this person left both door and gate open and my toddler on discovering this decided to go on a let’s see where this road leads adventure. After considering everything, I arrived at the root cause – we did not share this critical safety information/expectation with our guest. 

What barriers do you have in place for safety, security and your overall wellbeing at home, school, work, and so on? Are you actively communicating them to all stakeholders? You see, if people come along and defeat or bypass those barriers intentionally or ignorantly, those barriers are as good as not there in the first place. You can’t go to sleep after putting barriers in place, no matter how strong they are. Barriers must be frequently checked to ensure they’re still functional and in place.

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Memory Lane 3 – Time Wasters 2

Time wasters 1

‘That means I’m in love with about five ladies’…

My dad’s late. That’s why he spoke of permission from my mum. These statements seemed to hold a lot of promise but hey, they came from Timbo, so I documented them and carried on using my head.

Easter came around and some friends of mine returned from school. We always took advantage of birthdays and holidays to hangout. Our parents knew the drill already and even if there was no money for a party, you were sure to have this group of friends at your house on your birthday. Even if all you had to offer was water, we would still show up. Our favorite activity was the hot seat because the celebrant had to answer every question asked; it was a good way to get to know a lot about our friends. That Easter we planned to meet at one of the parks in Abuja.

Everything was set but just a day to the event, Timbo asked me to go out with him the following day. He sounded like it was important. I was keeping my options open so I agreed, just in case. I figured I could meet up with my friends later and I thought they wouldn’t miss me as much compared to Timbo if I let him spend the day alone. I wondered about this outing. I allowed myself drift a little. He had mentioned a different park, I assumed there was somewhere quiet where we could sit and talk. I really wanted to know what was on this guy’s mind.

Well, time came and we left for the park. When we arrived, he began searching for some people. I didn’t know what to expect but was extremely disappointed when he found his group of friends, quite a number, and quickly introduced me to them. It seemed he met them at Church or something. They were total strangers to me and that didn’t feel good at all. Where was I to start from… and they were going all over the park in their cliques, I couldn’t even remember their names. I thought Timbo who brought me into this mess would at least stay with me and be the link between me and the rest of his friends but noooo… that was too much to expect. He left me all alone and came back a few times during our stay there to check on me. I wished I could leave but for some reason I can no longer recall, I stayed till it was time for everyone to leave. I spent most of the time wishing I was with my friends and upset that Timbo withheld from me the information about it being a group outing.

Weeks went by and the date for my return to school for my final year drew near. I wanted to know for sure what Timbo had in mind so that I would know how to respond if anyone tried to ask me out in school. You know how it is, in final year some guys find their voices, clear their throats and say stuff like ‘you know, I loved you from the moment I first saw you, but I had to focus on my academics… now that we’re about to leave school, will you go out with me?’ and so on and so forth. So since he wasn’t coming out clean on the matter, I decided I would tactfully get the information I required from him. This is how it went:

One Saturday he asked me to accompany him to lunch saying he didn’t want to eat alone. I had already eaten at home so I had a glass of water while he ate. I began my line of questioning by asking him if he was in a relationship with anyone. He said he had different relationships with different people. Okay, ‘have you ever been in love before?’ I asked. ‘In love? What does it mean to be in love?’ He asked. At this point, I didn’t know if he was serious or joking; I couldn’t imagine that he didn’t know what it meant. I calmly explained to the best of my ability – ‘you know, when you always want to be with a particular person, you think of them almost all the time when they are not with you, you can’t wait to see them again, you enjoy their company so much, and you’re always on the look out for opportunities to give to them or do something that will make them happy.’ I hoped my response was good enough but nothing could have prepared me for his. ‘Hmn…’ He muttered. ‘That means I’m in love with about five ladies – Gloria, Emediong, Mabel, Helen and you’. What! He even had the audacity to count me in the number. Ha! Number 5.

At this point I was so irritated. Everything within me said, ‘pick up that glass of water and baptize him back to his senses’ but the love of Christ constrained me. At least he was blunt enough to tell the truth and help me realize that there was no light at the end of this tunnel. I concealed my displeasure and changed the subject. I counted down to the last ball of ‘eba’ he swallowed and said thank you and goodbye when he dropped me at home. Yes, goodbye, ‘good riddance to bad rubbish’ as a friend in school often said.

A few days later I returned to school. He came to mind every now and then. I thought I wouldn’t miss him at all, but to some extent I did. I guess my journaling and trying to be objective about the whole thing helped but didn’t shield me completely from the fondness that could develop as a result of communicating frequently with someone and hearing them say certain things. Though I tried to consider them untrue, it seems a part of me held out hope that he meant what he said. I was slightly disappointed but grateful to God that I had put those restraints in place. Without them, I would have been dealing with a serious heartbreak in my final year. Can you just imagine that?

I thought of other ladies that he could be treating the same way – maybe the other four he named – and decided to send him a mail. In summary, I told him not to hang around ladies and create the impression that he’s interested in marrying them and say things to buttress the point if he has no intention of this sort. He said he was just being friendly and apologized. Then he sent me a mail one day saying he had been somewhere near my home and had thought of stopping by to see my mother. I said, ‘for what? please do not go to my house for anything…’ What would he have gone as? Friend, very caring friend, suitor, neighbor or what? Abeg, I had had enough. Funny enough, that’s the last time we were in touch.

Maybe he was actually being friendly, maybe he really meant no harm, but there comes a time in a woman’s life when guys shouldn’t be hanging around them so much if they have no plan to marry them. Some guys are so much in a woman’s space that other genuine prospects back off because they think she’s already taken. They just stay there and spoil her chances. Then they wake up one morning and happily inform her – after she’s waited patiently for years hoping that one day he’ll ask her to marry him – that they’re getting marring to someone else.

Some ladies also find it hard to move on when a man is marking time around them, especially when he has some of those features that they desire in a husband. But if there’s any truth in your relationship with that person, you should be able to ask real questions that will help you analyze your situation and decide whether you want to stay or move on. You should be able to ask, after sometime of ‘being friends’ and the guy saying nothing, questions such as:

  • What exactly are we doing?
  • Define this relationship….where’s it going? what’s the future?
  • What’s your plan for your life? 5 year, 10 years, 20+
  • When do you plan to get married?
  • What kind of person do you want to marry?

and so on. Their answers will help you know what to do with your own life. But for goodness sake, don’t put your life on hold because of some guy who hasn’t said ‘Jack’. Some of them even become possessive, controlling, demanding and jealous…. Let’s not even go there.

Please, tell your sisters and your friends. This thing called LOVE… women have to go beyond emotions and engage their brains. Be objective, think, rationalize. This is not a ‘love is blind’ matter. Your love must wear glasses. Look well and don’t let anybody waste your time. Your time is your life.

Memory Lane 2 – Time Wasters

“That means I’m in love with about five ladies’. Yes, that’s what he said.

I’ve been waiting for the right time to share this experience. I think it’s time now. I thought this matter of time wasters would have faded into almost non-existence but from what I hear, it’s still on, big time, and some ladies are getting caught in their webs. Let me tell you about my encounter with one. I’ll call him Timbo.

In the early nineties, my family moved into a rented house. A few weeks in, we got acquainted with our neighbors and one of them was Timbo. He was older by a few years and seemed like a very focused individual. The way he headed out to school each morning seemed to shout ‘I’m on a mission. I don’t have time to play. I’m going somewhere to make a difference’. That was admirable. As years passed we had a few opportunities to chat outside when power failure forced most people out of their homes. Back then in our part of the country, not many people had power generators, so we would spend the time outside chatting with neighbors till NEPA decided to smile on us or till it was too late to remain outside.

One day, Timbo left for the 1-year National Youth Service Program. I sent a message or two to him while he was away but got no response. I thought we were friends enough for him to respond but I guess I was wrong. I was disappointed but hey… I moved on. Months later, he came to town but didn’t stop by to say ‘Hi’. I wondered about that.

Soon enough I also left town. Academic pursuits found me in Niger state, about 800km from home.  I met a number of people and made good friends and by the time I was in my fourth year, I went for the compulsory Students Industrial Work Experience Program and eventually found a placement in Abuja. One day, I got a call from Timbo. He said he was posted to the Abuja Branch of his office and didn’t know anywhere in town. He was trying to settle in and wanted to know where I lived. I gave him the address, ended the call and sat back to think about all that had happened in the past. I wasn’t going to make myself vulnerable this time.

I picked up my journal and summarized our history. Then I outlined some rules of engagement to guide me as we reconnected. The points included stuff like do not allow yourself get carried away, be very observant, guard your heart, beware – he may disappear again’. He showed up all smiles. Everyone was happy to see him, our long lost neighbor. He looked well, was well dressed and seemed to have money now. Good for him. We chatted a bit and he left, then I made my journal entries on the subject.

He began to call me on the phone almost every morning just after arriving his office; he would call again at close of business. A few times he stopped by to see me during lunch and would say something like ‘Work today’s so stressful, I just needed to see your face. Now I can go back and continue working’. Well, work was worth his while because a few months in, he bought his first car. It was small, but fit for purpose. His frequent calls and visits were beginning to leave an impression on people’s minds. A few assumed he was ready to settle down and was looking for a wife. I tried not to jump to conclusions.

In the course of our many conversations, he said a few things that made me think he was beating about the bush on the ‘marriage matter’. Here are the ones I can recall:

  • One of these days I will go to your mother’s office and lay prostrate on the floor and tell her I won’t stand up until she agrees to let you marry me
  • What time do you wake up? He asked. Around 6am, I replied. In that case I’ll just wake up and leave you there. When you’re ready you get up.


To be continued…. 

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Husband Material 3 – Watch!

Don’t ignore the signs

More often than not, the signs are there to help you tell what kind of person you’re dealing with. In fact, if you pay attention, you can predict how they’ll likely respond to certain events in the future. I believe this discovery of a person’s tendencies, likes, dislikes, habits, values and general behavior is more effective when they have their guard down. You need the person to be himself or herself as much as possible.

Conscious of this fact, I paid attention to Kingsley. I watched him while we were out with our group of friends and while we were at Church. He was still in focus while we were at my home or at his home. I deduced and I inferred. By the way, I started my scrutiny even before he asked me out.

I paid attention to how he related with his friends and the values of the ones he was closest to. My assumption was that he would most likely be like them. You know, birds of a feather….

I watched him worship. Was it superficial or heartfelt? Was he malleable in the hands of his Creator? This, to me, indicated whether I would have to spend a lot of energy engaging him to act or make a change or I could just leave the matter to God and know it would be sorted.

How do they treat family?

I once read that in later years, men tend to treat their wives the way they treat their mother and sisters so I observed how he interacted with his. I also watched how he related with my family members; they would eventually become his in-laws. I desired that a battle line would never be drawn between them with me having to take sides. I wanted both of us to feel at home whether we were with his family or with mine.

Can they help you in those important areas?

One day at Church, a couple we knew asked us to help them watch their kids as they had to attend a meeting. This was a fantastic opportunity for me to observe him around kids. He picked up the little one who was sleepy and we both managed to keep the other two happily engaged till their parents returned. ‘Excellent!’ I thought.  I wouldn’t have to do it all by myself then. Now, years later, he’s such an amazing father. The kids just love him and he’s such a great partner through the whole process of raising them.

Ask for divine help

It’s true that some people are masters at pretending and I hear some are so good that they could keep up appearances for a long time. So above all, in my dealings with people, I keep in mind the good advice given to a king several years ago – Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path.



People always talk about ‘chemistry’ in love relationships but who would have thought Physics had a role to play in matters of the heart? “Like poles repel and unlike poles attract… so make sure you marry a tall man”. That’s what my physics teacher said to me one day as he provided clues to help me solve a problem. I laughed and left his office but that word was planted like a seed in my mind. I was going to marry a tall man so my kids would be privileged to see the world from a more elevated perspective than mine. I made sure I didn’t give any guy who wasn’t tall a chance to win my affection.

You see, even in business, we keep the future in mind when considering partnerships. What is the other party bringing to the table? What value will they add? Will they help or hurt the vision of the company? I took time to know myself and identify my deficiencies, then I did my best to become better in areas where improvement was possible, and to be on the lookout for someone who could complement me in those areas I had no control over.

The fact is that no one is perfect, so even in love relationships, we need to keep synergy in mind. No matter how wonderful you are, you should marry someone with whom you can bring about better results, higher returns, more stability, more influence, and so on. Both parties should be better off as a result of the union. Your mate should really bring out the best in you. As iron sharpens iron, couples should sharpen and influence each other toward increased effectiveness.

This goes on throughout the life of the marriage and because we’re thinking as a team with a common agenda rather than as distinct entities chasing our individual ambitions, we draw on each other’s strengths to make us and our family as a whole better.

So here’s a call to you to look out for and maximise synergy opportunities in your relationships and in your life as a whole. Happy Hunting.


One thing I’m grateful for is the friends I’ve had. From my childhood till now, I’ve been blessed with good company, good influence, good inspiration, motivators, challengers, encouragers, counsellors, comforters and helpers in the form of friends. My journey wouldn’t have been as pleasant without my friends.
I believe I was a good friend too. Friendship isn’t a one way street. You take and you give, and the trade goes on. It’s easy to see why it begins to fall apart when one party begins to refrain from giving or when distance, busy schedules, and other complexities interfere with the exchange.
Now the world is a global village, and thanks to technological advancements, we can keep in touch with friends far and near. It comes down to our willingness to make the effort to reconnect, and strengthen those beneficial bonds. As they say, no man is an island, so you may find this well worth the effort.
Where are your friends?

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