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Square Pegs and Round Holes

Month

April 2014

A Widow’s Plight

Chioma’s hair being scrapped off with disposable razors…tradition!
She cried.
But they held her down and shaved off every strand of hair on her head.
Her tears touched them not and as they subjected her to this humiliation called tradition, they knew they were not done with her. They had their eyes on the plots of land the young man was leaving behind. They were also looking at the five trucks generating the income. Even the house he built at Oke Afa in Isolo Lagos was an item in their unhealthy avarice.
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Chioma Odilinye, the young widow from Asaba but married to the late Onyebuchi Odilinye from Ogidi in Idemili Local Govt Area is going through a terrible experience in the hands of her brothers and sisters inlaws.
Read a PART OF HER STORY AS CONTAINED IN A PETITION SHE HAD SENT TO THE POLICE……
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My name is Chioma Odilinye. I was married to Mr. Onyebuchi Odilinye. The marriage is blessed with a son. My husband fell sick sometime last year and it demanded that he would be flown to India for an operation. He left to India in company of his immediate elder brother, Mr. Hyacinth Odilinye. I spoke with my husband in India and he told me the operation was successful, that they will be back in a few days. I called again but nobody was picking my calls and after other trials, I discovered d number has been unavailable. I was forced to try my husband’s Nigeria number which went through and I spoke with his elder brother, Hyacinth, who told me that they are back from India and are now in a referral hospital in Abuja. I asked to speak to my husband but he wouldn’t allow me on the reason that he was too weak to talk. I demanded the address of the hospital in Abuja, but he wouldn’t give me. This went on for weeks. # During this period, my husband’s younger brothers (Emenike and Chukwujekwu) sent an urgent message that all our seven haulage trucks have been grounded by police and the only condition to release them was to provide the original documents of the trucks. I obliged them with d documents. Little did I know that my husband had died and they were using that as a ploy to collect all our properties.
Even our Highland SUV that was used to convey my husband to d airport has not been returned. # After the burial and funeral of my husband, Mr. Hyacinth Odilinye with sisters in the village at Ogidi in Anambra State, locked me, my mum and my son up in a room that the only condition to our release was upon handing over of the documents of the house I and my late husband suffered to build in Lagos. It took d intervention of some villagers for them to release us, but their sister Ebere followed us back to Lagos to collect the document. We got to Lagos and I made it clear to Ebere that the house belongs to I and my husband and I can’t give her the documents. This irked her and she threatened me that they will ensure that I suffer with my son. Few hours later, the elder brother Hyacinth called and also threatened to kill me if I don’t provide the documents. On several occasions lately, two people on a motor cycle would come at my gate, release one or two gun shots and speed off.
# I implore you to use your good office to recover my properties and also save my life which is in danger.

 

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Hmmmmm…Not sure who this message should be going out to. Do I address bad inlaws who think their only mission in life is to wait for their son/brother to die so they can raid his house and disposes his wife of her late husband’s property after debasing and abusing her, all in the name of culture? Or should my anguish and frustration be directed to the late husband who neglected to put systems in place to ensure this did not happen? What about the wife? Did she become a slave to tradition and culture? Was she abducted or hypnotized to the ground where her hair was shaved or did she forget her right, as a human being, to self-dignity. What do our country’s laws say on inheritance? Do they not supersede these archaic and barbaric cultures?  As this usually is a vicious circle, would this wife also do same if tables were turned? You can see in the pictures that the dehumanization and torture is being administered by fellow women. Sad.
Before you go thinking this is peculiar to a certain part of the country, I am here to tell you that I know of a case very similar to this one happening in Ogun state right now. The late husband’s mom and siblings have taken the wife hostage and are basically administering her late husband’s estate without her consent. I know of another recent case in Delta state. As they say, “Warri no dey carry last”. This babe checkmated the family members to the extent that they are now calling her to negotiate. Whosai! She don enter breeze with her pickins and all papers intact! Each time I hear about these cases, this Warri babe’s story is my usual example of what every woman needs to learn. She exemplified the Warri maxim which says “person wey dey cry still dey see road”. No dulling.
Back to Chioma’s case.
In closing, I leave this message for every husband
  1.   Present her as a queen to your family…mark her as untouchable!
  2. Educate and empower her to know her rights
  3.  Use the format “Mr. and Mrs. Ochuko and Abimbola Okoye” in all your title documents
  4.  Make her a joint signatory to your personal bank accounts
  5. Ensure she has income of her own from work or business
  6. Make her your next of kin in all sensitive dealings
  7. Ensure she has your phone PIN
  8. Let her know your movement and dealings always
  9.  Buy life insurance
  10. Write a will

 

 SAN

BMW M3 Generations

The BMW M3 generations from left to right – E30, E36, E46 and E92
The BMW M3 is a motoring icon that has endured for 29 years now. It is the performance upgrade version of BMW’s most successful 3 series brand. Originally produced as a racing car, it quickly caught on with car enthusiasts and the hunger for a street legal version had to be satisfied by the Munich based company.  The first edition E30 rolled off the production line in Regensburg, Germany sometime in 1985. It was in response to the Mercedes Benz 190E (W201) which was released in 1983. Since then the M3 has gone through evolution from the E30 to E36, E46, and the current E90/92 and 93 models. 

Traditionally the M3 has always had the coupe and convertible body styles, but from the E36 which started in 1992, a limited amount of 4 door M3s have been built. The cult followership of the M3 has made it a worldwide commercial success, spurning other M model variants in the 5 series, 6 series, X5 and X6. BMW announced that they had made the last M3 Coupe and convertible models in July of 2013 with the E92 and E93. An enduring legacy of the M3 will be their masterful naturally aspirated engines churning out tons of horsepower without a turbocharger. They have now been replaced by M4 Coupe in 2014. The M3 shall, however,  continue in its 4 door E90 variant.
 The closest I have come to owning an M3 has been a 1988 4 door 325 Coupe with M Technique kit (European edition). We bought this car in 2002 with about 80,000 KMs on it. Still one of the best handling cars I have ever driven.  It had everything the E30 M3 had without the 230hp engine. Personally, I will continue to chase my dream of owning a proper M3. My focus right now is the 2006 E46 M3 with 330 horses and the traditional in-line straight 6 engine. The 2007 and beyond E90/92/93 engines are a little too heavy and thirsty for me, what with their V8, 414 horses and 14 mpg city gas mileage! As before, if all else fails and the cost of M3 parts and maintenance scares me, there’s always the 2006 (E46) 330i (with ZHP performance package) to fall back on…it will be 2002 all over again.


Here’s a video link of the M3 generations for your enjoyment.

SAN

One Day You Will Lose Your Job!

Someone sent me the article with the caption on the blog post title, a few years ago. At that point I had worked a little over 10 years at the same company in different positions. I had also done private business and abandoned it, since it was becoming a distraction. This is now a few more years down the road and I am still working at the same company. The industry is unstable and my company released about 10 percent of her employees last year. An industry competitor,  known for mass employee purges, has plans to drop about five times what we did at my own end later this year. I now have a small business that deals in intangibles and the returns are few and far between and it is not fun yet. My dream is to start an FMCG line. I digress. This is really about realizing early enough and starting from somewhere…NOW! Please read the article below and the addendum in part two and share as broadly as possible. Someone somewhere needs the wake up call!
SAN
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One day you will lose your job! Either by choice or by force! One day you will have to go away from that place you have been going and coming from for however long it has taken you. In life, everything has a start and an end; there is a day to be born and a day to die, a day to begin and a day to end. Those who live the highest quality of life are those who live today with an eye on their end. The greatest liberation any human can ever experience is when his/her fears don’t hold him/her back. The same way that dying makes living exciting, the same way the thought of the day we’ll lose our jobs, should make you spend the time you currently have wisely! 

I have heard of GMs, SMs, Ds who lived in big houses, drove the flashiest cars end up as high-class beggars and mere social and political commentators. Why? Because while they were on their jobs, they thought erroneously that it would last forever. They did not know that the end was nearer than far. While they carried buckets, they considered the act of stooping to build pipes too low for them. Some of them left their jobs with huge bank balances, but the entrepreneurial way, which has no respect for years of experience, dealt them a knock out in the early rounds of their ventures. Some of them were thieves, what they got was stolen and it went the way of stolen funds. The words I write to you today will stand firm as judgment for your future, if you ever live less than what you were created to do! When your life can be summarized by a routine that does not have a date of escape, you are like the children of Israel who kept on cycling round a mountain instead of making progress. Stop hiding incompetence or inability to add value behind a company logo. Start exposing yourself and getting yourself set for when you will lose your job. Mark my words, the first showers of the great storms is all that we have seen, many who are comfortable today will beg tomorrow. Many who are not developing skills today will be slaves tomorrow, and many who have ill gotten money today will be needy tomorrow. The storm is coming, let who is wise join the company of Noah in the Ark of deliverance that is being built and let the fools scorn and laugh. He, who laughs last, laughs best. A few days ago, I dug into a few past articles I had written on this blog. The popular ones and the not so popular ones. 

1. Do not Steal! 
Whatever money you make by fraudulence, by taking what does not belong to you, by playing on your employer’s intelligence will not last, no matter what you use it to do. Some people refute this perspective and say they can use the stolen funds to buy assets, build houses, invest in shares or other companies, if you care to know the truth; every activity you participate in is seed for your tomorrow and a harvest of your past. Ill gotten wealth is like a caterpillar; it looks like all it can do is crawl until it develops into a butterfly and flies. Be honourable, better a broke employee living within his/her means than a successful, wealthy employee with questionable resources. Life has its way of bringing the harvest – with loss, death, calamities etc If you have stolen before or are currently stealing, don’t just repent, go and make it right. 

2. Get a life! 
If most of your friends are in your office, you are being sucked into the maze. Don’t get yourself stuck with the same people you work with for the best hours of your life. Go prospecting for friends that are different from you, go for some clearly better than you, don’t have friends by accident, don’t be chosen, choose. Experts say you should watch the people you hang out with most, your life will end plus or minus 10% of their life! Financially and otherwise, your life gravitates to a region slightly below or above the lives of your friends. It’s not how much you have in your account that always counts, it’s who you have access to that matters more. 

3. Have Options! 
Many people are slaves to their employment and their bosses, not because it’s so enjoyable but because they do not have options. They have a few other things they are doing but they are not sure of any of them. Their existence as corporate biggies makes majority only look for deals that are already big. Unknown to many, if you start big, when the storms of life hit you hard and take you down, you will need to beg to start big, but if you start small, you can always start all over again! Get options, be willing to start with nothing, be willing to start small. Don’t disqualify anything small today true, but if it all will stop when you lose your job, you are gambling with your future. Stop, think, and ask questions. Venture, dare, take risks. You will lose some and you will win some. If you are willing to lose long enough, you will win long enough. There are people not as bright as you, not as opportune as you doing more with their lives, look outside the window of your office, once in a while. 

4. Learn! 
Invest in knowledge. Empty your pocket to fill your head, and your head will fill your pocket. Learn like knowledge is running out of fashion. Read books, watch interesting history, attend seminars organized by people who have seen things different from you, learn from experience, others and yours, get a mentor. Do whatever you need to do within ethical boundaries, but by all means learn! Empty bags can’t stand tall, empty heads can’t be confident. Wisdom, which is the application of accumulated knowledge, makes a man’s face to shine. Your confidence level is an indication of the stuff that you have. If whatever you are doing doesn’t give you an opportunity to learn, run! Take your life off the flames! 

5. Give Exceptionally. 
I have found out in life, that those who have the propensity to give the most, get wealth the most. The universe is set up by God based on principles, and the principles cannot be broken. If you give, you will reap it somewhere in your future. If you don’t faint in doing good, you will be rewarded! Don’t wait until you are stinking rich before you begin to give scholarships, sponsor students, take care of orphans or contribute to worthy courses. Start now, before you lose your job! What you will regret in this life is not how much you should have gotten, but how much value you could have added, how much a difference you could have made, and what else you could have done! Don’t work like a moron – going and coming and going and coming without leaving a lasting impact on your world. Give yourself and give of yourself! 
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Pt 2.
Now, when you do lose your job, here are a few steps to coming back and making the best of it. The following is culled from Don F. Perkins article from the weblink below.

http://12most.com/2011/10/17/12-vital-points-remember-lose-job/

In October 2008, along with 240,000 other Americans that month, I was laid off – contributing to the highest U.S. unemployment rate in over 14 years at the time (6.6%); a rate that rose to 10.1% a year later – the worst in 26 years.
Yes, I was upset, worried, stunned; especially since two weeks earlier my employer assured me that though changes were happening, I had nothing to worry about. I learned a lot during that time, most of it the hard way. Perhaps these 12 tips can make life a little easier for those losing their jobs now…

1. Take a Breath

It may feel like the end of the world… but it’s not. Don’t panic. Read Stephen R. Covey’s book: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It will help you sort out and balance the stuff you’re experiencing and feeling and form a plan to move beyond the current moment. Don’t get caught up in the here and now. Make time to think a year out, two years out. You are worth more than many sparrows. Potential employers can smell panic a mile away.

2. Don’t Look for a Job

Don’t look for a job; in the traditional sense. Instead, look for problems and learn how to solve them. Look inward and discover who you are. Start a blog, join networking groups, ask questions, answer questions that showcase what you know and what you are about. Find out what’s needed most and make a plan to be the most marketable solution to that problem. Potential employers are not looking for “job seekers” – they are looking for problem solvers.

3. Make the Spiders Go Away

Get on a budget, reduce your debt – and reduce your stress! My wife and I read some great books by Dave Ramsey that helped tremendously with this. Within months the only debt we had was our mortgage payment. This was a quick victory, a big relief and allowed us freedom to focus on the things that matter most rather than worrying about how we were going to keep all those debtors off our porch.

4. Move Away from the Desktop

Don’t become a slave to your inbox, or your Twitter stream, or any other medium. Set a regular time to check out what others have sent you, but then leave it to go pour your energy and time into reading, learning, engaging others… building your future instead. Chris Brogan made a great point about this the other day: email mostly delivers somebody else’s priorities to us. It’s up to us to manage that flow and not be slaves to other people’s priorities. As I said in a previous blog post: “24 hours is all you get today, are you ready?” Be intentional about your time – don’t get sucked into inbox monitoring.

5. Giving is the Way to Peace

Volunteer at your local charity. Realize you’re not going to starve if you help out for an hour without pay. Somebody out there needs what you have to offer and more importantly you need to give it. We were made for each other, not for self; we need to be part of something bigger than ourselves. Get involved somehow in making the world a better place and you will find harmony and peace like never before. This will help you in your job search. People can see peace all over your face!

6. Be a Part of the Community

Network, network, network – talk to everyone you can. Make it about them, engage, be genuine, be helpful. Interact. Laugh. Add value. Repeat. Tell them about your day, your situation, but don’t dwell there. Find a way to exchange in the give and take of humanity.

7. Get Off the Wheel

Give yourself a break. Don’t assume that you have to do what everybody else does for work. Sit quietly for a minute and think about what you WANT to do (not just what you feel like you HAVE to do), what are you made of? What do you like about you? Build on that. Make it accessible to others. They – and you – will be glad you did!

8. Know Something, but Not Everything

Nobody has all the answers. Don’t pretend you do or others will think you’re full of @%#$! If someone asks you something you don’t know, admit it and turn the conversation back toward them. Ask questions that show you are capable of learning and getting answers to the questions you don’t have. Always be learning and eager to learn.

9. Explore Starting Your Own Business

So you know nothing about starting a business? Then learn! There are a ton of free resources available to entrepreneurs. Who knows, you might just be the next successful entrepreneur. Stranger things have happened. Bonus: learning to think and talk like a business owner can make conversations with business owners much more engaging (potential employers like people who understand their worlds and talk their language).

10. Be Active and Proactive

There are two kinds of people in the world: those who do things and those who have things done to them. Don’t wait for others to find you. Go out and find them. Scour the earth to find the people who are extraordinary; people who are making things happen. Learn how they think. Align yourself with them. Become a person who makes things happen, not a person who waits around for things to happen. Initiative is very sexy to a potential employer.

11. Get Good at Improvisation

Very few things in life go according to script. In her book: “Bossy Pants,” Tina Fey says the rules of improv are: Rule 1: Always agree and say “YES.” In other words, respect what others have to say. Rule 2: say “YES, AND…” Build on what others say with something of your own. Rule 3: Make Statements. Don’t ask questions all the time because it puts pressure on the other person. Rule 4: There are no mistakes, only opportunities. This brings me to my next point… roll with it.

12. Roll with It

Be king (or queen) of lemonade island. Nobody (and I mean nobody) likes a sour puss and nobody wants to hear negativity. If you are feeling disenfranchised, go drink it off, or cry on your friend’s shoulder a while. Punch a wall. Then round that corner and make it a positive force for your future. Think about every bad situation as a learning opportunity – and spin it that way to yourself and others. Positive people attract good.
You’re not the loser nobody wanted… you’re the comeback kid! You’ve got amazing things to offer. Take charge of your attitude, your time and your efforts… or somebody else will.


SAN


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