Friday, 5 May 2017

“MEN HAVE FORGOTTEN GOD” – The Templeon Address Speech by Alexander Solzhenitsyn; Delivered in 1983

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was awarded the Templeton Prize on May 10, 1983 when he was 64 years old. “The Templeton Prize honors a living person who has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works.”   It was on the occasion of this award, that Solzhenitsyn gave the speech "Men have forgotten God". Here’s the amazing speech below.

More than half a century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: Men have forgotten God ; that's why all this has happened.

Since then I have spent well-nigh fifty years working on the history of our Revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous Revolution that swallowed up some sixty million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: Men have forgotten God  ; that's why all this has happened.

What is more, the events of the Russian Revolution can only be understood now, at the end of the century, against the background of what has since occurred in the rest of the world. What emerges here is a process of universal significance. And if I were called upon to identify briefly the principal trait of the entire twentieth century, here too, I would be unable to find anything more precise and pithy than to repeat once again: Men have forgotten God.

    The failings of human consciousness, deprived of its divine dimension, have been a determining factor in all the major crimes of this century. The first of these was World War I, and much of our present predicament can be traced back to it. It was a war (the memory of which seems to be fading) when Europe, bursting with health and abundance, fell into a rage of self-mutilation which could not but sap its strength for a century or more, and perhaps forever. The only possible explanation for this war is a mental eclipse among the leaders of Europe due to their lost awareness of a Supreme Power above them. Only a godless embitterment could have moved ostensibly Christian states to employ poison gas, a weapon so obviously beyond the limits of humanity.

     The same kind of defect, the flaw of a consciousness lacking all divine dimension, was manifested after World War II when the West yielded to the satanic temptation of the "nuclear umbrella." It was equivalent to saying: Let's cast off worries, let's free the younger generation from their duties and obligations, let's make no effort to defend ourselves, to say nothing of defending others-let's stop our ears to the groans emanating from the East, and let us live instead in the pursuit of happiness. If danger should threaten us, we shall be protected by the nuclear bomb; if not, then let the world burn in Hell for all we care. The pitifully helpless state to which the contemporary West has sunk is in large measure due to this fatal error: the belief that the defense of peace depends not on stout hearts and steadfast men, but solely on the nuclear bomb...

    Today' s world has reached a stage which, if it had been described to preceding centuries, would have called forth the cry: "This is the Apocalypse!"

    Yet we have grown used to this kind of world; we even feel at home in it.

     Dostoevsky warned that "great events could come upon us and catch us intellectually unprepared." This is precisely what has happened. And he predicted that "the world will be saved only after it has been possessed by the demon of evil." Whether it really will be saved we shall have to wait and see: this will depend on our conscience, on our spiritual lucidity, on our individual and combined efforts in the face of catastrophic circumstances. But it has already come to pass that the demon of evil, like a whirlwind, triumphantly circles all five continents of the earth...

In its past, Russia did know a time when the social ideal was not fame, or riches, or material success, but a pious way of life. Russia was then steeped in an Orthodox Christianity which remained true to the Church of the first centuries. The Orthodoxy of that time knew how tosafeguard its people under the yoke of a foreign occupation that lasted more than two centuries, while at the same time fending off iniquitous blows from the swords of Western crusaders. During those centuries the Orthodox faith in our country became part of the very pattern of thought and the personality of our people, the forms of daily life, the work calendar, the priorities in every undertaking, the organization of the week and of the year. Faith was the shaping and unifying force of the nation.

     But in the 17th century Russian Orthodoxy was gravely weakened by an internal schism. In the 18th, the country was shaken by Peter's forcibly imposed transformations, which favored the economy, the state, and the military at the expense of the religious spirit and national life. And along with this lopsided Petrine enlightenment, Russia felt the first whiff of secularism; its subtle poisons permeated the educated classes in the course of the 19th century and opened the path to Marxism. By the time of the Revolution, faith had virtually disappeared in Russian educated circles; and amongst the uneducated, its health was threatened.

     It was Dostoevsky, once again, who drew from the French Revolution and its seeming hatred of the Church the lesson that "revolution must necessarily begin with atheism." That is absolutely true. But the world had never before known a godlessness as organized, militarized, and tenaciously malevolent as that practiced by Marxism. Within the philosophical system of Marx and Lenin, and at the heart of their psychology, hatred of God is the principal driving force, more fundamental than all their political and economic pretensions. Militant atheism is not merely incidental or marginal to Communist policy; it is not a side effect, but the central pivot.

The 1920’s in the USSR witnessed an uninterrupted procession of victims and martyrs amongst the Orthodox clergy. Two metropolitans were shot, one of whom, Veniamin of Petrograd, had been elected by the popular vote of his diocese. Patriarch Tikhon himself passed through the hands of the Cheka-GPU and then died under suspicious circumstances. Scores of archbishops and bishops perished. Tens of thousands of priests, monks, and nuns, pressured by the Chekists to renounce the Word of God, were tortured, shot in cellars, sent to camps, exiled to the desolate tundra of the far North, or turned out into the streets in their old age without food or shelter. All these Christian martyrs went unswervingly to their deaths for the faith; instances of apostasy were few and far between. For tens of millions of laymen access to the Church was blocked, and they were forbidden to bring up their children in the Faith: religious parents were wrenched from their children and thrown into prison, while the children were turned from the faith by threats and lies...

     For a short period of time, when he needed to gather strength for the struggle against Hitler, Stalin cynically adopted a friendly posture toward the Church. This deceptive game, continued in later years by Brezhnev with the help of showcase publications and other window dressing, has unfortunately tended to be taken at its face value in the West. Yet the tenacity with which hatred of religion is rooted in Communism may be judged by the example of their most liberal leader, Krushchev: for though he undertook a number of significant steps to extend freedom, Krushchev simultaneously rekindled the frenzied Leninist obsession with destroying religion.

     But there is something they did not expect: that in a land where churches have been leveled, where a triumphant atheism has rampaged uncontrolled for two-thirds of a century, where the clergy is utterly humiliated and deprived of all independence, where what remains of the Church as an institution is tolerated only for the sake of propaganda directed at the West, where even today people are sent to the labor camps for their faith, and where, within the camps themselves, those who gather to pray at Easter are clapped in punishment cells--they could not suppose that beneath this Communist steamroller the Christian tradition would survive in Russia. It is true that millions of our countrymen have been corrupted and spiritually devastated by an officially imposed atheism, yet there remain many millions of believers: it is only external pressures that keep them from speaking out, but, as is always the ca se in times of persecution and suffering, the awareness of God in my country has attained great acuteness and profundity.

 It is here that we see the dawn of hope: for no matter how formidably Communism bristles with tanks and rockets, no matter what successes it attains in seizing the planet, it is doomed never to vanquish Christianity.

     The West has yet to experience a Communist invasion; religion here remains free. But the West's own historical evolution has been such that today it too is experiencing a drying up of religious consciousness. It too has witnessed racking schisms, bloody religious wars, and rancor, to say nothing of the tide of secularism that, from the late Middle Ages onward, has progressively inundated the West. This gradual sapping of strength from within is a threat to faith that is perhaps even more dangerous than any attempt to assault religion violently from without.

     Imperceptibly, through decades of gradual erosion, the meaning of life in the West has ceased to be seen as anything more lofty than the "pursuit of happiness, "a goal that has even been solemnly guaranteed by constitutions. The concepts of good and evil have been ridiculed for several centuries; banished from common use, they have been replaced by political or class considerations of short lived value. It has become embarrassing to state that evil makes its home in the individual human heart before it enters a political system. Yet it is not considered shameful to make dally concessions to an integral evil. Judging by the continuing landslide of concessions made before the eyes of our very own generation, the West is ineluctably slipping toward the abyss. Western societies are losing more and more of their religious essence as they thoughtlessly yield up their younger generation to atheism. If a blasphemous film about Jesus is shown throughout the United States, reputedly one of the most religious countries in the world, or a major newspaper publishes a shameless caricature of the Virgin Mary, what further evidence of godlessness does one need? When external rights are completely unrestricted, why should one make an inner effort to restrain oneself from ignoble acts?

     Or why should one refrain from burning hatred, whatever its basis--race, class, or ideology? Such hatred is in fact corroding many hearts today. Atheist teachers in the West are bringing up a younger generation in a spirit of hatred of their own society. Amid all the vituperation we forget that the defects of capitalism represent the basic flaws of human nature, allowed unlimited freedom together with the various human rights; we forget that under Communism (and Communism is breathing down the neck of all moderate forms of socialism, which are unstable) the identical flaws run riot in any person with the least degree of authority; while everyone else under that system does indeed attain "equality"--the equality of destitute slaves. This eager fanning of the flames of hatred is becoming the mark of today's free world. Indeed, the broader the personal freedoms are, the higher the level of prosperity or even of abundance--the more vehement, paradoxically, does this blind hatred become. The contemporary developed West thus demonstrates by its own example that human salvation can be found neither in the profusion of material goods nor in merely making money.

     This deliberately nurtured hatred then spreads to all that is alive, to life itself, to the world with its colors, sounds, and shapes, to the human body. The embittered art of the twentieth century is perishing as a result of this ugly hate, for art is fruitless without love. In the East art has collapsed because it has been knocked down and trampled upon, but in the West the fall has been voluntary, a decline into a contrived and pretentious quest where the artist, instead of attempting to reveal the divine plan, tries to put himsef in the place of God.

     Here again we witness the single outcome of a worldwide process, with East and West yielding the same results, and once again for the same reason: Men have forgotten God.

      With such global events looming over us like mountains, nay, like entire mountain ranges, it may seem incongruous and inappropriate to recall that the primary key to our being or non-being resides in each individual human heart, in the heart’s preference for specific good or evil. Yet this remains true even today, and it is, in fact, the most reliable key we have. The social theories that promised so much have demonstrated their bankruptcy, leaving us at a dead end. The free people of the West could reasonably have been expected to realize that they are beset · by numerous freely nurtured falsehoods, and not to allow lies to be foisted upon them so easily. All attempts to find a way out of the plight of today's world are fruitless unless we redirect our consciousness, in repentance, to the Creator of all: without this, no exit will be illumined, and we shall seek it in vain. The resources we have set aside for ourselves are too impoverished for the task. We must first recognize the horror perpetrated not by some outside force, not by class or national enemies, but within each of us individually, and within every society. This is especially true of a free and highly developed society, for here in particular we have surely brought everything upon ourselves, of our own free will. We ourselves, in our daily unthinking selfishness, are pulling tight that noose...

     Our life consists not in the pursuit of material success but in the quest for worthy spiritual growth. Our entire earthly existence is but a transitional stage in the movement toward something higher, and we must not stumble and fall, nor must we linger fruitlessly on one rung of the ladder. Material laws alone do not explain our life or give it direction. The laws of physics and physiology will never reveal the indisputable manner in which the Creator constantly, day in and day out, participates in the life of each of us, unfailingly granting us the energy of existence; when this assistance leaves us, we die. And in the life of our entire planet, the Divine Spirit surely moves with no less force: this we must grasp in our dark and terrible hour.

    To the ill-considered hopes of the last two centuries, which have reduced us to insignificance and brought us to the brink of nuclear and non-nuclear death, we can propose only a determined quest for the warm hand of God, which we have so rashly and self-confidently spurned. Only in this way can our eyes be opened to the errors of this unfortunate twentieth century and our bands be directed to setting them right. There is nothing else to cling to in the landslide: the combined vision of all the thinkers of the Enlightenment amounts to nothing.

    Our five continents are caught in a whirlwind. But it is during trials such as these that the highest gifts of the human spirit are manifested. If we perish and lose this world, the fault will be ours alone.

(World copyright ©1983 by Aleksander Solzhenitsyn; translator: A. Klimoff; reprinted by kind permission of the author.)

Thursday, 21 August 2014


Adieu our great Doctor, a great woman, a true human, a true Nigerian.  When the headline filtered in yesterday, my heart sank; grief enveloped me.  I do not know her, never met her even remotely. But I did not need to; her deed and heroics speaks loud and this was all I needed to truly admire her and the noble profession she represents.  In her death, the words in the Holy Book “There is no greater love than that a man should lay down his life for his friends” comes alive and sink really home in me.  She did not have to die; she should not have.  It was all too easy to have simply buckled under pressure and allowed the Liberian-American to go away, carrying death to the greater populace in the land; hundreds or may be thousands in the long run.  But she would not, she stood her ground and saved many of us and stopped many more tears from flowing through the land.

In many other different settings and sectors in the land, it would have been a different story; we would have been battling a real national disaster.  Patrick Sawyer, with some little offers of porridge; would have easily waltzed his way across the border, through checkpoints; through relevant clearing points.  He would have easily subverted necessary paperwork, by-passed laid down protocol; blatantly short-changed the system; just name, it and gotten away.  But not so with this great woman and daughter of the land – a land that in many instances have failed her own; unable to give away even a finger for her own.  Her laws and precepts are mighty when her lowly ones are involved; but powerless and lame where her high and mighty is involved.

Adieu great Doctor, you died the death of many.  Only a momentary loss of the Physician’s instincts; a lowering of your conviction and the ethics of your profession, and we all would have been in a national pandemonium today.  You thought of us all – your children, family and the good people of Nigeria.  You thought of our present struggles as a nation, where we are still unable to resolve a lot of the fundamental things that make us good humans and country people.  You knew that a disaster, such as the Ebola Virus Diseases is capable of unleashing, would be too much for us to handle.  You fought to shield us, unfazed by the harassments from top quarters to let “that VIP” go; that harbinger of death; that weapon of mass destruction who was well aware of the lethal armoury he was carrying.

I do not know how much we did for you during your suffering and labour of death.  I do not know how disappointed you were with all of us; from the leadership to each and every one of us.  We read that you were given the best care possible; that our leaders were not sparing anything to support you in coming around and back to us.  We believed, prayed and hoped.  How true this was, we shall find out, may be on judgement day.  But I am sure you forgave us as you expired.  I have no doubt that a woman of your stature and heroics would have no difficulty in forgiving us all.

It is really painful that you had to go home this early.  When the news broke of your other great colleagues, who made it back from ‘death’, we rejoiced, prayed and hoped the more.  We trusted that you will come through; but alas it was not to be.

In this period of our national life, meeting any member of my generation who exudes virtue, consistent with what is required for nation building, lights me up with great hope for mother land.  There is great paucity of such men and women in my time; and may be for much longer.  I hope not so anyway.  It does not take much to be true Nigerian, a nation builder.  It only requires that each one of us discharges his or her small responsibilities diligently and in strict accordance with the laws and precepts of the land on the one hand; and the ethics of our specialisations on the other.  It is not in rhetoric, it is in walking the talk.  It is in putting our nation, her people today and the generations of tomorrow in consideration at all times.

Dr Ameyo Stella Adadevoh and her heroics lighted me up.  She was that typical member of my generation.  But she exited almost immediately, painfully. Adieu great daughter of beloved motherland.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014


By Dr Akanimo Odon

A system used for brevity or secrecy of communication, in which arbitrarily chosen words, letter or symbols are assigned definite meaning – that’s how the dictionary describes the word code. This speaks more or less of some complex item or situation requiring ingenuity to decipher. You now must wonder why all this talk about codes. Irrelevant as it might first sound, it is actually the way one feels when you think of the Nigerian educational system. It is like a huge collection of stakeholders made up of proprietors and beneficiaries, assessors and regulators, all pulled together and apart in random and unclear directions. Have they found an answer you ask? Persistent academic strike actions, constant bickering from different circles, educational migration of Nigerians to even French speaking African countries and the perpetual advert placements of ‘asylum’ opportunities in national dailies by foreign institutions probably gives a hint that the answer has not yet been found. There is actually no single all-solving answer like some ‘almighty formulae from worlds unknown’ and I do not attempt to even hint that I have all the answers. It is quite a complex code as it now stands. However, what I do know is that through a set of processes, rigorous strategies and efficient stakeholder engagements, this code can be broken.

To attempt to start this conversation, there is need to beg for pardon for seeming naivety from someone who lives in the Diaspora though works predominantly in Nigeria, or in some cases the lack of accurate data, which on its own is another challenge strand to an already complex subject matter. However, this is articulated to start a conversation with the powers that be and the players that think they are, in an attempt to salvage a now struggling educational sector. First, a premise or context will suffice.

Not very long ago, Nigerian Universities, especially the federal more established ones, were closed down for over five months. When I spoke with international development experts, the undertone was that of unbelief and abomination. Not even poorer, less developed nations will let that happen. Education is the corner stone of a nations growth and higher education the chief corner stone of its development. All in all, the issue was centered on funds. I am not an advocate for the government or the universities as they probably both have impressive arguments why a compromise couldn’t be reached. I am an advocate of efficient structures, standards, processes, strategies and plans so that there is little or no need for compromises to be reached in the first place. It would seem therefore that funds, whether its availability or appropriation, is a crucial challenge in this entire set up. It always has been.

Every year, Nigerians studying overseas spend over 500 Million US Dollars and the number of Nigerians even going to study in other African countries has increased substantially in the last couple of years. That Nigerians now go to study in even French speaking African countries and in some cases non-English speaking institutions have developed English-based programmes just for Nigerians. There is insufficiency of Nigerian based institutions to cater for it’s higher education demands. Some information sources reckon that over 1.8 million people apply to enter into first-degree programmes but the Nigerian universities carrying capacity is less than 700,000 yearly. So we have a first problem of catering for demand. In an attempt to help the supply-demand situation, there has been an opening up of the Nigerian education market and an allowance of new private Universities’ set up. This has been a great positive step by the authorities to address the gap. Numbers of private universities soared from just 7 in 2003 to 40 in 2010. Don’t even ask me how many private universities there are now in country. You only need to drive past an old patch of land on the express way bordered by high fancy walls, an intimidating welcome main gate and delineated a posh University name to be introduced to a new one. So in an attempt to solve the demand problem, might we have created an even bigger problem increasing the complexity of the code? So now medical doctors, business executives, traditional rulers, politicians and even religious leaders can now own and start a private university which is okay except when it is becoming a bug that can be caught, an aftermath of a chain reaction, a trendy possession added to the lot or even an asset with a non-academic agenda. Do proprietors have the required acumen to run these private institutions? So then the next problem is that of management expertise.

The higher education regulatory authorities probably have robust criteria in place for establishing these private institutions. At least at the moment, not just any tom, dick or harry can set up a private university in Nigeria or could they? I wonder. Assuming setup procedures and establishment requirements are all intact and to international standards, which I know they are not, to what extent is the monitoring and evaluation intact? Within these set up requirements by the Nigerian University Commission, is there a minimum investment required or aspired before a private university can be set up? More so, is there a minimum investment expected to set up a new course? This is crucial because one cannot spend one million dollars and ten million dollars setting up a new course and get the same quality results on both spends. Is there a request to submit a comprehensive business plan with a five-year work plan? Is there a request for an academic, social and economic impact analysis? Is there a request for submitting an internationalization strategy especially in a now globalized world? Oh wait a minute, why should we be asking these new private universities all of these? Do the older more established universities have them in the first place? Anyone can access a top global foreign University’s strategic plan and internationalization strategy. It is a public document informed by stakeholder engagement and impinged by short, medium and long term planning. Little wonder it drives their visions, strategic partnerships, content development, management oversight etc. No wonder they are a top university. So it would seem another problem could be tagged regulatory and governance framework. Let’s throw that into the code pot.

A simple test to assess if the above were fundamental in the set up process is a visit to a private university. When you do go, find out how many senior lecturers are on part-time status because they are also full time lecturing staff of older federal and state universities. The numbers would surprise you. Isn’t that simply incredible? Is the Nigerian education sector fast becoming a recycling bowl of stagnant archaic processes and unchanging systems in a changing world? What we do find is a transfer and somewhat adaptation of old lecture notes from the older universities into the private universities. The difference is that the pay is more in the later. Well so I hear. So I visited an old federal university and assessed lecture notes of an old Zoology course and then I compared it with lecture notes of a new Zoology course in a private university department not so far away, and it was the same. Well, that is not a crime, neither is it an academic issue except that the zoology graduates end up working in the bank. I should know this first hand because I did study Zoology and I did work in a bank. Should any university still be offering Zoology as a course? May be under the right circumstances of re-mapping the course to fit national gap areas. It opens up a new dimension that seems to suggest that this is more a developmental issue and the lack of innovation on all players’ government and proprietors alike. I dare to emphasize.

There is a huge gap in key national industry areas like maritime and shipping, oil and gas (in the South) and minerals management (in the North), aviation and aeronautics, film and creative media, environmental and biotechnology, hospitality management, forensic technology and even international business schools and the list goes on. How can a country be the third highest producer of movies in the world after China and India and yet not have a state-of-the-art, international standard film school in place. I didn’t say a department of theatre arts. I actually said a film school. How can a country be bedeviled by so much security crises and for this long and yet no single university I know (pardon my naivety), offers a course in security management and strategy. How can a country that has explored its natural resources for over forty years have so many universities offering first degree programmes in oil and gas and petroleum engineering and yet a large percentage of graduates in this field absorbed into the oil and gas industry, either did their post-graduate programmes in foreign institutions or went through specialized programmes owned and administered by oil and gas operators. My personal favourite is that Nigeria has the largest telecommunications industry in Sub-Saharan Africa and yet no single or very few universities offers a masters degree programme in telecommunications. Note this challenge right here is the one I like to call disconnect from national priorities. However, it is an opportunity for investors, international institutions and educational organisations interested in the Nigerian Higher education market to pitch their tent. How you might ask?

Dr. Akanimo Odon is an International Strategy and Business Development Executive (UK/AFRICA/EMERGING MARKETS).  He can be contacted on

Wednesday, 18 December 2013


My country, Nigeria, continue to bleed with no abatement in site.  She has been bleeding from birth, seems she was bleeding from the womb.  She has managed to bear children, plenty of them - male and female – surprisingly unhindered by her perennial bleeding challenge.  She started child bearing very early, probably under-aged and had hoped to find succour in this. But alas, the sons and daughters she brought forth has turned around to afflict her the more, worsening her problems; so much so that she seem to be just hoping and wishing to die – go back to where she came from.

At birth, she hoped to overcome her health challenge. This hope was strengthened by the enormous blessings of this creation that her maker endowed her with.  The endowments were so much that lost in them, she would not remember her ailment – possibly get a permanent cure without knowing when and how.  She went about procreating in great confidence, because she could see more than enough to carter for her offspring. Her offspring would in turn have enough to live on and carter for theirs too and so it would continue. What an existence of bliss she saw ahead of her.

Today, she is bowed in total dejection, beaten and crushed, ready and wishing to die. She is far from the blissful life that lay on the horizon for her at birth – it is so near, yet so far away. Though she was endowed with much at birth, her creator required her to go to work in order to turn her endowments from the raw state into such that she can truly enjoy. The work required was (and still is) much and this informed her haste to procreate; she hoped to bring forth offspring that will key in and help her in turning her raw endowments into precious stuff.

Alas, what did she bring forth?  Children, with heads, ears, minds and hearts that are so complicated to describe.  They keep learning but never learn; keep listening but never hear; keep thinking but never able to crystallise their thoughts; keep looking into the horizon but only able to see just to the end of their noses.  They keep running toward beauty, but suddenly stop just at the point of grabbing such.  They begin to refine their endowments, but easily get distracted by frivolities and then go away, only to return a long time later to meet these endowments in worst raw conditions.  Sometimes they manage to make great progress, but suddenly develops myopia of the head, mind and heart and then decide to dismantle their progress on the altars of debauchery, revelling and what have you.  They stay on this round trip until they exit the scene, leaving their offspring to continue in the same path.

What a situation for beloved fatherland Nigeria.  When shall thou salvation come? When shall thou get into and begin to frolic in the bliss that was bestowed on you at birth.  When you were born, men and women who saw your endowments were full of envy and wished…  Today, they have not stopped wishing.

In many instances, she brought fort offspring that chose to tow a different path, keying in fully to her vision. But sadly, these end up crowded out by the greater number with chronic myopia.  Oh! What a condition.  Suddenly, the strand of myopia afflicting her offspring have become more tormenting, creating some unique kind of madness and abject thoughtlessness.  They now devour themselves with reckless abandon – they started discreetly, but not anymore. Today, it is no more about getting to work in order to refine their enormous endowments, it is about surviving the others onslaught.  In this situation, the endowments remain unworked.  What a sad situation.  Beloved fatherland, when shall thou salvation come.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013


The lines have fallen unto me in pleasant places, the goodliness of my heritage shone so bright today.  I have all the reasons to say to Him: you are the God of my Life, my anchor, my hope, the lifter of my head, the one who showers me with mercy, love and kindness, the one who answers my prayers.
My second son, Onyedikachi - the second of my Generals - turned 8 today. I remember that beautiful Sunday morning on the 20th day of November, 2005 when he came. He seemed in such a hurry to come conquer or how do you explain it.  My wife - the ''Acharaugo'' went into labour about 3am, contraction started gradually, but steadily.  I called up the Gynaecologist and he asked us to hit the clinic at the first break of daylight.  I prepared her, cleaned her up and was ready.  Shortly before 7am, I got her into the car, drove into the clinic at about 7am or a little past.  Barely 15 minutes later, Onyedikachi came forth, beautiful, sweet as I carried him in my arms - my second grand victory, his elder brother had come some 2 years before.  I had yet another grand victory, as my third General, Ifechukwu - my professor - was to come a little over 3 years after.
While I was still celebrating my son, the glorious bombshell of blessing came in from Norway - that great and enviable country in Europe. My younger brother, the one that sucked my mothers breast after me, the one whom limiting situations in Nigeria forced to run away in the hope of finding a good future and actualising his dreams, has just been graciously granted full rights to live freely, work and find fulfilment in that great country.
I am a strong believer in the equality of all men and women created by the Living God.  I strongly believe in the liberty of all to choose to call anywhere in the world home and to be freely allowed to do so if he/she has shown enough will, love and committment to the values and aspirations of such society.  True, I love my country of birth today.  Truer still, I love a few other countries very much.  In these, leadership has not failed the people, true nationalists, statesmen and lovers of the common good still abound - has always abounded. In these, every citizen, from the day of conception, matters and is loved to the best of the states abilities.  In these, citizens are ever prepared to die for fatherland or motherland, whichever you choose.

I am proud that the generation of my bloodline is extending beyound the boundaries of our origin.  I salute again, with great love and worship, the creator himself, the essence of life and the one who knows the end from the beginning.  I salute countries and governments of countries (past and present) of the world, who still give hope to peoples from such countries as mine today. They make us still believe that there can be a true nation state, serving her people in all facets and delivering enduring dividends of a true nation state - freedom, justice, equity, equal opportunities, love and care, etc.

I salute my beloved son, Onyedikach at 8.  I salute my beloved brother, Uchenna on his new status in an enviable country.  I enjoin him to serve and love the country in the best way possible and then soar to whatever heights he wishes.  See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil and do no evil.  Fly the banner of our bloodline for we are noble.  Make mama proud, she is a woman of great honour, a mother hard to find.

To the GOD OF MY LIFE, than you so much faithful and loving father.

Friday, 4 October 2013










(Culled from the movie “Courageous” by Alex Kendrick, 2011)