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Thursday, 26 January 2012

71lbs (32kg) lighter - My Weight Loss Journey continued.

Okay - for anyone who read my last postcard on weight-loss titled 70lbs lighter, they’ll know I said I was actually only 65lbs lighter. However after losing 6lbs since then, I am 71lbs lighter and now weigh 138lbs.

Writing about my weight has been one of the hardest things I have done. In many ways, it has been akin to stripping myself naked in public – something I am definitely not comfortable with. At my very heaviest of 209lbs just over 2 years ago, I would rather have been flayed alive than talked about what I weighted. I was embarrassed, ashamed, overwhelmed and if you valued your life and existence, you would not have been taking photographs of me! LOL. I remember when I first felt a leading to write about my weight-loss journey a year ago, I wrote my first blog weight-loss postcard but was so uncomfortable,  I didn't post it for THREE days . Although I had begun losing the weight, talking about everything and how bad it had been was way too personal. It was a peek into my very soul. It was revisiting the scene of what felt like personal failure and pain. It hurt. A lot. But once it was done, it was very freeing. The tight grasp of shame and failure was lifted and it was like – ok – so what? So, what if it had been bad? GOD’s helping me and I am free!!!

It has been a while since I wrote a weight-loss postcard so here goes: the last few months since October have NOT gone according to plan – poor health meant I had to give up my 30 day running challenge mid-way and I haven’t been able to exercise since then. A catalogue of really bad migraines, constantly re-occurring flu & other health issues have meant than almost any exertion has been severely punished with another health episode. Extremely frustrating does not describe it adequately but hey, it’s taught me how to like really value good health, something I have taken for granted over the years, so that’s not such a bad thing, eh?

Although there’s been no exercise, sticking to the healthy eating plan is paying off. My weight did initially jump up when all exercise was stopped but it’s stabilised now and is going in the right direction – DOWN! LOL. After gaining 14lbs initially, I have lost all that and an additional 6lbs so I am finally now in the 130’s. Oh my goodness – you don’t know how good it feels to say that – yes, it might only be 138lbs but take it from someone looking at 209lbs a couple of years ago, 138lbs is sheer bliss. I also like the 130’s because from being 110lbs before having my son, after that, I have never been below 144lbs. Suddenly healthy weight range is within touching distance. A further loss of 2lbs and I’ll have hit the upper end of my healthy weight range. I weigh 9 stone 12lbs, below 10 stone for the first time in over 22years. Ok – I am stopping for a moment to dance around the room in sheer joy!

It’s not the end of the journey, far far from it. I still want to get down to 120lbs if I can. I would like to lose 2 - 3inches around my waist, currently 28.5inches. I want to tone up a lot more but finally, the end of one part of the journey is within grasp - getting to a healthy ideal BMI has been one of my goals and I am touching it. There’ll also be the life-long journey of maintaining it.

The last 3 months have been the hardest ever. I have CRAVED Rice and Iyan/Egusi and Yam Pottage and fried Yam and Puff-puff and Jamo bread – all my previously documented weaknesses. I have had a few bad days where I have given in and had a Chinese take-away. However, very luckily for me, I have had someone there to talk me out of it almost every time my resolve hits the ground. Don’t misunderstand, this is not about deprivation and it’s not like I intend to phase all those things out of my life completely (GOD forbid), but I want to re-introduce them back gradually and gently, with much smaller portions and cooked healthier. Not having a kitchen the last 3 months has meant the only way to eat those things would be by getting Nigerian take-aways – definitely not cooked healthily, large portions, and swimming in palm-oil and other things not good for my waistline. So here’s a shout-out to my diet-buddy – you have stopped me getting fat over the last 3 months! J

Clothes fit better. I am happier with myself. But do I still struggle? Yes. Do I still want to comfort eat? Yes. A few days ago, the LORD had to stop me from rushing down to Starbucks to down enough calories to set me back days because I was upset. Do I still walk into clothes shops and see myself as fat? Yes. I’ll pick up the same outfit in 2 or different 3 sizes to try on because I still mentally see myself as larger. Do I like how I look? Sometimes I do but many times I don't. I still beat myself up over the areas I need to work on – arms/thighs/stomach but I am becoming a lot more accepting of me. I will never be skinny and don’t want to be – but I can be healthy and the best me I can be and that’s what I want to be.

Today I am 138lbs (62.7kg), UK size 10/12 with a 28 – 28.5inch waist. My weight-loss goal remains 120lbs (55kg), UK size 10 and a 26/27inch waist.

My current BMI is 25.3 (overweight) but it was 38.3 (Obese) at the start. My body fat percentage is now 23%.  It started out as 41.3% (Obese).  21 – 24%  is the body fat fitness range. The ideal BMI range is 18 – 24.9. So my body fat is fine and I am just within touching distance of a healthy BMI.

While the lack of exercise means I obviously do NOT feel very fit at the moment, it feels good that I am not 'carrying' all the weight I used to lug around with me.

I am not yet just where I want to be but I am a whole lot closer. Thank you LORD.


Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Occupy Nigeria - Is the Movement over and crushed?

So is the roller-coaster over? Does anyone really believe the country will go back to business as usual? Can you push the Genie back into the bottle? When people learn to fight for their rights and peacefully take on civil authority, they are never truly docile again.

So what has appeared to derail Occupy Nigeria movement?- Nigerian's own version of the Arab Spring? Above all, Monday's end of the protests was due to a seemingly corrupt Labour leadership. The leadership of the Unions let the people down and called off the strike when people were poised to continue protesting. GEJ sent out the Military and Armed tanks and soldiers unto the streets of Lagos to intimidate unarmed citizens exercising their rights under a democrcy. He sank to the very lowest a Nigerian president has ever done by pulling a Mubarak and sending the Army unto peaceful streets. However, sadly, because Labour cravenly and corruptly called off the strikes in the face of protest from the people, we would never know if the average soldier of the Nigerian Army would have sided with his fellow citizens or if they would have begun firing indiscriminately. Lagos became honey-combed with Military checkpoints that tried to prevent demonstrators from getting to the centres of the demonstration.

Does Nigeria have a democracy or an autocracy? Where in the world does a democratic government send ARMED soldiers AND armoured trucks to take on peaceful protesters? China and Egypt spring to mind immediately. If GEJ's role models are a communist government that ruthlessly crushed a peaceful demonstration and killed and jailed thousands of peaceful demonstrators and a corrupt dictator who was prepared to kill his own people rather than hand over power after 40yrs of a corrupt dictatorship, then he should be prepared to also take his place in the history of leaders who are failures. The man who came into power probably as the most popularly elected president in the history of the Nation, has within a short 8 months managed to squander every iota of trust and love from the majority of his people. Outside the Delta and the South South and the South East, there is hardly any support left for GEJ. Frankly, it is a very sad thing to say but many Nigerians would welcome the Military if they came back today. However, that is not the answer either as our Military cannot be trusted.

What have Nigerians learnt from the past few days? United we stand, divided we fall. In unity is our strength. The protest movement took on the might of the government and succeeded because they were united. Passion matters! It was the passion and energy of the young men and women of the Occupy Nigeria movement that galvanised this movement. Labour did not begin the protest but joined in later. Unfortunately, the Occupy Movement and SNP were naive and allowed Labour to do all the negotiating with the government - there should have been a coalition of negotiators who had to go back to their respective movments before any agreement with government could be agreed. Most of us believe Labout were bribed - pure and simple. We might be wrong but their actions look & smell 'fishy'. The movement needs courageous leaders. Tunde Bakare, Femi Falana, Musa have distinguished themselves. Despite being insulted by the government and even their own people, they tirelessly and fearlessly tried to take on the establishment. Nigerians are highly religious so any movement in the future must try to build a coalition with fearless religious leaders. There are not many of them as might be expected but their are some. They need to be sat down and spoken with before another mass demonstration like this so they are on board from the word go. Imagine if a coalition of churches and mosques had been marching alongside the protesters? Would Nigerians really want GEJ firing upon their religious men and women? Any movement in the future has to work with student unions across our many universities. It would be stupid to disregard Labour in the future but next time, they come in simply as part of the coalition. Nigerians also need to understand what the role of the opposition parties are. They are there to OPPOSE the government. We should stop mouthing things like opposition politicians joined the movement to destabilise the government - when the government has an unpopular policy that the people do not want and are prepared to fight agains, well, the job of the opposition is to support the people and fight against the government! We need much better PR. There should be much better links with the Western Media so they send in Reporters to cover the story. The Egyptian spring would never have succeeded without the Media's 24hr coverage which shamed the Egyptian government and forced Western governments to take a stand they didn't want to as public opinion in their countries was with the protesters. Unlike Nigeria, no Western government can afford to ignore overwhelming public opinion and are often forced to be seen to be appeasing their voters even when they don't want to.

Finally Nigerians have laid to rest the old lie that they are apathetic cowards and will accept everything from their government without complaining. Over the last 13 days, we have seen ordinary Nigerians march even in the face of guns, protest even when threatened with the loss of their jobs, march even when they did not trust the Labour leadership, stand out for hours in the heat with little food and water to try to build a better Nigeria for themselves and the next generation. We have taken to the Net waves and Twittered, BBM'ed, FaceBooked, Emailed, YouTubed. Nigerians abroad have protested before embassies and have marched proudly supporting the protesters back home. Finally Nigeria has grown up. We can be proud of what we have achieved over the last few days. Not every battle is won in the first skirmish - there are many battles ahead - we need to educate ourselves and our people, we need to keep teaching, we need to keep blogging and writing, we need to keep exposing the corruption in out government, we cannot give up. We have fought too hard and too long, we have prayed too hard and talked too much, we have fled Nigeria, abused her, been ashamed of her actions but still we have always come home. She belongs to us and we belong to her. We believe in the Nigerian dream. Like Martin Luther King Jr, many of us have a dream. We dream that one day we will leave in a corruption-free Nigeria, where we have a govrnent that cares about the people and works for the people and is not just there to line its own pockets.

Let us keep fighting, keep dreaming, keep hoping, keep praying. We never thought the events of the last week would happen in our lifetimes - they have. Let us hold unto hope. Nigeria will truly be free someday.

Occupy-Nigeria-for-ourselves-our-children-the-future-generations-to-come. Occupy-Nigeria-she-belongs-to-us-all. 


Gaddafi's dead .. shot in both legs .. died of his wounds.

Muammar Gaddafi, former leader of Libya for 41 years is reported to have been captured and killed by the Libyan rebel forces. A civil war has been raging  in Libya since street protests began against Gaddafi's regime in February this year.

Now, I hear the arguments that Gaddafi ran the country well and spent Libya's oil money on Libya. In 2010, Libya had the highest GDP, education index, and human development index in Africa. However, isn't the wealth of a country meant to be spent on a country anyway? Other African countries would be doing just as well if their leaders were not corrupt. Not being overly corrupt does NOT make Gaddafi great - just a normal sized leader in a continent of corrupt Pygmy leaders.

Many Africans believe the West 'killed' Gaddafi, hunted down a courageous leader who stood up to the West, took them on and won. Others point to his achievements in Libya and give him credit for not 'stealing' Libya's oil money.

This is bunkum! Our expectations of our leaders is so low, we praise lavishly any leadership that does the barest minimum, and laud them as if they are doing something special. What totally ticks me off is that Gadaffi was in power for 41 years! 41 years!

I don't give a toss if Gaddafi was the greatest thing since sliced bread. Unless a country has agreed it is a constitutional monarch, NO leader should be in power for 41 years. Gaddafi swept in via a revolution, he  set his country on the straight and narrow, all well and good. He should THEN have stepped down. Imagine if Gaddafi had set up political parties, established democracy, won elections and led Libya for 8 years - 12 years (two presidential terms of 4 or 6years). He would have been feted and praised, an elderly statesman today, a man whose word would have been respected in his country and abroad.

Instead the young revolutionary became an elderly megalomaniac. His opponents were thrown into jail, ALL dissent was quelled, torture became common-place, no press dared disagree with him, The people of Libya had food in their stomachs but woe betide the man/woman/child who dared criticise 'the great leader'. Arrest by the secret police was an almost certainty for such 'treasonous' words.

Since Gaddafi refused to step down, refused to allow any political parties or any form of fredom of expression, corruption inevitably followed. His friends and family became his closest advisors. No-one is saying Gaddafi himself is/was corrupt but most agree his sons were. Can you blame his sons?

These young men had been brought up to believe leadership of the country was their birthright. Born after Gaddafi's revolution, they were not revolutionaries but spoiled kids who had unlimited access to vast amounts of money and unlimited power. They responded to this heady mix by becoming corrupt tyrants who beat up girlfriends, servants and hotel staff in Western hotels and then claimed diplomatic immunity if Western law tried to deal with them. Gaddafi threatened Switzerland with economic sanctions because the Swiss authorities dared to bring a case against his youngest son, Hannibal, who had brutally beaten up 2 of his servants in a Swiss hotel. On another occasion, Hannibal's bodyguards also beat up French POLICEMEN for daring to stop this spoiled kid when he was speeding down the Champs Elyseees. At what point does being the child of a leader make you immune to the laws of OTHER countries? If his kids were behaving with such arrogance and violence out of Libya, what must they must have been like back in Libya?

Africa needs good leaders. I respectfully say while Gaddafi did well to develop Libya economically, Gaddafi is not the model of leadership we need.  Bread in the stomach is not worth losing all freedom to express our views, to demand political reform, seek a change in government or have a leader's children forced down our throats. Instead of Gaddafi, we need more leaders like Jerry Rawlings, former president of Ghana and Nelson Mandela. Men of integrity who led their countries, did a good job, GAVE UP power and have left a legacy of a robust democracy for their countries.

The Arab Spring has toppled another leader. This has seen ordinary men and women rise up, tired of the old guard, tired of corruption and fed-up of despotic leaders who cling desperately power. It is easy to blame the West for interference but if you set your own house on fire, don't be surprised if it gives your neighbours a chance to rush into your home in the guise of helping you out!

This should be a wake-up call to the corrupt leadership we have in Nigeria. Change and lead the country well, spend Nigeria's money on Nigeria, STOP rigging elections, put aside tribalism and nepotism and put Nigeria's interest's first. Otherwise, one day change WILL come - and it might NOT be very pretty especially for the leaders, their families and their cronies!


Saturday, 14 January 2012

Occupy Nigeria - Can Nigerians say No to Corruption?

Over the last few days, information has been leaked of at least N21BILLION Naira of assets allegedly 'owned' by Nigeria's Attorney General - this figure doesn't include his vast Abuja Real Estate Portfolio, stable of 30 luxury cars and as yet undiscovered overseas assets. If the allegations and stories are true, (and the Newspaper has provided documentaion showing a paper trail leading back to the AG), it is clear that majority of the N21 Billion was probably looted from WE the Nigerian people. If the AG, an important member of GEJ's cabinet is actually guilty of this alleged corruption, how many of the others members of GEJ's government have equally sticky fingers? How do we trust that GEJ himself has clean dry hands?

I do NOT care if you are a GEJ supporter or not. I do NOT care if you think Boko Haram is the chief problem facing Nigeria or not. I do NOT care If you are Ijaw, Ibo, Yoruba, Hausa, Efik, Nupe. I do NOT care if you are Christian, Muslim, Atheist or a Sango Worshipper. I do NOT care if you support the Fuel Subsidy or Not. I do NOT care if you believe every word GEJ has spoken or not. I do NOT care if you naively believe that the Fuel Subsidy money will be spent on Nigeria, or if you cynically believe it will all be shared among 'awon boyz'. I do NOT care if you believe Ngozi Okonze-Iweala is the greatest thing since sliced bread or you believe she is the greatest disaster to befall Nigeria. I do NOT care if you believe GEJ spends his entire feeding allowance of £27,000 per day solely on Cassava Bread or if you wonder how anyone can budget £27,000 daily to feed himself and family while millions of Nigerians live on less that £1 daily. I do NOT care if you believe people of faith should not protest OR if you believe people of faith should be the first protesting.

At what point do we lay aside our differences and REALISE that this evil unbridled corruption by greedy leaders is destroying our society and economy. This Government, and the majority of the Governments we have had over the last 51 years, (with only 1 or 2 exceptions), have LOOTED us into bankruptcy and made us a country with the word 'diaspora' in our lexicon. Our best and brightest are FORCED to flee to the West, the Middle East, India, South-East Asia, China, Ghana, South Africa etc to get an education or earn a living. We are losing a generation of talent that should be building Nigeria. The words 419-Nigerian-Fraudsters have become known synoymously linked and known all over the World. Our youth are becoming cynical and apathetic, without morals or values as they watch their parents worship at the shrine of the Almighty Sterling, US Dollar, NAIRA etc

When will we stop squabbling over what are quite frankly mainly non-important issues, REMOVE the blinkers of tribalism, disunity and religious differences blinding us, stop this evil of I-support-someone-because-he-is-my-countryman OR I-cannot-support-a-politician-with-a-different-religious-faith? When will we actually ALL grow up and say AND say - 'This cannot go on any longer?'


Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Occupy Nigeria - why are Nigerians angry?

As every Nigerian on the face of the planet knows, finally the sleeping Giant has woken up. Okay, Nigeria's still just half-awake but the masses have decided the gospel of the Occupy Movement is actually about Naija. The suffering Nigerian masses and ever-squeezed middle-classes really are the 99% while the corrupt politicians and their cronies make up the looting lying stealing 1%. Hmmmm, do I sound a little upset??? NOOOOOO! What could make you think that? *total sarcasm*

I LOATHE CORRUPTION! I have seen it destroy the amazing country of my childhood until she has become a caricature of herself. Morals have disappeared, public services are gone, basic infastructure is non-existent, security has become residents sleeping with half an ear cocked out for armed robbers while their security guards snooze outside, kidnappings have become rife.

We have learnt not to expect anything from our government - as we don't get anything! We provide our own electricity via generators as the electricity supply is a joke, often tar the roads in our private gated estates ourselves, pay for all medical care (or die from easily treated diseases), pay through the nose for our children's education, provide our own bore-holes (wells) and pump up water ourselves, provide our own pensions and are our own social security net - ok the polluted air and the blazing sunshine are still free (for now! until GEJ finds a way to assure us they are subsidised and makes us pay for them too!) but Nigerians pretty much fend totally for ourselves. We 'shuffer & shmile', we don't complain, we head to religious services by the millions and pray for better days. In a country that is the 12th largest Oil producer in the world (and the 8th largest exporter), 75% of her people earn $2 a day. It is enough to make anyone cry. But we smile, we are optimistic, we once won a survey for the happiest people in the world (!!), we gather in beer palours to discuss politics ad-nauseum but we never demonstrate - oh no - and we never rock the boat. It is reckoned the government earned $50Billion Dollars from exporting crude oil in 2011.

The one thing we do have though is cheapish petrol. Seems fair enough - after all, the thing virtually grows in our country, doesn't it? It gushes out of the ground, destroys the environment, has led to our politicians destroying every other industry as they all rush to suck at the teat of the oil wells, but hey, it is ours. Now, here's a funny ol thing - we have 4 refineries meant to refine the crude oil. This would help keep the price of petroleum goods down. However, for its very own CORRUPT reasons, successive governments have allowed the refineries to become crumbling unmainted edifices until they are now only operating at figures quoted of between 30% - 60%. With our lying governments, this actually makes perfect sense - y'see, they export the Crude oil and import it refined from overseas - (gross and totally lacking in sense!), but this has continued because they and their cabal of friends are skimming off billions of dollars every year from this nifty 'fun' little enterprise. To keep the prices down at the levels the local refineries refine for, the government claims it pays a subsidy to the importers of refined crude. This is the infamous 'Oil subsidy.'

However despite inheriting $110 Billion of reserves from the previous government, our present government has managed to fritter (steal) $80Billion of it over the last 4 years. No-one has the foggiest idea what they spent the money on. Despite the last regime leaving us debt free, the present one has quickly run up $30Billion in debt. No-one knows what the money has been spent on as it sure hasn't been spent on Nigeria and Nigerians!!! So the government is broke. Our government now argues that it needs to get rid of the subsidy which mysteriously and miraculously grew under this government from $1.9Billion from the previous many years to $8Billion over the last 6 months! WE the 99% have begun speculating that clearly we must now be eating and drinking fuel as this is the only thing that can account for the massive 4 fold increase over the last 6 months. A forensic accountant might find it interesting that despite the fact that the subsidy of $1.9Billion had stayed steady for many years, its massive spike occured around the same time our government decided it wanted to begin a 'Remove the Subsidy debate'. Once $1.9Billion leapt to $8Billion, Goodluck Jonathan's government had all the excuse it needed. Consultations began, Town Hall meetings were called. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Lamido Sanusi, Central Bank Governor, lectured us ad-nauseum on what they would do with the $8Billion subsidy removal windfall. One would have thought GEJ's government were running for re-election with all the goodies being promised - jobs for the unemployed youth, training programmes, new rails links, stable electricity supply, new health care centres, new schools, new roads - in fact they have promised so much, independent accountants project they'll need at least 100 times the amount to carry out even a fraction of those things to serve 160Million people. The new slogan they tried shoving down our throats is 'Suffer today so your children can have a better tomorrow'.

However - our government has NO intention of suffering too! The 2012 budget would make a grown man weep. I'll break-it down on another another blog postcard but let's put it this way. The presidenttial villa is spending $260,000 p.a on cutlery - for the presidential villa alone. So what happened to last year's cutlery? Ah, well the cutlery must be changed every year! Doesn't that make perfect sense?

After promising consultation and fooling everyone into thinking no decision would be made until April 2012, our 'compassionate' government announced on New Year's day, the immediate removal of the Fuel Subsidy and an immediate price jump of 112% of the price of petrol and kerosine. This in a country where road links are the only means of transporting goods, food, services and people. Prices of almost everything in the country doubled overnight. The phenomena we call 'double-double' was born. If a bus journey cost N200 pre subsidy removel, it zoomed up to to N500. If a cup of rice cost N1000, it jumped to N2,200. Everything apart from salaries has doubled overnight.

Soooooo, why are we so angry?

Now, there are many elite and middle-class who consider it fashionable to say - well they agree the subsidy cannot continue forever but it could be implemented differently. Let me lay it down here - I am not one of them. I say let the government repair the refineries - and as it cannot be trusted with its sticky stealing fingers to run them once they are repaired, let it lease them back to private firms to run them. The argument of how the subsidy removal would help job creation via working refineries and enticing private investors is solved in one fell swop. Since it costs Nigeria N40 to refine its crude locally, the private companies would still be making a profit selling at N65. Some will ask - where is the government to find the money to fix the refineries? Well, maybe if they stopped paying legislators over $2Million per year and the president cut back on his $10Million annual feeding allowance and other stupendously bloated allowances, they might actually have enough to pay for fixing at least two refineries immediately!

Stop asking the Nigerian citizen to contribute one dime. We have laboured, sweated, suffered, smiled, while the political classes and previous Military governments have looted Trillions of dollars over the last 20 years. Why should the 99% care about tightening our belts even further when we know every cent you manage to squeeze out of us will go straight into your Swiss bank accounts, fancy multi-million dollar foreign properties, private jets, stable of mistresses, expensive Cartier jewellery for the missus, expensive cars, yachts, foreign education for spoiled pamperd children etc etc - and NOT a red cent will be spent on Nigeria? To all the government supporters who keep saying give GEJ a chance, I politely ask, why? He has been defacto president for 23 months - he has been part of the governing administration for 5 years - at what point has he implemented any policies that have helped prove to us and win our trust, that he is that rare breed of Nigerian - an honest politician?

This is why we are marching. This is why we are demonstrating. This is why we are on Facebook, Twitter, Blackberry, Whatsapp, SMS, Youtube, Sahara Reporters, Forums - talking, organising, discussing, sharing links. We want to give our children a new country. A country they can be proud of. We want a country where the lowest worker can earn a living wage. Where the proceeds of OUR Oil Wealth are used to make Nigeria a shining gem for the benefit of ALL Nigerians. Where a wealth fund is created to save for the future. Where every citizen is guaranteed free education at least up until the end of High School. Dear 1%, WE the 99% are sick and tired of your promises. We no longer believe a word you say.

This is the Nigerian Spring! #Occupy-Nigeria-we-are-the-99%-it-is-our-country-too#


Monday, 9 January 2012

Life is a game of 2 halves ..

Imagine for a moment that you are a football fan who's recorded your favourite team play their rivals. You discover the scores are 5 - 3 with your team winning. Getting home, you settle down to watch the match with a long drink and a pack of chips. Now, if you are anything like me, knowing the results does not stop you getting excited, jumping up and down, yelling at the screen and bemoaning all the missed chances of your team. You almost have heart failure when the 1st half ends with your team down 0 - 3. The 2nd half opens and your goal-keeper is sent off, then you lose another player. Your head slumps as you frantically check the results again to assure yourself your team did actually win 5 - 3. 90 minutes of play pass in a blur - your team still hasn't scored and you whimper in horror. The referee gives 4 minutes of extra time and suddenly, your team scores - you leap from your seat in delight, and in an amazing heart-pounding display they proceed to score 4 more goals in quick succession. You flop back in your seat, emotionally drained, voice gone from whooping in delight and heart pounding from the death-inducing roller-coaster.

For anyone who believes in the GOD of the bible, that is pretty much the story of our lives. Psalm 139 says all our days are numbered and written in His book. GOD knows what we will say before we say it - our thoughts, our plans are not hidden from Him.

What does GOD say about you? All things work together for good for those who love the LORD. His thoughts towards you are good and not evil to bring you to an expected end. He will never leave you nor forsake you. No-one who trusts in the LORD shall be ashamed.

Whatever the first half of the match of your life looks like, don't despair. It does not matter if the other team scores 3 goals and you score none. It doesn't matter if you are staring failure right in the eyes, if everything seems to be crumbling around you or is seemingly delayed. Life is a game of 2 halves. It is half-time right now. The 2nd half is coming.

Ok, so you have faith. You hold on. You believe GOD. You trust Him and cling to His word but as soon as the 2nd half begins, wham, bam, your goal-keeper is taken out. You struggle to hold on, to see GOD's hand in this new disaster, to try to fathom how He'll turn this around. But discouragement creeps in, your head hangs down, your legs get tired, then your mega-talented striker is kicked, falls down in agony and is carried off the field.  All you now want to do is give in. No goalie, no striker, 3 goals down, surely it is all over. Hang on, dig deep. Whatever word or promise GOD has given you WILL come to pass. When GOD made a covenant with Abraham, He sealed it with a covenant - a promise. He slew an animal, cut it into two. His actions told Abraham - if I GOD, do not bring forth my promise to give you a son, then let ME God, be slain and cut into half like this sacrifice.

This is not an invitation or excuse to keep sinning wilfully. GOD is a GOD of both judgement and grace. HE abhors sin. Those who love Him hate sin too. The child of GOD sins but doesn't want to. They cry out to God for deliverance. And HE delivers us.

JESUS's death on the cross is the absolute promise we need that ALL our sins are forgiven. JESUS's resurrection from the dead is the guarantee that if we accept HIS sacrifice, then we are made right with GOD. JESUS sending the Holy Spirit was a guarantee that everyone who comes to HIM is accepted by GOD the Father.

All our misdeeds, mistakes, disobedience (wilful and otherwise) are written into GOD's plan for your life. The bible says He knew you and chose you even before the foundations of the earth were laid. So, if you love GOD, hold on and cling to Him. GOD is never late. Ever. He just has this habit of strolling in right in the nick of time, looking around and going, Wsup? Surely you knew and trusted I would arrive. And before you know it, in a speedy dizzying turn of events that make your heard whirl and jaw drop, in the very last 4 minutes of extra time, every promise GOD has given you is fulfilled. Hang on. Never Ever let go. He is faithful and can be trusted always.

If you do not have a relationship with maybe, maybe today is the day it is written that you will come to Him. Is JESUS knocking at the door of your heart? Today, if you will hear His voice, let Him in. Is today your day of Salvation?


Monday, 2 January 2012

Nigeria's Fuel Subsidy removal ... (1)

I am way too upset and too tired right now to write about the removal of the Fuel subsidy and all it's ramifications. So forgive me if all I do right now is share my FB status update and the full statement from the PPPRA announcing the removal of the Fuel Subsidy effective immediately.

My FB Status: "We have a government that is deaf, blind and callous. In the light of all the tension in the country with the recent bombings, is this the time to remove the Petroleum subsidy? Nigerians are dying from poverty, many cannot afford to eat two meals a day while our president budgets £4M p.a for his feeding allowance. The amount budgeted for petrol and diesel for his generators is astronomical. GEJ is NOT our president - he is proving himself to be just another crook who does not give a toss for the millions who foolishly elected him."
Please read the link below. It is cruel and callous. In ONE day, the government removed Petroleum subsidies effective immediately (when most Nigerians were expecting it to take place in April if the government went ahead). This MORE than doubled the price of Petroleum products overnight. This is a country where power outages (shortages) means millions have generators gulping diesel or have to buy kerosine to cook with or power lanterns.

During Nigeria's last elections, there were many who claimed their reason for not voting for Buhari, a candidate eminently MORE qualified than Jonathan, was that Buhari would rule by decree. If this is not Jonathan ruling by decree, then I don't know what a decree is!

Full Text Of The Press Release From The PPPRA Announcing Removal Of Fuel Subsidy

osted: January 1, 2012 - 15:13
By Reginald Stanley

PPPRA Announces Formal Removal of Subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS)

Following extensive consultation with stakeholders across the nation, the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) wishes to inform all stakeholders of the commencement of formal removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), in accordance with the powers conferred on the agency by the law establishing it, in compliance with Section 7 of PPPRA Act, 2004.

By this announcement, the downstream sub-sector of the petroleum industry is hereby deregulated for PMS. Service providers in the sector are now to procure products and sell same in accordance with the indicative benchmark price to be published forthnightly and posted on the PPPRA website.

Petroleum products marketers are to note that no one will be paid subsidy on PMS discharges after 1st January 2012.

Consumers are assured of adequate supply of quality products at prices that are competitive and non-exploitative and so there is no need for anyone to engage in panic buying or product hoarding.

The PPPRA in conjunction with the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) will ensure that consumers are not taken advantage of in any form or in any way.

The DPR will ensure that the interest of the consumer in terms of quality of products is guaranteed at all times and in line with international best practice.
In the coming weeks, the PPPRA will engage stakeholders in further consultation to ensure the continuation of this exercise in a hitch-free manner.


Reginald Stanley
Executive Secretary, PPPRA.