Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Emergence ' Prophet Musa and Al Khidr'

For those who do not know Prophet Musa (Peace be upon him) is Moses of the Bible and even though I am not a muslim the story of his contact and interaction with the Al Khidr (Green man) is one of those parables that feed the wisdom of the times we live in. I participated in fasting during Ramadan to listen to my body as well as spirit. This story nourished and continues to nourish my focus on the power of emergence in the affairs of us humans. This is so relevant to what the former United States Federal Reserves Chairman calls the Age of Turbulence.

Moses was greatly beloved and this is shown in both the Bible and the Quran he is one of the few Prophets who had direct interaction with God regularly. He was also quite impatient. He had given a sermon that so moved those who listened that he agreed with their complement that there was no one on Earth as Learned as himself. God revealed to Moses that this was not true since no person could know all. In this case there was another who knew what Moses did not know. Moses wanted to know and meet this man who had been identified to him as a slave or servant of Allah. He wanted a sign of how to identify the person as he wanted to learn from him.

He followed the sign given to him, a live fish in a boat which would disappear at the location where this Learned person would be. He nearly blew it as he fell asleep at the very place where two rivers met. Nevertheless he met the Man, the Al Khidr whose face was partly hooded a sign of his Sainthood.

Moses asked the Al Khidr if he could follow him and learn from the knowledge that God had given him. The Al Khidr was sceptical since he believed Moses would not have patience to learn about something he did not know. I suppose you could say Moses reputation for impatience went before him. Of course Moses insisted that he could be a patient learner and restrain his questions until Al Khidr opened up discussion. So they agreed that he would only travel with the Al Khidr on condition that he would ask of anything that happened only when the Saint mentioned it himself .

They crossed the river in a ship which when they got to the other side the Al Khidr scuttled i.e. damaged. Moses immediately questioned the decision suggesting that the Saint had done an evil thing by damaging the boat and the interest of the poor people who owned it . The Al Khidr responded by confirming his earlier warning that Moses could not be patient to learn. Moses was defensive responding that he had forgotten and that it would not happen again. They continued on their journey till they met a a boy who the Al Khidr proceeded to kill. Moses was aghast at what we considered evil and dreadful which he once again said without restrain. Once again the Al Khidr said he had reconfirmed his earlier impression to which Moses now agreed that if this happened again they should part from each other.

They came to a town where they were not well received nor were they given any hospitality . As they left , they noticed a wall that was collapsing. The Al Khidr worked to straighten the wall and prevent if from collapsing. Moses could not resist commenting that this was not a people who deserved such an effort and he should have charged wages. This was the final straw for the Saint who enforced the agreement that they should part company after this last comment. As a parting gift he proceeded to explain each of the three actions that Moses was too impatient to let pass.

1) The damage to the ship that they crossed in was to make it defective so that the poor owners would not lose their source of livelihood to a King who was going to seize their source of income by force

2) The boy who was killed was going to turn his parents who were believers against God by his behaviour and pain he would cause them . God would send them children who would have mercy .

3) The wall was straightened for two orphan boys whose father has buried treasure underneath it. This will protect their inheritance until they reached maturity as their father had been a righteous man. This is as God willed it.

In the face of opportunity to learn and understand that which he found challenging Moses did what most of us do which is take a low hanging and easy explanation by focusing on what he knew already.

This is a paraphrase as I do not present this as a religious but a contemporary perspective. For those who want it can be found in Surah 18 60-82 of the Quran.

So what does this truly say to me? Well it differs from day to day but my current lessons are that:

- Leadership requires conscious incompetence that allows one to know, that you do not know, what you do not know. Essentially what you know is insignificant than what you do not know. I always address this to the mentality that leads those who have power or influence to reduce what they do not understand and judge it within the limits of what they know already. There is very little curiosity or openness. The media and journalist have become the avatars of instant judgement, impatience and speculation driving the frenzy for quick judgement as well as rash decision. Whether the fiasco on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq or the garden variety ignorance that constantly leads people to assume that nuclear technology can be a guarded secret of a few nations in a world where knowledge is dispersed. This is a form of abject laziness and intellectual cowardice. Life in its fulness is found in the unknown and a diminishing existence is the reward of repeating the known. Moses life was opened up and his assumptions challenged. As a leadership educator I constantly meet authority figures who do not have the vulnerability and openness to be leaders. They package what they know so tightly and spin it for the the brash notion that others will share their aversion to growth. A classic example to my mind in Hilary Clinton the Senator from New York and likely nominee of the Democratic party. That she will be in a nation where fear as trumped hope constantly.

- Celebrate the power of emergence and revelation in a world where people need instant gratification and simplistic explanation. This in itself is not just an issue of patience but a concern for effective decision making. A while ago a group of young girls in Sweden along with others across Western Europe were shouting themselves hoarse about the need to move the Miss World away from Nigeria. This had become a symbiotic hysteria started by a crude populist attempt at introducing Sharia Law, the usual media excitement generated by well placed incendiary remarks and the accompanying knee jerk reaction from hormonally challenged , sanctimonious self serving do gooders in the NGO world. The shame is that by intervening when they did they prevented the Sharia matter getting to the Supreme Court and leaving room for fire next time. As for the baying mob of protesters they have gone to the next cause celebre , yes! Darfur. Perfect excuse for the unscrupulous characters to use the guise of a do good NGO to kidnap children, you think. If only like Al Khidr suggested we can wait for fullness and ripeness so that answers from complicated things are allowed the space to emerge. There is no place where this is more glaring than amongst the forever complaining urban elites in Nigeria. They are too quick to follow their newspaper manipulators in a ignorant dance of seeking someone to blame. It means there is no institutional learning and eventually even the dialogue does not change.

- Moving beyond good and bad to just 'Mo Lo'. The Al Khidr shows that sometimes when we do what appears to be bad in a limited context it has potential to deliver an eloquent piece of good. The gross oversimplification of things is quite the basis of the comical hollywood separation of actions and sometimes people. When Senator Obama says he will talk to Iran there are those who call that naive. What is criminal is leaders who refuse to talk to their so called evil enemies and then do not hesitate to go to war killing thousands and losing many lives on their side too. Which is the more responsible, macho posturing that lose lives or naive engagement that leads at worst to PR success for enemies but potential greater understanding. We always want or villains and heroes so clear cut that we forget that most things in life are co-created. A week ago I had a pleasant evening with two of my great friends that I call the two Dokitas, Dr Funmilayo Olonisakin and Dr Kayode Fayemi both special people who I go back a long way with. Now Kayode who stepped to the plate and contested fro the Governorship of Ekiti state is the person who turned me on to Senator Obama long before he got to the Senate. Kayode himself is fighting a tribunal case on the recent election in Nigeria. Excuse my name drop my point is that my worry in the past was how Dr Fayemi would evolve into a politician from his NGO world. It is my privilege to say like the finest cognac he retains the moral essence and has blossomed into quite an Adaptive Leader. I pray that Ekiti State has the opportunity to experience such finely evolved leader.

For me this story connects with my core values. For example that there is nothing like convetional wisdom only failure to think deep enough. Also that nonsense is only so because of the lens you choose or the state of mind with which you are experiencing things. We will all do well to listen to the Al Khidr in the times ahead. In the meantime my sincere prayers for Dr Fayemi in his attempt to balance the scales of justice.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

God speed, Coach Tella ' Tears for loss of excellence and wisdom'

I spent the whole of yesterday in the Best of Nigeria Exhibition at the EXCEL centre in the East End of London and little did I know in fact we had just lost one of the genuine and proven best of Nigeria. I woke up this morning to tears of loss and my own sense of despair. I suspect overnight or possibly earlier the Nigerian nation, the world of football and those dedicated to management excellence lost a great man Coach Yomi Tella. Coach Tella is the World beating coach of the Nigerian Under 17 Champions of the FIFA world cup. The coach in the face of lung cancer, discovered during his preparation for the Cup and whilst away in Korea put his health on the line. He oversaw this rare display of Nigerian group rather than individual excellence. What makes this a phenomenal achievement was that throughout the Cup his team was unbeaten, did not earn a single red card or even a high yellow card count. They were top scorers, to say they outperformed everyone with both style and outcomes is close to an understatement. Those who read my postings will also note I raised his attitude and body language throughout the games. His composure whether losing or winning was completely at odds with the usual Nigerian exuberance and loudness.

In any country in which people are truly dedicated to the power of ideas and learning there would be a book about Coach Tella. A book to explore and analyse his approach to management as well as his inspirational quality as a leader. In my humble opinion no country can need it more. Rather than rallying and focusing on examples of failure and corruption only we can also highlight and explore proven examples of world class success. In a country like Nigeria where heroes are scarce and cynicism has become the spread with which he eat our daily bread this man sacrificed his life to leave a legacy. The shame is that the Nigerian memory is very short. The usual gifts have been given, the National awards pinned on flowing agbada and the politicians with their bag carrying simpletons spread their ill earned largesse like confetti. The Coach went back to Lagos forgotten and his approach almost ignored. This was a man dismissed as a classroom coach by the press and commentators before the world cup. His team unfancied by those who could not recognise any of their names and of course they are not signed up to the British premiership, so who were they really? Even when they had won the Cup our usual self loathing drove a popular newspaper to encourage readers to question the age of the participating boys. To question whether their win was legitimate.

This man was not a manufactured hero , he was the real deal. We are no longer a discerning people whose eyes can see the woods from the trees so he passes without the kind of profound legacy that should meet his demise. I did have a moment of wishful thinking in which I planned to interview the coach as part of the book I am writing on Omoluwabi as a management approach. It seems it is too late.

For many football is only a sport. It is more than that. It is a metaphor for many things especially management and organisation. It is a way to explore evolution through competition and cooperation. I paraphrase a much quoted British coach , Some say football is a matter of life and death, we say it is much more than that.

Good Bye and God Speed Coach Tella

Friday, October 19, 2007


This man represent something that is good in the American spirit. `it is a rare thing to truly experience this level of authentic and effortless integrity in anyone.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Hillary Judgement

Watch this Please!

For Sherri and others who are blinded by Mrs Clinton's Gender what matters is her agenda. It is a cruel joke when the only way President Clinton can amend for his infidelity is to give his wife the Presidency. Shakespeare could not write a greater Tragedy.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Lelethu on Okada

First Time in Lagos Article Preview
written by Lelethu Lumkwana Features Writer for the True Love South Africa
To be Published January 2008 Issue

After flying six hours across the continent, where a strapping young man Femi, decided to play our personal in-flight host, plying us with copious amounts of Merlot and plates of jollof rice with chicken strips, our first glimpse of Lagos was through a curtain of rain, its corroded tin roofs swimming in pools of muddy water, spreading as far as the eyes could see. At an aerial glance, it seemed like a mixture of order and disorder, clusters of houses mixed with occasional grid avenues with a sprinkle of shacks across the city. Would it be the predicted nightmare or the ultimate adventure of my traveller fantasies? I didn’t know. Up until now, Nigeria had been a wild enigma, its speedy culture and robust personality almost an urban legend. Having decided to travel with two friends – Thando, who’s also a colleague and Adewale, who is from Nigeria and would be our host, I had no clue what to expect – from my friends or Lagos. If our visa debacle where our late application resulted in having to pay for an ‘emergency visa’ fee; the numerous tales we’d heard about paying entrance and exit fees in the country as well my body being racked with pain from a basketful of compulsory vaccinations (you can’t leave the country without a yellow fever card) were anything to go by, then we were in a bit of a pickle.

Our first encounter of the much-publicised Nigerian ‘sex in a dashiki charm,’ is when the immigrations officer threatens (read: promises) to lock my friend up in his room for filling in her immigrations forms incorrectly, much to our amusement and shock. Outside the airport gates, a gush of hot, humid heat greets us while a scrum of people offer all kinds of services - carrying our bags, opening the car door, hailing a taxi, you name it, they can do it. We soon learn however, that none of these are for free and under the auspices of Adewale’s suave Pidgin speak (‘Oga, I beg, we don’t need help’), we manage to escape spending our entire holiday budget getting from baggage claim to the car. Our driver, Mr Sanya is waiting patiently for us and our arrival hits a dramatic peak, when while taking in the scene and chatting away, a very heated Adewale starts barking: “Let’s go, let’s go,” sending us scurrying into the car, bags over heels. It later turns out that far from turning into an aggressive stranger, our host was hurrying us because we were parked in a clamping zone. As he puts it, in Lagos you either do business or you become the business.

Our first stop is in Ibadan, a bucolic city which lies about 100 kilometres outside of Lagos and our host’s hometown. Here, we attend a wedding, celebrated with no less than five ceremonies, which means conjuring up five different outfits, much to the fashionista me’s glee. Having heard about the notorious Lagos traffic, we’re fully prepared to spend the better part of the evening on the road but surprisingly we wade through the traffic easily, passing images of men and women wearing a mixture of traditional buba (top) and shokoto (pants) suits and corporate clothing walking home; while street businesses selling fruit, meat and fish rush to make closing sales or the transition into night trade. At every street corner, billboards advertising everything from cellphone networks to religion (‘Befriend Jesus Now’) adorn the city. On the road, every second or third car is either a Mercedes Benz G-wagon, a black BMW 3,5,7 series or a Hummer (we even spot one which operates as a taxi) and the über important are led by convoys of security cars while riding in bulletproofed cars. I can feel my heart thumping loudly in my throat and the airport that frazzled me a moment ago, seems a distant refuge. Spotting repeated religious messages is as irking as it is comforting (Never Fear God is Near); while our host’s constant reassurance and Mr Sanya’s skilful handling of the okadas (taxi scooters) snaking though the cars also brings relief. When we suddenly come to a complete standstill in Sagamu, a commercial centre that oil tankers have turned into a trailer park, we meet a veteran Nollywood actor who advises us on which detour route to take to Ibadan. This experience soaks up the last residues of travel tensions in the car and we return to our original camaraderie.

In Ibadan, we head straight to the after party for the traditional wedding, with no time to freshen up. To christen the city, our host decides to take us to a roadside suya (braai) where we have our first meal in Nigeria - heavily spiced meat that has been hung up to dry in sunlight and then braai’ed until it is crisp and brown. News of our arrival is the talk of the party where each of the guests, depending on whether they are friends and family of the bride or groom are dressed in colour coded Nigerian attire – the men wear grey and black buba and shokotos while the women look mesmerising in long A-line dresses with short puffy sleeves, complete with touch-the-sky, oleander shaped headwraps. Clad in jeans and vests, we’re obviously underdressed but it doesn’t seem to matter as everyone welcomes us with warmth and curiosity, liberally affirmed with an endless supply of wine and cognac. A live band whose signature style is juju - a fusion of African drumbeats and steel acoustics is our entertainment for the evening and on each song, the main singer playfully chants a guest’s name, cajoling them to dance on stage while being serenaded by the band. We spend the night at Davies Hotel, a boutique hotel with a distinctly contemporary African aesthetic: high walls, ethnic chic artefacts and a thatch roofed bar area outside where we enjoy a nightcap and some suya.

The next day, the church wedding is an explosion of carnival colours and Lagos personality, with guests wearing mostly matching but customised garb, all with a touch of pink. Just like in Mzansi, there is no such thing as a guest list at a black wedding so guests arrive in hoardes, filling the room to the brim. The reception is something of an indoor Mardi gras and we dance with strangers of all ages, the flirtatious currency being people randomly dancing up to you and sticking Naira bills on your clothing if they like your moves. From 18 year-olds to 80 year-olds, Nigerians are an exuberant, sensual and graceful people with a deep reverence for one another and an overflowing love for life and having fun. Everywhere we go, photographers take pictures of us and our vanity gets the most of us before we are told that we actually have to pay for the pictures. Thousands of Naira’s poorer, we set off for Lagos, the main course of our holiday, via a scenic route of farmlands, villages and a fish town.

Lekki, our home for the next week is a suburb is a microcosm of the rest of the Lagos– patches of Tuscan style houses and mansions immersed in shantytowns, street vendor structures and formal shops. As if to welcome us, the electricity goes off, something that will see us having many candlelit dinners during the week. The chef of the house, Mr Joseph has laid a spread that is guaranteed to pile on whatever excess kilos we’d tried to shed before the holiday.

Trying to cram Lagos into one week proves impossible but we do get a sumptuous taste of Lagos living, starting with cocktails at Churassco, a popular cylindrically shaped lounge bar, which sits on the lagoon. Today, the place is empty because of Ramadan month (in Lagos, 50% of all residents are Muslim). Nevertheless, the Lebanese bartender works his magic, keeping us entertained with his experimental cocktail mixes and party tricks, stripping me of all my jewellery, which he graciously returns as we leave.

Throughout the week, we travel through the city’s jam-packed roads to its lavish restaurants, guesthouses and exclusive clubs. Because Lagos’ structure is concrete skyscrapers on mire, almost like Sandton City plonked right in the middle of Alexander, going anywhere feels like going on a treasure hunt and finding some of its best-kept secrets. Like Yellow Chilli, a must-visit tourist eatery in one of the city’s business hubs, where we eat authentic Nigerian cuisine like Amala, which looks like brown pap with spicy ewedu and beef soup, which has a sticky texture because of the yam flour ingredient. Later on, after whinges of needing to eat real chocolate, our second host, Hakeem (who’s really an angel sans wings) takes us to Chocolat Royale, an ice-cream-cum-chocolate parlour that would put Häagen-Dazs to shame with its array of delectable French chocolate and ice cream. That night, we dine at Maroccaine, a Mongolian Barbecue restaurant where you choose your meal’s ingredients from a buffet of raw foods ranging from chicken to fish, turkey and beef as well as stir-fry veggies, made on a massive wok shaped stove while you wait. Although a classy joint, Maroccaine provides ‘eat as much as you can’ dining and customary in Lagos, you can buy an entire bottle of alcohol and take it home if you don’t finish it.

Our second last night in town proves to be full of surprises. After having lunch at Double 4, the city’s oldest restaurant, where we are served by its’ restaurant’s veteran waiter, who has been working there since it opened, we head off to a non-descript shebeen shack where Hakeem breaks his fast with grilled catfish while we sample some Guinness stout. Tonight’s party spot is none other than Fela Kuti’s shrine, built by his son Femi in a dilapidated warehouse in downtown Lagos. Every Thursday, Femi and his band perform for local fans, bringing alive an entire music economy where entrepreneurs and hustlers can sell everything from beer, palm wine, cigarettes, suya, t-shirts, as well as Femi and Fela Kuti’s CD’s. Standing next to Fela’s shrine is an ethereal experience and for a moment (or maybe because of the whiff of ‘lala’ all around me), I feel his spirit while an avid fan concurs by sprinkling water on his picture, which sits with his shirt hanging above it as well as other memorabilia from this iconic muso. The night comes to a climatic end, as Femi sings a sexually charged song, him and his dancers gyrating fiercely on stage, while he screams: “I dey come, o” (I’m coming).

Friday is a full day as everyone from new friends to people who’d like to meet ‘the girls from South Africa’ want an evening out on the town with us. First, we have sundowners at one of the most an invitation only club in Lagos – Club 288, where we bid a chic farewell to the city over bottles of Moët et Chandon. Mixing with some of the country’s most prominent businesspeople we are forced to take a stand on why exactly it is that Nigerians are treated so badly in South Africa, when in fact the country supported Mzansi during apartheid, even to the extent of taking in and paying for South African exiles’ expenses during those years. The only answer we can mumble is that perhaps not many people in South Africa know this. After the political soiree, we head to News Café at The Palms, an upmarket mall that boasts exclusive boutiques such as Tiffany Amber, indigenous bookstores and coffee spots and cyber cafes. Here, a live band doing classic cover songs like Yvonne Chaka Chaka’s Umqombothi gets us into the swing of things. In the wee hours of the morning (that’s when the real party begins) we go to La Casa, a nightclub whose bouncers’ snobbishness almost put us off, save for our friend flaunting that we’re from South Africa. Inside, party people get down to the DJ’s fusion of local and international hits (think Rihanna’s “Umbrella” mixed with Nigerian’s Faze’s “Loving You Everyday”). It’s not uncommon to see perfect strangers grinding as if they were in the boudoir and then casually parting ways after the song is finished. As the time nears Hakeem’s early morning Muslim prayer (3am), we decide to call it a night and head back home.

Our last day is perhaps the only time I ever feel the speediness of Lagos – up until now the Lagos flow is, well, the Lagos flow but for some reason, with only 12 hours left in the city, everything seems to be happening too fast. Before we know it, it’s mid-afternoon and we’re at the craft market, perusing through rows of art, jewellery, clothing, Nollywood DVD’s, African artefacts and other garb, trying to get last minute gifts for friends and family. As we drive to the airport, an air of melancholy hangs in the air. After spending nine days in Lagos, we’ve almost settled into city’s pattern of endless possibilities and excessive but endearing rawness; a cultural collision where everything and anything can happen; both the blessing and the curse of Lagos. We’re all trying to act as if this was just another holiday, something we’ll boast about at media do’s (“I’ve just done Lagos, darling) but deep in our hearts we know that things will never be the same again. That is until the customs officer at OR Tambo reminds us that the countrywide suspicion of our now favourite African metropole still exists: “Nigeria! You were on holiday in Nigeria?” he says making disapproving clucking sounds. Welcome back to Mzansi, girls.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Purple Reign Over London, welcome to Soultown (Part 1)

In September Prince a.k.a Roger Nelson, a.k.a the Symbol or even a.k.a His Royal bad Funk Self rocked London O 2 centre for 21 days. It was the thing of which Legends are made. You see growing up in the late 70s and early 80s there were two camps that mattered in the world, did you moon walk for Michael part of a raging, hollering teen mob with hysterical sensations and Jheri curls tangled nappy hair. The other side was were you an edgy raincoat wearing tough, with emergent broken voice reading naughty auntie Sylvia with Prince music in the background. Parents worried about the latter, whether they would ever get out of the funky, edgy material full of dense sexuality and freaky past times. I was always down for Prince like I was for Eleniyan, Omo Reverend Asa Igbo, Fela Kuti. You see I was a DJ and cupped the Dirty Mind album before most and there it was this young freak in raincoat and underwear on the album cover or was it being stylistically naked riding a winged horse. There was a lot of rumours in Right On Magazine (you know I read that religiously) that he was a recluse but it confirmed something almost unheard at that time for a man 19 or less he had played all the instruments on his debut album. Michael to me was soppy seconds a crooner without the funk but Prince was the real deal. Even when Rick James played himself with his coked out feud with him there were those of us who stood at crossroads around the world offering all manners of sacrifice for untold reconstruction of his anatomy. Then came Purple Rain the film and movie. I watched it somewhere in Ealing Broadway with a Black British girl, Cynthia who took my refusal to snog her as evidence of my Suegbe nature and lack of street smarts. This was in spite of my black zoot pants, the ever present trouser chain (And you thought it was invented last year) and my lavish crushed silk trench coat (of course in black). No Sh****ng . That was my summer style that also rocked University of Ife all year and was promptly rewarded with invitation to the senate to defend allegations of possible gang affilations. Thankfully the truth out and being stylishly black thankfully did not end up being labeled a criminal.

Fast forward to earlier this year I was in Las Vegas on business and missed out on Prince in residence in spite of my best efforts even willingness to pay up to $300. I thought that life had dealt me one of those cruel blows that you only wish on relatives who have been pain in the butt to your parents and you have grown up to inherit. You feel me?

Now we are in September fast forward to the O2 centre. I had purchased two tickets for my crazy cool middle son and myself but there was the Missus demanding Conjugal rights. At the risk of not catching nooky for a while, guess who stepped with me. The opening act was Beverly Knight and she was something special. Never truly rated her until that night then her energy and powerful voice cleaned away the Thai Food replacing with an hunger to be funked out of my skull. By the time Prince came on the crowd was baying. Now this crowd was an exquisite mix of nearly four generations, i saw a man not a day under 60 with a Symbol tattoed to his arm. I was in the rafters away from the stage and the is a story about the flat fee for all tickets but not for now. Unlike most concerts this was a true Diversity the only thing missing was Hijab wearing sisters and they were sorely missed even though the room was dotted with brothers whose beard rivaled Samson's. Prince took the crowd into a musical experience turning them into rainbow children. I went hoarse, over 40 and the last time i had so much fun there was a four poster bed and many party games. He rocked and Funkdafied everyone. Most stood for the next almost two hours doing the between chairs bop. There was Maceo Parker blowing up a storm like James Brown never died and Fela was still giving Yabis at the shrine. In the end I shook my head at two things, one was the Justice of Providence, life is not a 100 meter Race but a marathon. Here was Prince who became the butt of many Jokes as the symbol and Michael who spent most of that period the King of Pop. In this century Prince is actually the King of this turbulent times, a musical genius and virtuoso of the stage. If only Americans understood when he says ' People say I am rude, I wish there were no rules, I wish there was no black and white.....' The second was this was the power of passion and excellence that people really need for the 21st century not wars and rumors of impending conflicts.

I walked away from the concert I promising I would be back with my son. If he wanted to play bass he had to see the best and never mind the you must have degree bullshit that i propagate all the time. Excellence is not about school but about how you use your talent and opportunities. Watching the man opened up a world of possibilities that i knew but never truly appreciated. Missus Ajadi was equally ecstatic had it had nothing to do with asserted conjugal duties. This pint sized man brought the Funk to a new level and rocked all our worlds right out its middle class, middle age respectability. I had to be back.

Then with my middle rocker son in tow we did London and my edgy Soho jeans shops before the concert. Now here was a 40+ with 14 year old in tow trapezing through the back streets of London seeking the perfect T shirts. It was a blast and we got a few 'antique' ones. By the time we arrived at the concert we had journeyed through life. As it is usual with my kids he took the opportunity to tell me I was confrontational in the best way of course. He attested to the fact that I always disrupt complacency. A little hard but most likely true. This time the opening Act was an ex from one of the British Female Groups she was laughable and forgettable. I know i love stretch marks on my women but i also like waist to hip ratio and a certain feisty disposition. She reminded me of days working the doors at the Ritzy club in Cheltenham on 'granny night' with newly initiated single mums worse for wear and make up in the quarter to the after stage. Her Tattoos stood out like angry effort at rebellion living a life of their own in spite of the skin that gave them home. The Royal Purpleness came to the rescue and we were at the front row. My son had never really been keen on Prince but he came to my conclusions. This man he said' Can stop wars'. From the mouth of babes and the young eh! It was another complete sell out and once again we stood throughout with rendition after rendition of classics and new songs. Now my son sees himself as the only Black boy that cannot dance but there he was shoulder rolling with the best all inhibitions shed like our jackets . We even rocked to ballads that had my boysquarters bed singing the songs of delight. it was a night of very little memories and rocking to the sound of now. Time passed too quickly and after a couple of encores we needed to catch the train home. Now for our life and those who were present there will always be the question about whether you saw the 21 days of Prince in London. As we say Who no Know he go know , Who no Sabi he go Sabi. He rocked.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Corporate Insight

Text in here

Interview with Passion TV , UK

Saturday, October 06, 2007

When life collides with the blog

It has been quite sometime since I posted anything about the world around me. Sometime since last insights especially revealing my peculiar angle on things. In that time and space many things that I would like to open up to you has happened. First the Nigerian junior soccer team are World Champions in the under 17 World Cup without any loss throughout the competition. No Long thing as we say in Lagos. They were a team coached by a Nigerian coach whose stoic response was as un-Nigerian like as could be found in this world. In the same period the Female senior soccer team imploded in the World Cup in China despite being the perennial African champions. Like their male senior contemporaries in spite of individual talent and promise their organisational skills and ability to cooperate delivers so little. Is there something that is available to young Nigerians that gets lost in transition into adulthood? Consider this, the country has won the under 17 World Cup the third time. Yet there are those who question their achievement saying that they abused the age limit. Is it possible that they still have the belief in possibilities at their age while the older people are more likely to be cynical? Don't we reduce ourselves and our world to the charred remains of reality we associate with being Nigerians? Can we get onto that soon?

It is the Month of Ramadan and even though I do not practise Islam there is a lot in it that I hold onto from my childhood. The fasting and Zakat (giving to the poor) especially. It never ceases to amaze me how truly giving Muslims are. In the Nigeria where I grew up it was always stunning to watch what happens to the poor and needy when Muslims and Muslims came out of worshipping in mosques and churches. It is always the kindness and concern of Muslims that makes most mosques a place where beggars choose to sit. Of course that was a sign of how dirty Muslims were to the kids in my Catholic school. Anyways there is a passage in the Koran about the Prophet Musa or Moses and the Al Khidr in Sura Al- Kahf it is quite a story that reveals the power of emergent nature of Gods wisdom. A must read on leadership and one that will be explored before the end of Ramadan.

In the same space and time there was the story of the Jena 6 who were charged initially for second-degree murder for a schoolyard beat down of their white schoolmate. Their school had been the site of racial conflict between white and black pupils and there had been similar situations where black kids had been beaten by groups of whites. There was no permanent damage to the victim even though six against one especially unprovoked is quite much. It matters however because of the prosecutors aggressive charges. Bear this in mind Americans make up 5% of the world population but around 25% of people imprisoned of which nearly 40% are black. There is also abundant evidence that blacks do not commit more crimes than whites however they are more likely to face the police, more likely to be charged, more likely to attract serious charges and more likely to face hard time. Sure an angle on Race or Racism again but hopefully with a new twist. for example is it not time to move beyond marching as a strategy for highlighting inequities. How about voting for Barack? America will never be the same again.

I also travelled to three countries in the same period. Spain, Nigeria and South Africa there will be more on the latter two much later. As for Spain my brief visit to Madrid left a bitter taste in the mouth. It is quite a beautiful city with incredible sights as well as safety. Saw people lying on the grass in parks as late as 11pm. The city however seemed to be full of humourless people whose response to black people suggest a greater self loathing than many Europeans exhibit. Look out for my take on the final pelantheologist and genetic confirmation that all human beings that have ever lived, are living and will live are all Africans.

Then there were the concerts. I saw Prince twice that itself is a full posting. The two times I realised that there could never be a fuller exposition of human excellence at any art, craft or science than this man at his best. I needed to see it again so that I could confirm it was not a fluke. Anyone who can rock a British crowd on their feet, 20,000 strong from beginning till the end with their passion on the display is a sheer miracle worker. It seemed this happened in the full 21 days he rocked the O2 centre in London. I suppose this might seem a lower ranking in the order of spectacle but it was nevertheless a real pleasure to watch Olu Onabule the self styled Mayor of Soultown at the Stables in Milton Keynes. He was pure class and a true soul singer in the class of a Bobby Womack. He also deserves a posting of his own. Nigerians like him are increasingly rare, comfortable in his skin and expressing his power as well as skill with such respect and finesse not the brash in your face demeanour of the Lagos big boys. I like how he uses humour in self deprecating ways the big black mans survival strategy in the UK. He does it quite well though. He brought up memories of the 80s when we Nigerians were celebrated not vilified. The warm nights at Gulliver’s in Park Lane and parties across London no ill fame achieved we just brought the funk and a lot of money.

There was Mr Sarkozy’s speech in Senegal as a ‘friend of Africa’. Many online say with friends like him who needs enemies. Is he truly that bad? My views as usual will be given later. It looks like we are headed for another Clinton White House and somehow it does not feel right. How can two families rule a so-called democratic and open country for 20 years with the prospect of another 8 years? If this happened in Africa there would be calls for sanctions and isolation. More troubling is the character that quite a few US Internet users show in their commentary on contemporary issues online. It is scary to read their language for each other especially on the issue of Race. There is something extremely ugly in the US psyche that is exposed by the Internet and I sincerely hope it is not contagious. There is also the corporate decision to keep Senator Obama out even in a place like South Carolina, which has a healthy diversity that should play well for him. Is it possible that his African ancestry is so disconcerting to Black Americans? That would be such a shame but there are too many commentators from Black America who are decidedly against his candidacy.

Finally the Nigerian Government and its Attorney General is this man for real? The man is certainly going to be a massive burden on the government. I hope the President has people around him who know a little recent Nigerian history. He should review the Presidency of Alhaji Shehu Shagari an honest, humble and unassuming person like him whose preferred style is not too dissimilar. I hope by the time there is posting on this matter might have moved in a better direction. We will see. On an aside I had a little excursion to Funmi Iyanda’s blog to challenge her promotion of Ma Ramutswe books by Mr McCall Smith and she wondered whether I had read any of the books. I have actually done but a few years ago when I decided that I could not support the denigration or negative stereotype of Nigerians. I know in the archives of this very page I have written a piece on power of stereotypes so there will be no revisit. As usual Life has been kind, God has been forgiving and Love unrelenting.