Willy Willy don die (clap clap)

Had a great laugh yesterday reminiscing about watching Hot Cash (Willy Willy) back in the day. I can’t lie, Willy Willy traumatised me as a kid. Very authentic horror movie, kai!

For those who never saw it, Hot Cash was about a young man who was murdered for money rituals. His ghost is what we referred to as Willy Willy.

My fear will activate from the soundtrack. In my mind, I’ll be like “Chei God, they’ve started Willy Willy o”. Trust me when I say I didn’t watch Willy Willy out of excitement but out of fear. I had to be mad to be in another room when they were watching Willy Willy. So that Willy Willy will come and meet me there abi? God forbid!

So you’ll see me managing to watch Willy Willy, sitting as close to Mummy as possible. Next thing I’ll hear Mumsi say “AbĂ©, mu beni akubo” meaning I should go and bring water for her. At that point, my mind will be like “what is worrying this woman sef? So I should enter kitchen, ALONE, to go and bring water?” With great fear, I would run into the kitchen and bring water, looking left and right throughout like someone that wants to cross Express.

It was so bad that I was scared to use the toilet. When I eventually gathered the morale to position myself on the toilet seat, I would keep looking around, expecting Willy Willy to appear without warning like he usually did on TV.

I wasn’t the only one scared at home. There was this time my two immediate elder sisters were having a bath when one of them screamed after she “saw” Willy Willy. That was how they both ran inside the parlour naked and with soap all over.

Then of course there was the day DT told me she had a dream where Willy Willy came out from one of the steps on our stairs and that we shouldn’t step on it. My dear readers, that was how for years we would skip that step whenever going up or down the stairs. It became a habit until one day, being much older, I realised how silly it was and put my foot on the step. I was still a little scared, already ready to start calling on the name of Jesus if Willy Willy was to surface.

All the kids were scared of Willy Willy. When the girls played “oga”, none dared to sing the original version of the Willy Willy song which went this way:

Willy Willy don die (clap clap)
Na who kill am (clap clap)
Na Nchelem kill am (clap clap)
Clap for Nchelem, Clap for Nchelem (clap clap)

Clap how na? So that Willy Willy would appear and you will just die and go like that? All the girls had to sing the “clean” version. They were like:

Willy Willy don die (clap clap)
Na who kill am (clap clap)
Na Nchelem kill am (clap clap)
KILLING NO GOOD, KILLING NO GOOD (clap clap)

LMAO!

Nobody wanted to offend Willy Willy. Let your mother tell you to do something and you’re dragging your feet. By the time she tells you that she’ll tell Willy Willy to come and catch you, you’ll be like “Mummy sorry na, sorry. Mummy where did you keep the broom?” See sweeping!

Hope you’re smiling or laughing reading this. Thank God for awesome memories. Just watched a video clip of Willy Willy on YouTube and it still gives me the creeps. That series should have been rated 18! You can see it here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=QeDhhoMn2Zo

Have a great day people and remember: “killing no good, killing no good (clap clap)”

Ben and the Good Samaritan

Ben stood alone by the express way, waiting for a cab to take him home. It was getting late and he was getting a tad worried. A few more people joined him, also headed in the same direction. After a few minutes of waiting, a white pick up truck with a siren on top slowed down in front of them. The driver came out and motioned towards them.”Make una enter”, he said.

The young men quickly jumped into the back of the truck grateful at this kind gesture. “Thank you Sir”, they echoed. Ben was hesitant to enter at first but having seen no cabs were coming, he decided to anyway. He was about hoisting himself into the back of the truck when the driver spoke to him. “No, come and stay in the back seat”.

Ben thanked the driver and went in, joined by some of the other passengers. The journey started and Ben couldn’t help but wonder how he had been so fortunate. Even more intriguing was this good Samaritan who had stopped to help them out. Ben thought to himself “So these kind of people still exist in this country?” While in the back seat, Ben tried to catch a glimpse of this hero in the rear view mirror but couldn’t make out his features as night was already upon them. Ben felt motivated and started thinking of ways he could also be a good Samaritan. In all this, the Knight in Shining Armour just kept quiet and drove along. Typical Knight!

Within a short time, the truck got to the junction and the driver slowed down before coming to a halt. A barrage of “thank you Sir” filled the air. That was until the hero of the year said: “Make una find me something”.

It was a rude awakening to say the least. Ben was jarred back to reality. After all, even in Freetown, nothing is free. He chided himself for idealising this opportunistic driver. He looked at the other passengers and could see the confusion on their faces as well.  With great disappointment, he brought out the N100 and paid the driver. “Good Samaritan my foot” he thought to himself as he walked away.

THE END

PS: I’m Ben

16 TIPS TO MAKE 2016 YOUR BEST YEAR YET

The euphoria of seeing a new year is still quite high for many. Resolutions have been made, people have been infused with new hope for what the new year holds in stock. Its true that the new year has no special powers to make resolutions stick but its as good a time as any to re-strategize for a better future. Here are 16 tips that’ll help make 2016 your best year yet:

1. HOLD ON TO GOD
Becoming more committed to the things of God will set the pace for a great 2016. Little wonder why Matthew 6:33 encourages us to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all things we need shall be added to us. Holding on to God in 2016 will bring peace to you in our troubled world.

2. LET GO OF THE PAST
Don’t go into 2016 with the baggage of 2015. There are things that may not have worked out in 2015. Let them go. There are bad habits that ruled your life in 2015. Let them go. If you take the bad things of 2015 into this new year, your 2016 won’t be any different or better.

3. DEVELOP AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE
The reason why most people are unhappy is because they focus on the things they don’t have instead of being grateful for what they have. Yes things could be better but they could also be worse. Be grateful for what you have and for where you find yourself.

4. PREPARE FOR OPPORTUNITIES
Like every other year, 2016 will come with fresh opportunities. In the words of Sir Winston Churchill, He who fails to plan is planning to fail. If you want 2016 to be better, you have to be ready before the opportunity comes.

5. BE DECISIVE
Our choices determine the course of our lives. Your ability to say yes to the right things and no to the wrong things will be key to having a great year. Only dead fish go with the flow.

6. RE-EXAMINE YOUR VALUE SYSTEM
The question here is What do you stand for? In the immortal words of Malcolm X, if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. In 2016, re-examine your values and the things you stand for. Stand for what’s right and don’t be shaky in your convictions.

7. BE A BLESSING
If you want 2016 to be better, you have to live beyond yourself. Don’t be selfish. Do something for someone who may not have a way to pay you back. We often  deceive ourselves into believing that we’ll help when we have it all. Help now with the little you have.

8. DON’T PROCRASTINATE
There’s no perfect time to get started on a goal neither are there perfect conditions. If 2016 is going to be any better for you, then you have to get started now not later. So that once you’re done, you can move on to something else.

9. BE A PERSON OF YOUR WORD
Nobody likes a flake. Let you yes be yes and your no be no. If people cannot trust you to keep your word, they’ll be reluctant to deal with you or entrust you with significant responsibilities. Learn to keep your word for both the little things and the big things.

10. IMPROVE YOURSELF
Do some exercise. Read some books. Take a course. Work on your diet. Just do something that’ll make you better than your 2015 self. Don’t be content in remaining just as you are.

11. DON’T LET OTHERS OPINIONS RULE YOUR LIFE
Sometimes we worry too much about what other people think about us. Truth is, you cannot please everyone. No matter how good you are, there are those who still won’t approve. Do what feels right to you, in line with your convictions.

12. PUT YOUR BEST IN WHAT YOU DO
As humans, we like to believe that we’ll do better when we get that dream opportunity. Don’t wait until that opportunity comes. Form the habit of doing your best wherever you are regardless of the task. That’ll open the way for the better opportunities.

13. STOP TRYING TO BE PERFECT
Perfection is overrated. Nobody’s perfect and nobody will ever be. So don’t put yourself under that kind of pressure. There’ll always be something you’re not good at. That’s why we’re human.

14. RE-EXAMINE YOUR RELATIONSHIPS
There are old relationships you’ll have to leave behind in 2015 and there are those you’ll take into 2016. There are also new relationships you’ll have to cultivate in 2016. And for each of these relationships, you’ll have to know where each deserves to be placed.

15. TAKE A BREAK
There’s no need taking life too seriously because none of us gets out alive. So take that annual leave, go on holiday, give yourself a well deserved break. Because you know what? If you leave that job today, the work will go on (possibly better) without you. Relax when the opportunity presents itself.

16. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF
If you don’t believe in yourself, nobody will believe in you. You can have all the opportunities in this world but with a lack of self belief, you’ll mess up each and every one of them. If you believe in yourself, anything is possible.

So that’s my 16 tips for making 2016 your best year yet. Have a great year!
Mark Amakoromo.

THIS POST IS NOT ABOUT CANDY CRUSH

I’m one of those Candy Crush players though I never send FB invites so fear not. Sometimes you’re playing the game and you get to a level but no matter how hard you try, you can’t get through. Then one day, after you’ve probably given up but still just playing for the fun (or addiction) of it, you pass that level. Without stress, without thought or calculation. Just with so much ease.

It reminds me of life. How a lot of times we struggle for something but that struggle amounts to nothing and when we least expect it, victory comes our way. I think as humans we’re just wired to want to struggle for something. That belief that if you put enough effort, make all the calculations and permutations, then everything will work according to plan. Sometimes it does, most times it doesn’t. But we keep struggling anyway. When our struggle leads to a result, we celebrate but its only short-lived as a new struggle comes knocking at the door.

At the end of the day, I doubt we’ll ever get to the point where we don’t struggle for anything and just let life take its course. That’s a recipe for stagnation in my book. What we can do though is to recognise those gifts that come freely. Those things that come our way not based on our best efforts or skills or calculations or permutations. Sometimes they are so awesome that you might even consider pinching yourself to be sure you aren’t dreaming. For me, they are the best gifts of all.

A Lesson Learnt

Today I was in the mood for a rich soak. You know what I mean, the timeless combination of Garri, Sugar, plenty of Milk and groundnut. The problem was there was no groundnut.

I was already at Agudama Street when this urge hit me so I decided to take a leisurely stroll down to Emekuku Street to buy groundnut from my “customer”; the same person I’ve been buying groundnut from since I was a young boy. After all my trekking (sorry, strolling), I got to his spot but he wasn’t there. In that moment, my daydream of a rich soak died a natural death.

But you know the thing though? Its not that his is the only place I know I can buy groundnut. After all, there are some spots on the neighbouring street just metres away. For some reason though, his groundnut is the best. And I know the reason; my customer is good at what he does. His groundnut is hardly ever burnt. You don’t encounter sand in the groundnut. When I buy N400 groundnut, I know its N400 groundnut. With some of the other groundnut sellers I’ve had cause to stray to from time to time, its either the groundnut is burnt or they sell a smaller quantity for a higher price or worse, some juicy grains of sand get lodged inbetween your teeth. But not my customer, he’s just really good at what he does.

Now it sounds like I’m making such a big deal about groundnut but I ran into my lovely cousin Debby and when I told her about my predicament, she equally confirmed that she has patronised my customer over time and he definitely knows what he’s doing. You can now imagine that for something so seemingly insignificant as the selling of groundnut, you can see excellence thrive in the midst of the ordinary.

While I can’t change the fact that my taste buds are going to be deprived of some awesome goodness this evening, what I’ve learnt today is far more important: that there’s nothing so small that you cannot put an excellent touch to it. The lesson here is simple: Put your best in all you do. Let those that come in contact with you know they’re dealing with a professional who strives for excellence all the time.

I really do hope you’ll shine forth in all you do. I have no doubt that you’re capable of extraordinary things. Bless you for reading.

A FATE WORSE THAN DEATH

In the middle of my dream, I heard a loud noise that sounded like a horn. It woke me up and in that moment, I froze. In that moment, lying on my bed, the only thought that crossed my mind was that the rapture had occurred. I searched my heart and in an instant, I knew I didn’t make it. I knew it wasn’t a mistake. My heart told me of my sins and in that moment, I convicted myself of not being worthy. In that moment, nothing else mattered. I couldn’t think of any of those things I had held so dear. Vanity! Oh God, why was I so vain?

The silence of the silence of the night scared me. I had expected to hear cries rend the air. But then again, the break of dawn was still hours away, people would soon start to notice their loved ones were gone. Sleep could not be found in my eyes. Instead, I lay down and thought of those I knew would no doubt partake in my condemned status. My allies in sin, how could we be so wrong? Who was I to judge even? But I didn’t care, I just needed to know I wasn’t alone. My mind wandered to those who I thought would make it. What if they did? They had shown me the way through their words and actions; why was I so stubborn not to listen? And what if they didn’t make it? It wouldn’t make any difference; we were all hypocrites. We had been left behind, a fate worse than death. But we had been our own downfall. We had become friends with our sin; we had failed to examine our lives in the light of His Word. His Word! Why had we neglected it? It was right there! But we treated it with scorn. We read it without understanding, interpreting its message in ways that suited our selfish ends. Was it all worth it?

I hear the sound of thunder and I reckon its all over. He lives in nature but I’ve been too blind to see it. My heart hopes it is just the rain, not Him saying it is finished. As the dawn gradually breaks into day, I find that the thunder is indeed just the rain. Even if a horn had sounded, it was not from the heavenly places as thought.

I heave a sigh of relief. Everything is back to normal. But what if? What if today was the day we have been told will come like a thief in the night? What if today was the D-Day? Everything is back to normal but nothing is normal anymore. I scan the room for my Bible in its usual corner where it gathers dust. No more! In the midst of my thoughts, I realise that the fear of being left behind is not enough to sustain this new found momentum. I need to have a relationship with my Creator. I need to learn to love the Lord my God with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my strength and with all my mind and to love my neighbour as myself. I need to get to the point where faith becomes a lifestyle; I need to be transformed by the renewal of my mind. The task ahead of me presents a daunting prospect. I fear I’ll fail soon after I start. I fear I’ll fall short as I have so many times before. Its an uphill task, I know, but nothing good ever comes easy. So for the first time in a long time, I bow my head to pray. “Dear God, its me again…” I confess my sins, I renew my faith and I pray for the grace to live a life free of sin. I pray that this time, I’ll remain at the altar as a living sacrifice. Most of all, I pray that this time, I’ll maintain the course till its time to go back home.

START. STOP. MORE. LESS

I recently watched a video of Fela Durotoye speaking at the Elevation Church in Lagos. He had some really eye-opening and interesting insights which I would love to share with you. In my own words of course.

He spoke on ‘Acceleration’ and how acceleration does not mean taking shortcuts but getting to a destination faster than usual or expected. Its like two people driving the same route over the same distance (and even with the same type of car) but one gets to the final destination faster than the other.

As humans, we all long for acceleration. We love the thought of double promotions and moving from one level to the next in record time. Its not enough however to simply desire acceleration in life. You must take the actions that will help you get where you are going faster. Fela suggests four things we need to do if we are to achieve acceleration in life: START, STOP, MORE, LESS. What do these entail?

START: There’s something you’re not doing at all now that you need to start doing. It might be exercise or praying or developing your skills and talents. Stop waiting for perfect conditions, now is a good time to start. Remember, you’re successful the moment you start.

STOP: There are some things you’re doing now that you need to stop doing completely. They are hurting you and keeping your life at a standstill. They are like leeches, sapping your life of its essence. If you don’t stop doing those things, your life will remain at a stop.

MORE: These are the good things you’ve already started doing that you need to do more of. A car does not accelerate by remaining on Gear one. Switch gears and do more of those good things that will take your life to the next level.

LESS: These are the things you can’t stop doing completely but which you might need to do less of. For instance, you would have to eat less if you’re trying to lose weight. Same with TV. Like Fela said, the people who sit in front of the TV can’t be found on it. If doing too much of these things has become a problem, you need to slow down and do less.

With this four pronged approach (START, STOP, MORE, LESS), you can accelerate in every area of your life. Fela identifies seven key areas of life that this approach can help you accelerate:
1. Emotional
2. Physical (Health)
3. Relationships
4. Profession
5. Finances
6. Societal (connecting with those in your society) and
7. Spiritual.

In each of these areas, always ask yourself these 4 questions:

1. What must I start doing?
2. What must I stop doing?
3. What must I do more of?
4. What must I do less of?

I hope you’ve been blessed as much as I have with these words. God bless you for reading. I wish you an accelerated life!