Posts Tagged ‘Soldier’

Awwww, I really like Tony! I remember meeting him at church once (House on The Rock The Refuge), but I don’t remember if that was the first time we met or if we’d met before. I also know he called me on my birthday this year, whoop! And he has a brother in the Army, who is on the frontlines of this fight against Boko Haram. Kai, I don’t know if I would be able to sleep at night ever if my brother was in the Army… then if he was in the Army and actually fighting! My poor heart. I’m just grateful his brother is fine, and ask that we all keep him in our prayers please?

Tony’s entry is lovely, really lovely, and then it’s so powerful, like punchline after punchline! It resonates with me in a lot of ways and encourages me in a lot of ways, and I know it will do just that for you too.

My name is Tony Atambi. I’m Nigerian (proudly so). I’m a lawyer who currently lives and works in Abuja; also a Christian gentleman.

As with every other person, at the beginning of the year 2015, I was all pumped up and ready to go. Felt like new vistas had been opened up to me and I was just going to cruise through. You know that feeling I speak about.

Errrm…Let’s just say as the year went on, motivation waned far too many times, I felt like I was stuck in a rut far too many times, not knowing with the slightest precision what to do next with my life. And so there were quite a number of times where, as a result of the worry arising from life not being in motion, I slid into depression.

Flowing from the above is the first major lesson I learnt in 2015;

  • Motion doesn’t equate progress. If you have ever tied motion (being up and about for up and about sake) with progress, you might wanna discard that thought. It is not valid. Being busy is simply what it is – Busy. Busy doesn’t necessarily mean progress. The guy trying to empty the Atlantic Ocean is busy but he will never make any progress.

On closer examination of my thoughts, I realized that I just wanted to be busy, regardless of whether it was productive or not. It pays sometimes to take a break and ask if you’re just running around or getting productive.

  • I learnt that my fears are not necessarily valid. In fact, I dare say fears are not valid. The fact that you fear something doesn’t confer it with the capacity to happen. There is no truth about fear. You fear what may or could happen. Yet it is never certain. So I find that sometimes, the things we fear are things we should really confront.

I’m immediately reminded of my brother who is fighting the insurgents in the North Eastern part of Nigeria. I used to be so afraid for his life, especially when we are inundated daily with stories of soldiers who are either missing or dead. But I realized that each time I call him, he’s always available to take my calls. So the fact that I feared that something could happen to him doesn’t mean it did happen. Discard your fears. They are not valid.

Plus, nobody became a great success because they feared, anyway.

  • Most importantly, I learnt to be thankful to The One who has the master plan and to trust in that master plan. I’m a firm believer in the plan that God has for our lives. I didn’t see clearly, everything He has planned out. But this year, I took my trust in God a notch higher.

There are an array of things I’m grateful for. But here are a few.

  • Peace of mind. The outgoing year brought along a few storms but in the midst of it all, I had the peace that could only have come from a supernatural place. God, actually. And so even when it seemed like the world was going to come crashing down on me, peace flooded my heart like a river.
  • I’m grateful for the beauty of falling in love (yeah, this is my emotional side) and being loved in return. 2015 brought along to me, a certain amazing lady and Lord knows, I’m in love. Baby, if you can see this, you know I love you to tiny little bits.
  • I’m grateful for second chances to start again. God has given me far too many of them. I wouldn’t give me that much grace if I was God. LOL.
  • I’m grateful for the grace to always speak a word in season that blesses someone. Every now and then, I put out tweets that serve to minister to and encourage people. I get very positive feedback all the time. In my little corner, God has used me to bring His word to people. He takes all the glory.

One thing I’d undo in 2015 is stalling the execution of a few plans. But hey…2016 is right around the corner and I hope to reach for higher accomplishments. We can now clink glasses and drink to an even more amazing 2016!

tony atambi

What a gentleman! Unfortunately ladies, this one here’s taken! Here’s to an amazing 2016 Tony, please invite us to eat jollof rice next year o, God bless you!

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Merry Christmas to you and yours. Depending on who/where/what you are, this season might either be the “most wonderful time of the year”, or just another day filled with dread, rancour, or even worse, nothingness.

I’ve spent the last 20 odd minutes browsing through social networks as people exchange the warmest greetings with friends, family, and loved ones. And it made me think that there might be some who at this time won’t be unwrapping gifts from Santa, heading out for a day of festivities (maybe debauchery), or staying home to host the tons of people who will visit to share a laugh, drink, and a bite (and maybe a pressie or two). And so this is my message to you, you, and you.

Here’s my list, you’re welcome to add to it.

1. Nigeria’s security forces, especially the rank and file, and even more for the ones serving in the North East. Merry Christmas to you keepers of our land (second to God of course), first in line for whatever havoc Boko Haram and other evil entities think up per time. Especially under the poorest of conditions, the most demotivating remuneration, and appalling, unacceptable gear. The petty extortion on the roads, allegations of human rights abuses, appearance of cluelessness on the one hand, on the other you are our heroes. And to the ones who were sentenced to death for mutiny (apparently more soldiers have been added to the number), you’re in my thoughts and prayers.

2a. Internally displaced persons, who by no fault of theirs, have become refugees in their own land. Merry Christmas to you now without homes/farmland/livelihood, now dependent on the selflessness of groups like #SantaGoesToYola #ChristmasOnTheStreetz (God bless you guys), and the pungent hypocrisy of politicians who only visit for the photo ops. I cannot imagine the pain and suffering, I cannot imagine the questions you sleep and wake with every day, I won’t even try to imagine the conditions you currently face, despite the fact that you have state governors, house of assembly members, local government chairmen, and all the others who from the comfort and safety of their plush mansions in Abuja condemn the insurgency.

2b. Families who have lost brethren to the insurgency. Is it ok to say Merry Christmas? Whatever could be merry about it? From October 2010 and the bombing at Eagle Square, families have sent off their loved ones to work/school/play in the morning, only to receive their lifeless, decapitated bodies in the evening. Some have not been fortunate to receive more than a body part, some others, nothing at all. Where do I start from? Is it the Buni Yadi boys? Or the ones blown up while standing at morning assembly at Government Technical Science College in Potiskum? The hapless ones who got blown up in mosques, churches, bus parks, markets, malls? My thoughts and prayers are with you today and everyday.

3. Parents of the Chibok Girls. We must never forget there have been many kidnapped before these girls taken on the 14th of April, and many taken after (less than 10 days ago it was 185 taken from Gumsuri, a village near Chibok, also in Borno state). Eight months after, it’s moved from windy tales to the ‘only thing that matters’ – the elections in 2015. Never mind that Boko Haram might be breeding an army (one of the girls who escaped was four months pregnant in September, that there are chilling stories of how many times they get raped), and that these girls are walking shells of confusion, hurt and psychological trauma. All that matters to our government is getting re-elected in 2015, whether there are any of us left to vote or not. I am not a parent, but I felt separation anxiety for a toddler on his first days at school; I cannot imagine your grief (which has killed some), or your disappointment in this Nigeria we call ours.

4. Dr Stella Adadevoh’s family. Very special mention must be made of this strong, principled daughter of God who single-handedly (shame on the government for accepting the praise for her work and then wheedling out of giving her a national honor) put a plug in what would have become the biggest outbreak of Ebola this year. You (literally) died so we could live. You are our hero. Today, and always. Merry Christmas to the family you left behind.

5. Nigerians. Merry Christmas to us, wherever we are. We weathered another year, bumps, warts, and all, and must (all things considered), appreciate the fact that we are alive to see another year come to an end. Some of us have lost friends and family to disease or natural causes (rest in peace Lami, aunty NK), children have been born; loves have been won or lost, life has been what it has been to us. Devaluation of the naira, extreme insecurity, abysmal electricity, and the general feeling of hopelessness aside, we’re here. Still here. And it is at least one thing to be grateful for.

Merry Christmas.

I’m starting a ‘one word series’ with a dear friend who’s learning to write better. The basic idea we’re working on is to take any word and spin 600 words around it. I thought it would be good for me too so here goes…

When I hear ‘soldier’, three things immediately come to mind, depending on where I am, and the circumstances under which I hear it.

The first thing could be ‘soldiers of Christ’ which we are always admonished to be at church. Being a soldier of Christ (and indeed any kind of soldier) requires quantum amounts of discipline, perseverance, endurance, and a very active determination to keep at it regardless of challenges that may come your way. Denying ourselves the pleasures of sin, sharing the Word with others, and more importantly leading lives worthy of emulation are part of our duties as good soldiers in the Lord’s army. 2 Timothy 2:3 says Take [with me] your share of the hardships and suffering [which you are called to endure] as a good (first-class) soldier of Christ Jesus.” (Amplified Bible – Lockman)

‘Soldier’ also takes me back to my childhood when I wanted to be one! I know, this my crazy, funny mind right? Amongst others, I went to a Police Children’s School in Ilorin, Kwara State, and I remember the driver of our school bus was known to us as ‘Oga Emma’; he was big and we all adored him. One day he was driving us home and at a traffic light a civilian who had been driving rough and insulting him pulled up beside us. Oga Emma (dressed in his Police gear) got down from the bus, went over to his side, and used his boots to ‘brush’ the guy’s face. When we continued moving, he told all the now awestruck kids that if he was a soldier his boots would have been bigger and he would have given the guy a bigger ‘brushing’. I was eight years old at the time, and there and then, I decided I was going to be a soldier so I could have ‘big boots’.

On to the third; a friend in high school was the last child of her parents. She had three elder brothers, with six years between her and her immediate elder brother. She was my friend, and would always refer to her brothers as her soldiers. And yes, she was very troublesome!! In JSS2 she was already driving and in my mind was the coolest kid ever. We all have our stories but that’s where I started referring to boys as soldiers; especially when one family has only them.

Amongst the many characteristics that soldiers should possess, ‘others before self’ ranks high on my list. Whether as a soldier for Christ or in carrying out their duties (not like our Oga Emma o), soldiers have the mind-set that they are there to serve, obey, and defend, and to the best of their ability. They will endure uncomfortable and even dangerous circumstances without complaining, never taking their eyes off the ball.

That’s why you can’t ever have ‘baby soldiers’ (except they’ve been forcefully co-opted into an army by the likes of Joseph Kony and the LRA but that’s a tale for another day). The needs and wants of babies trump everything and everyone else, and they’ll make life unbearable for everyone till they are satisfied. For them, it’s ‘me first’ and then the world can either come second or just go to blazes.

So, two things; what’s your own soldier story? And are you a baby or a soldier?

P:S – Happy Mother’s Day to the soldier with the largest heart I’ve ever known, my darling mother!! God bless you richly, and keep you to see the fruits of your labor in Jesus name!! We love you loads!

P:S – one of us needs a soldier now…. His name is Okeoghene Ighwiwotho and he’s diabetic, has been for going on 10 years now. On the 24th of March 2006, he suffered an injury that’s refused to heal and has slowly consumed his feet. He was supposed to have surgery in January this year but he needs 5 million naira for that to happen. He can be reached through the phone number, 08063255842 and his banking details are Ighiwoto Okeoghene John (0012913007 – GTB) or Ighiwoto Okeoghene John (2054468076 – UBA). God bless you as we stand up for this young man!