Friday 7 February 2014

Jide's SHS Story

Jide is working for a leading consultancy in Lagos with great prospects for career progression. Infact, Mr. B, his boss has taken him under his wings and is determined to help him become the best he can be. Jide is happy to work for such a seasoned professional and looks back at the days when after NYSC, job hunting took him to the nooks & corners of the city seeking the golden fleece. He is thankful for the opportunity and knows it is a dream come true. That is why he will not allow anything including ill health stop him from giving his best as he cannot afford to disappoint his benefactor. He would have to literally be unable to move before he misses one day of work as he not only loves his job and has without fail showed up daily for the past five years.

Now, Jide is getting married to his lady, Edidong who he met two years back in the course of one of their work at a client site. Content he has made the right choice, he is looking forward to their wedding scheduled for March 2014. On a bright & sunny day, Jide wakes up and cannot get out of bed. He wonders what's happening since he was perfectly fine though come to think of it, has been experiencing some intermittent chest pains for a while now. Since his office also provided good health cover, he decided to do a quick check thinking it will be just a visit only to hear Dr. Emeka say he is to be admitted for close monitoring.

Two days after, Dr. Emeka comes into Jide's private room paid for by the office and he wears a sad look. Jide assumes it must be some other case of his that is bogging him since he is expecting the good doctor to say 'you have been discharged'. Edidong is by his bedside too and they both looking expectantly, wait for the Dr. Emeka to speak. Clearing his throat, he begins to ask a series of routine questions like do you smoke?, do you drink alcohol?, when was your last HIV test? Jide is getting upset with the line of questions and snaps 'Doc, you've got my medical history so why all these questions?.' Dr Emeka gazes at him and after an uncomfortable silence says 'I don't want to shock you but you have got cancer of the lungs'.

What! Jide exclaims. That is impossible. Turning to Edidong, he seeks clarification. How can this be? Dr. Emeka speaks further the further tests I ordered two days ago just can in and this is the prognosis. Now, we have to decide on a course of action. Jide not willing to let matters slide states to the good doctor, there must be an error with the result. Dr. Emeka with a sober countenance says he had the lab doing the test thrice.
Edidong speaks for the first time to Dr. Emeka 'Are you sure, doctor?' What is the cause of this? Smoking came the reply. Now, Jide is baffled. I have never smoked once in the my life so, there must be a mistake here. Surely, there is a mix-up somewhere.

Speaking further, Dr. Emeka replies if you don't smoke, do you have people around you either now or in the past who do regularly? Jide is quick to answer NO! then he pauses deep in thought. For you see, his beloved mentor, Mr. B is a die-hard smoker and cannot be separated from his cigarettes. What about his dad who while he loved dearly till he died but was also addicted to smoking. Surely, they were the ones smoking & not him so what is the connection? SHS came the doctor's reply.

Quite a number of us are aware of the dangers of smoking on our body but few of us know of the extended impact smoking carries through SHS on people who are not smokers but are exposed to cigarette smoke and thus, inhale it as other folks around them puff away either in the workplace, at home, in school or elsewhere.

So, you see, while smoking is a lifestyle choice. One person's choice has been proven to no longer affect just him/her as when it comes to smoking, the field of influence is anybody & everybody around the smoking zone.

Therefore, it is critical that you & I support the Tobacco Control cause that has implications for all of us. Lets take a big step towards preserving the lives of Nigerian citizens TODAY  as we urge the National assembly to follow suit by assenting to the pending National Tobacco (Control) Bill passed since 2011.

Join us in making this strong appeal for the National Assembly to pass this bill, follow us on twitter, add your voice by visiting our facebook page, like our post, drop your comments and share widely with others. Together we can make the change that we all desire.

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Jide's SHS story is a fictitous human angle story. All characters are creation's of the author entirely and bear no semblance to known persons.

Monday 3 February 2014

The problem called "Pride"

I was looking at my Instagram a few days ago and I saw an ad for the 15th Annual NFL Super Bowl Gospel Celebration at the Madison Square Garden Theatre and for some reason I just had this persistent urge to get the tickets and go.  As many of you may know, I am really not an event or concert kind of person. I would rather just be at home with my children, but this time it was different. I was not sure if it was because some of my favourite gospel musicians were going to perform or just because I had not been out in a while.
Long story short I got the tickets, went for it and believe me, that was one of the best decisions of my life because at that concert I saw something that I know would change my life forever. What good will it be if i keep it to myself and not share with other people that may need to hear this message to make a change in their life for the better.

When I got into the venue I was really excited. The thought of watching Grammy Award-Winning Musical Artists Patti Labelle, Mary Mary, Natalie Grant, Tamela Mann, Donnie McClurkin and NFL Players both active and retired, The NFL Players Choir, Celebrity Guests; made me feel like a 7 year old boy whose parents had promised him they would get him as many action figures as he wants from Toys ‘r’ Us. I was elated both before the show and even more after.

Tamela Mann
All the artists performances were amazing and so overwhelming but in the midst of all the fun, laughter and worship, I  witnessed humility at its peak more than once.
From my seat I could see Donnie, Tamela and all the other celebrity guests seated in front. I also spotted Reverend Jesse Jackson; for those of you that may not know him please google him. He’s an American Civil Rights activist and a Baptist Minister. He is highly respected in America as he falls into the rank of Martin Luther King Jnr and other notable civil rights activists.

Now after the introduction I just gave and for those of you that googled him and read up on his life and things he has done, you
Rev. Jesse Jackson 
may expect me to say things like he sat there with an entourage of security, didn’t clap or move once for any of the performers or even acknowledge the presence of another person in the room but YOU ARE WRONG! Rev. Jesse Jackson showed me the true meaning of humility. Twice during the show he stood up from his seat, walked up to the front row to greet some of the performers. The first time he walked up to Donnie McCklurkin, shook his hand and they exchanged pleasantries and he left. The second time was after Candace who won the last American idol finished performing with Patti Labelle . He walked up to her, took her hand and kissed it then they talked for a bit and he left. He got up again to hug three people in the second row whom I am sure he didn't know that well.

I was stunned to say the least. Of all the people I have met and interacted with in this world (and trust me they are a lot), there are just about 3 people I have met that I have seen display such humility and one of them is Tuface Idibia.
As humble as I like to think I am, I doubt that my humility measures up to that which Rev Jesse Jackson showed at the concert.

Maddison Square Garden
After the amazing and uplifting concert, I couldn’t help but only ponder on what I saw. It got me thinking that when I get to that level in life, would I be that humble? So I asked myself "even with the little God has given me now, have I been as humble as He expects me to be?"

Many of us like to think that we are very humble people but the truth is that true humility can only be tested when a person is placed at a certain level in life. When you have endless riches, power, fame, blessings, everything! That's when you can truly  determine how humble you are.
Another thing that crossed my mind was, "could we still be where we are simply because God sees that if he puts us at that place we all want to be that we would loose our humility?"

As much as we like to deny it, we all have a bit of pride in us. Its as simple as you seeing someone who you had a problem with a while ago and when you see them you turn your head and act like you didn't even know they were there;  just because you are too proud to walk up to them and say hello and try to work out the issue. Even the simple statements we make “Why I should I be the first one to make a move", "I am older so she should apologize first," " If I get up and go to her, people will see her as the bigger star",  "Do you even know who I am”?  Pride.
Sometimes I imagine God watching us make such statements and wondering “Hmm, I haven’t even given you half of what I have in store for you and yet you speak this way, I wonder what will happen when I release it all to you”

Is it possible that because God sees we are not ready for all he has prepared for us thats why we are still where we are?
Its very important that we think about this deeply.

Think back to all those proud statements you’ve made and all the things you’ve done out of pride then think about where it is you want to be in life and see how pride is stopping you from unlocking all those dreams and aspirations.

As the popular saying goes “Pride comes before a fall” so permit me to be creative and say “Humility comes before a rise"