The Saxophonist

She caught my attention. Her face was unmistakable. This is the face I saw yesterday. Yesterday was on the penultimate day of our annual Deeper Life Bible Church National December Retreat for the year 2019. Late yesterday evening, I was moving from one group to another, to capture more interesting shots. I was now in the children’s church. The children choir were rendering a special number. The choir coordinator, a boy of about twelve years, was standing on an elevated bench. It was already dark. But even with poorly lit stage, the joy and the passion of her heart shone through her lively eyes as her fingers deftly plucked out soul thrilling hymns from her saxophone.

Today, our retreat program ended. I was moving through the cavernous auditorium of the church building. It was then I spotted her outside near the printing press. She was at her thing again, playing some tunes to a lively audience slowly milling round her. Their average age was about the same as hers. I was to learn later on that she is just twelve years old.

It was then, I inquired from her.
“You were the one I saw at the children choir orchestra yesterday? ”
“Yes, I was the one.”
Leaning on the wall, I prodded her to play on while I admiringly snapped away with my Canon Powershot. After several frame shots, I removed my Infinix Zero 5. Still encouraging her to play on, I told her that I intended to video her. She graciously obliged me, tidied up her black skirt and blouse and get her headscarf tied on. Her petite figure with her simple dress matched perfectly with her golden music instrument.

One after the other, the songs started streaming out of her instrument deftly under the control of her fingers. Occasionally, a slight disapproving grimace show on her face when her instrument fail to cooperate. But she carried on graciously with unrelenting persistence.
“Whatsoever, you do the least of my brethre, that you do unto me… ”
Next comes one of the church’s favourite songs, “… Jesus, only, Jesus ever, Jesus all in all we sing … ” Still more songs were to pour out later.

A few more minutes later, it was time for me to move on. But her mesmerizing tunes lingered in my heart. Turning to her in appreciation, I asked, “Can I have your mum’s number? I will send her this video clip along with the other shots. ” Her elder sister wrote their mum’s name and number for me.
“Make sure it is a WhatsApp number.”
Her younger sister, quipped in, “My mum phone is a small one.”
“OK, send me your dad’s number.”
“My dad is not at home. He travelled.”
“Give me his number all the same. I will send him these shots. He will be much delighted to see her beautiful daughter playing raoturously on her sax.”
Pausing for a moment, she turned her bright beautiful eyes momentarily on me. Demurely, her voice came through. “I don’t have a father. My father is late.” No emotion or any desire to solicit for pity at all, her radiant smiling face was unfazed. I consoled her, “I’m so sorry that your dad is no more. God Almighty will surely take care of you.” Walking away from her, I reflectively felt the pain of this pretty orphan Christian girl – now my Christian Sister – the saxophonist. How happy and proud of her talented daughter, the father would have felt if he were to be around to see her little girl of yesterday enlivening audiences with glorious songs.

I got back to the Information Unit’s office. Alas the pictures I took with the Powershot were nowhere to be found. The camera was warning me of the memory card absence all along, but I never pay attention. I was too carried away. I forgot to return the memory card back to its slot in the camera after the last time I used it with the card reader. All the pictures shown here are screen grabs from the video clip, I recorded with my Infinix Zeri 5 smartphone.

AFTERWORD: Her mother was in the Church as well. I asked her to lead me to her mum. She wasn’t immediately within reach. Later on, she came with her mum to the unit where I was working. I show her the pictures and video clip of her daughter playing on her sax. Tutua plays sax. Her mum plays the violin. Same goes for all her sibblings excep her younger sister.

We quarrel, and at times fight. But, we always settle, play & have so much fun together.


5 APRIL 2019, 04:34 pm
A short while ago, he joined me in the parlour. “I’m washing your car.” O, my Willy, you are such a wonderful good boy.” Thank you and God bless you.” “Willy, you are my friend. Right, let’s do high fives.” With that done, he was soon out to play again. Not long afterwards, while I was still seated in the parlour, directly opposite the main entrance door, I wasn’t sure if Willy was inside or in the shop with his friends. So I called out;

ME: Willyyy?
Willy: I’m cleaning your shoes.
Stepping out and catching him doing something good. Willy was hard at it. He was busy cleaning my second pairs of sandals, the blue coloured pair, with his wet clean boxers. He pointed at the first pairs he ha already cleaned. These are my “Jerusalem” sandals. I’ve been using both pairs for over four years now

ME: Oh, thank you God bless you. You are such a good boy.

Recovering the wet boxers from him, I flinged it at Emma with instructions for him to wash it. Soon afterwards, I coaxed him to sleep, You see, Willy and his “grandpa”. The duo of us constitute a multitude. Never a boring moment. We quarrel, and at times fight. But, we always settle, play and have so much fun together. What more can I ask for.

The Comparison Trap

Praise George

There is something in human nature that makes us want to compare ourselves with others. We tend to rate our lives with the lives of those around us, with people we are close to or familiar with, to measure our progress and success in life. Many people assess their lives by the quality of the lives of their peers, class mates or colleagues at work. If they think they are better than these people, they feel good with themselves but if they think those people are better than them, they feel bad and become dissillusioned and dissatisfied with their lives.

The bible says in 2Corinthians 10:12, For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. KJV
The New Living Translation says: Oh, don’t worry; we wouldn’t dare say…

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There is a Reason

Praise George

Judges 6:6
And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites; and the children of Israel cried unto the Lord.

When the economy of a nation is under performing, it impoverishes the people.
When the natural resources of a nation are unexplored because the people are too intellectually lazy, it impoverishes the people.
When the economic opportunities, possibilities of a nation are not taken advantage of, it impoverishes the people in that nation.
When a siege is laid against the economic resources of a nation it impoverishes the people. 2Kings 6.
When the resources of a nation are pilfered or pillaged by inside or outside forces, it impoverishes the nation.

This passage of scripture shows us that poverty doesn’t just happen. There is a cause, there is a reason behind every form of impoverishment.

Bad situations don’t just happen. Negative occurrences in our lives do not give birth to themselves…

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America on his mind. (And the challenge of our times.)


It was just two days before the last Christmas. It was getting late. Willy was engrossed mending an old big map. It was one of those huge maps that National Geographic Society is well known for – a fold-in map from an old edition of the National Geographic magazine. Several old copies of the magazine are scattered all over the house. Two sheets of this map, made in the form of a cloth are almost large enough for an average adult to make a decent shirt  out of. The map was still in good shape except for some few slashes here and there due to frquent folding and unfolding. Willy had to spend ample time mending  the torn big map. To this end, he has previously bought a big cellotape from a nearby store. The borrowed pair of scissors from his mum also came in handy. This is usually his style any time he finds a pet project to occupy his time. His mum said that the boy is like me in this area. All focus and concentration. The boy reminds me of those days back at Ososo Grammar School and later at Oyo State College of Arts and Science Ile Ife. Then, I used to explore the world – just reading and poring over maps in my college atlas. That was before the days of the world wide web. That was long before computers and laptops as we know them now were concieved and embraced en-masse. Both Yahoo and Google were still many years ahead – behemoths of the future,  yet to be born. The first job I got after my WASC/GCE OL was selling audio cassettes at one of those noisy open shops at Gbagi, Ibadan. One of the first things I bought from my first salary was a college atlas. That was long before what Professor Os Guinness in his book “Fools Talk”, described as the modern Weapons of Mass Distraction  (WMD).These weapons of mass distraction if you don’t know them are in their legions – Google Whatsapp, Skype, BBM, Yahoo IM, Telegram etc, etc


Daddy: “Willy, you’ve spent so much time repairing a “broken map” of USA and cramming the names of all the 50 states in US, can you even tell me the names of all the 36 states in Nigeria by heart?”
Willy: “Yes. That is easy now. I can name all of them along with their capital cities.”
Daddy: “I’m sure I can do the same too if I really have to. When I was your age, Nigeria had only 12 states… ”

Late in the evening of the following day, resuming from where he stopped yesterday, Willy has itemized the list of almost all the states that make up US in his notebook. Hawaaii and Alaska were also included in the large spread out map.  He has written down all the names of the states of US correctly (along with their capital cities). All except for the state of Rhode Island. At long last , tracing his finger towards the North East section of the large map, he exclaimed with excitement.
“Daddy, is Rhode Island also a state?”
“Yes, it is. On the map, the state is very small, that is why you were not able to locate it quickly.”
Willy: “The area is very small. It’s about the size of Rivers State.”
Daddy: “I think Rhode Island is even smaller than Rivers State.”
Willy: “Daddy,  I can mention almost all the states by heart.”
Daddy: “Are you sure you can do that?”
Willy: “Yes.”
Daddy: “Sure? OK. Will President Obama, Bill Gates or any American citizen give you an award for naming all the states of their country correctly without looking at your map?  You had better go and find some better thing to do with your time instead of cramming the name of the states in US.
And don’t forget to cellotape together the large slashed out hole in the centre of the map. Doing so will help the map to last longer.
On my own part, I’ve been through only 3 of US states. I’ve been through the states of Texas, Oklahoma and Illinois. Do you know that Texas is larger than Nigeria in terms of land area? Texas and California are the two largest states. You can even see that from the map.”
Willy: “Daddy…”
Dad: “Yes son?”
Willy: “How do you pronounce this state M-a-s-s-a-c-h….
Dad: “That is Massachussetts.”
Willy: “Okaaay.”
Dad: “One of the most famous universities in the world – Massachussetts Institute of Technology is located there.”
Mercy: “That is “MIT””
Daddy: “It is not pronounced MIT (as in meat), the alphabets are pronounced individually M-I-T.”
Mercy: “I know.”
Now addressing myself to Willy, “you had better start putting in more efforts towards your Maths. You never can tell. May be one of these days, you will find yourself at the MIT.”
Willy: “OK.”
He was grinning from ear to ear and finally walking away from the map still left open on the plastic table.

So here is my son working hard to fix a “broken map” of America. And I said to myself, it seems that this America don’t even know who their true friends are. And what do you expect when you don’t even know who your friends are? Why won’t you be running from pillar to post when you cannot differentiate between your true friends and your sworn enemies?
And I said to myself further on, if only there were more of our youth who will commit themselves to mending this broken and battered nation of ours – Nigeria. Let’s commit ourselves to this goal in this year 2016 and going forward. That’s is the challenge of our times. Willy’s Challenge.


Whatever it is that life throws at you…


I was in the taxi on my way back to PHC from Obigbo the other day. Seated behind the driver, I had only one chance to capture this shot on my sluggish camera phone. Just one chance and the whole thing was gone!

Zoom in on the shot and catch what I caught. That, “In the school of experience, there is no graduation.”

So, whatever it is that life throws at you, make sure you keep on learning. Yes, you can always learn, grow and profit by whatever life flings your way.