A (Learning) moment with my dad.

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

And when we bring what is within us into the world, miracles happen.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882)
American Essayist & Poet


I had a late lunch this afternoon. Just back from the second school-run of the day with the good woman of the house, I was soon settled down to a sumptuous meal. What else will one eat now? Eba and soup the most ubiquitous staple food on this side of the planet. Occupying the throne end of the dining table and slowly slicing away at the modest heap, Willy was soon at my side. Rambunctious and as inquisitive as ever, I was just thinking within myself, “Willy, what again? Allow me to finish this meal in peace now before badgering me with your latest question or findings” Undaunted by my quiet internal rumblings, he was all smiles and infectious excitement as he edged to my side by the dining table.

IMG_3607 (2)(Mfon, Willy, Emma)

WILLY: Daddy do you know that the area of the earth is 510,000,000 kilometers square?

DADDY: No I don’t. Where did you get that information?

(Within me, I was wondering if that was his latest discovery from our monthly always arriving several months late issues of National Geographic.)

WILLY: I went to our school library today. I read a book on geography. That was where I learnt it

(I immediately google “area of the earth” on my phone. Area of the earth as obtained from Google search is 510,072,000. When I pointed out the slight difference to him, he replied me, “OK.”)

DADDY: The value you obtained was just an approximation, but you are correct all the same.

WILLY:  Thank you.

DADDY: Do you understand the implication of that figure. I mean the value of the area of the earth?

WILLY: Yes I do. It means that the surface area of the earth is very large. What else could it mean now?

DADDY: OK, let me finish my meal. I will explain what it means to you afterwards.

WILLY: Okaaay.

(No matter how delicious the food may taste, the feast must eventually come to an end, by and by. Retiring into my bedroom, I invited Willy to join me.)

DADDY: Wiiiiillly,  come with a blank paper and biro!

WILLY: OK, I’m coming.

(Entering the room and using the floor tiles for illustrations, I proceeded to explain the concept of the area of an object. Proceeding, I explained how a square can have the same area as a rectangle, a circle or any other shape, regular or irregular.

DADDY: So Willy when you read that the surface area of the earth is 510,000,000 kilometers square, it means that if you can peel out the surface of the earth and lay the peels flat (like the peels you obtained from a skinned orange), the area you obtain will be the same as that of a square with a side approximately 22,583 kilometers long.

I now proceed to show him how to obtain this value mathematically.

DADDY: Do you understand?


DADDY: Are you sure.

WILLY: Yes. Daddy, that square must be very big o.

DADDY: Yes. And it is on this “super giant square” that all the cities and countries of the world are located. You think of places like our own Port Harcourt city, Lagos,  New York;  continents like Africa, North & South America,  Europe,  Asia and Australia as well as all the oceans…. They are located on this same area.

(Willy stared on, lost in thought for a few more seconds. Not yet through with me and as if not to be undone, he bombarded me with his second discovery of the day.)

WILLY: The area of Africa is 30,335,000 kilometer square.

DADDY: Where did you learn that?

WILLY: Also from the same geography book now.

DADDY: And you can still recall that number by heart?


DADDY: I am not very good at recalling numbers. Why not write it down on the paper for me?

(Willy wrote the figure for the area of Africa on paper and continued his recitation. Afterwards, we continue our discussions.)

DADDY: Can you express the area of Africa as a percentage of the surface area of the earth?

WILLY: Yes. I can.

DADDY: How will you do that?

WILLY: By dividing the area of Africa by the surface area of the earth and multiplying it by 100.

DADDY: Good. Show me.

(Willy now proceeded to do his calculation. He was correct. With excitement and pleasantly surprised, we did high fives with clenched fists. The excitement is still on. Try and quench it if you can.)

WILLY: Africa is approximately 6% of the whole earth by surface area.

DADDY: Do you understand what the answer, “Africa is approximately 6% of the earth surface” means?

(The young man continued to stare on in befuddled amazement, not very sure of himself.)

DADDY: OK, this is what it means…

(I now proceeded to sketch a rough meshed grid of 100 (10 X 10) squares on the paper and shaded six out of these squares.)

DADDY: If these 100 boxes represent the surface area of the earth, the 6 shaded squares represent our continent Africa. The remaining 94 unshaded squares represent the other continents, North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and all the oceans of the world – Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Mediterranean, Antartic and Arctic. Now looking at the squares, can you express the area of the earth as a ratio of our own continent Africa.



WILLY:  By dividing 100 by 6.

DADDY: Stop, stop, stop. You are correct. Even if you don`t complete the answer, I am convinced that you know how to get there. So, I will score you 100%. Now proceed with the calculator app on my tab and do it. Make sure you hold it well so it doesn’t slip from your hand and get broken o. He now proceeded to start the RealCalc app.

WILLY: ok.

DADDY: And that comes down to what value?

WILLY: OK. The answer is 16.7 (Approximately ratio 16.7 to 1)

DADDY: And do you understand what it means?

WILLY: (Again, staring on in silence, lost in thought … )

DADDY: It means that the total surface area of the earth is 16.7 times as large as the surface area of our continent Africa. It also means that when you multiply the surface area of Africa by 16.7 times, you will have the area of the earth. How many of Africa land area can you “extract” from the surface area of the earth? Approximately “16.7 Africas”

(Another round of high fives passed between the son and his dad. Mummy eventually joined us in the room peering over my shoulders to read my write-up.)

MUMMY: You still have not finished? It’s time for us to go to church o. Nobody must go late. We really don’t have any excuse for that. Do we?

DADDY:  OK I’ve heard you. I am already finishing my first draft. I will tidy it up and complete the write-up when we get back home from the church.

I closed my Note 3 and Galaxy Tab S. Shortly afterwards, we all trouped to the church. The day ended beautifully and wonderfully well.



When it’s time for play, the young chap (along with his brother Mfon and their friend Emma) goes at it as if all is play to no end. Like every kid growing up in the age of Facebook & mobile games, many a time I have to pry him off his mum’s hand set to stop his binge playing of mobile games on the smartphone. But don’t be fooled, once he overcome his inertia, he attacks his studies with the same gusto as he does when at play. Many a time, you will finally find him asleep over his books or long at work on his pet project. His mum said the guy is just his dad in that area. A heart-warming compliment. I hope the young chap will filter out my foibles as he carry on.

On the match again.

We will rise again.

Undaunted Willy - 2010

20150502_073622 (2)



This blog post was originally written on the second day after I was let-off from work. Redundancy is what the company’s management gave as their reason. And as if to rub pepper and salt into the recently fresh “injury”, I, yes I made the mistake of mysteriously deleting the original blog post from my WordPress blog site. The synchronized versions in my OneNote went AWOL as well. The same disaster was replicated on the ColorNote I use on my two androids. Giving up was not an option. I had to recollect the original write-up as best as I could and recommence this writing immediately – this time resolving to do it the old hard faithful analog way. This afternoon, I was searching for a file on my android when the original draft for this blog miraculously re-surfaced.  And O, what a sweet relief. Combining the analog with the electronic version, the post quickly came through in a breeze. All is well that ends well. All will still be well. All will still end well.

Originally written on 14-May-2015


Becoming Best of Friends


Friendship is what keeps your marriage relationship
going longer than anything else does. Once a while when passion grows cold, as they are bound to, the understanding that comes with being best of friends is what will keep your relationship with your spouse fresh and up-to-date. Recently, a woman wrote, “Do all marriages go stale after 25 years? Ours has. We used to talk about our kids; but now they’re grown, and we’re out of conversations. I have no major complaints, but the old excitement is gone. We watch a lot of television and we read a lot. And we do have friends that we get together with. But when we’re all alone together it’s pretty dull. Is there some way to recapture that old magic?” Actually, the problem with this woman’s marriage is lack of friendship. Best friends talk about everything, not just children or family finances, ministry or merchandise. They talk about everything, not just for the fun of it, but because they are so blended together that their conversations are not forced. They flow so naturally. Imagine the way it was with you and your childhood friend; how the two of you would be together for hours unending, and wouldn’t even recollect what you spent those hours discussing, because you said a lot to each other that you’d lost track of. That’s the way you and your spouse should be-—real intimate friends.

From:  Christian Women Mirror – October 2013

You’ve got a problem? Sleep over it.

Life is full of challenges. At home you may have issues with your spouse. Or it could be that your once cherubic innocent kid suddenly “grew horns”, and metamorphosed into a  recalcitrant and intractably truculent  teenager. At other times, you have issues with colleagues who suddenly became noncooperative. You may be at the receiving end of bad office-politics or some demigod of a boss.  How do you confront and surmount these challenges? 
First, you need to understand that there are some things you don’t have control over. So your worry warts are not going to change anything. For instance, you can not change the situation of politics and “budget-cliff” situation in USA. So, why should you worry about it? Yes, it is true that in the global village we live in, what happens in America (or any other part of the world) can have very significant impacts on us here. Agreed. But then, what immediate power do you have to change things in USA for instance? If none, why must you destroy yourself through worry and anxiety?
Secondly, there are some things you can really control – most especially our attitudes and the way we respond to issues. As, we work on these, the concerns we don’t have control over begin to fall into their proper perspectives and places. Simultaneously, we are better prepared to deal with them in a more congenial non life and peace-threatening way.
Finally, – and this is the main thrust of this article – at times, the best first-iteration-solution to any problem is to just sleep over it. Of course I do not mean the ostritch head in the sand kind of attitude. Yes, this idea is not original to me. In fact, some of you might have been practicing this even without knowing it.
A lot of things happen, when we have, or, give ourselves the chance to sleep over some problems, both petty and and not so petty ones, that are bogging us down.
One, by the time you wake up the following morning, those circumstances and issues that were keeping you restless yesterday might have become less aggravating . Even if they haven’t, your perspective on those issues might have changed over the night. This changed perspective of yours more often than not sharpen your wits and judgement thereby equipping you with the ability to grapple with your concerns and problems in a less enervating way.

In fact, you may discover to your greatest surprise, what seemed so important last night may be much less so by the time you wake up the following morning.

So, next time those recusant problems, challenges and concerns come your way, just make time to sleep over them. You will be amazed at the solutions you might come up with in the morning.

You’ve got any problem? Go and sleep over it first.

A head-cap, a heirloom and a story.

In preparation for the Sunday church service, I was chatting with my wife. Addressing myself to her, I inquired, “which dress I’m I even going to wear for tomorrow’s church worship service self?” Before, she came forth with a suggestion, I opined, “I think I will wear any of those my wax prints. I will also like to use that my “green-cap” – the one I inherited from my late dad.” I now proceeded to retrieve the cap from the wardrobe. I tried the cap on before my mum who was playing and passing the time with her grand children.


                  (Me @ 28)

The kids were all laughing and grinning as I put on the seemingly, to them, out-of-fashion cap. On seeing the cap on my head, my mum smiled, a knowing, reminiscing smile, “so this cap is still in existence?

That is the cap your dad wore on the day we got married. Actually, he was using it even before we got married.”


(My mum & dad on their wedding day.)

I now proceeded to display the wedding picture that my dad and mum took on the day of their wedding fifty something years ago.

A scanned copy of that wedding picture (I got it from my uncle’s album) is permanently resident on all my mobile devices. With my mum, the kids and my wife, pouring over the picture displayed on my  Samsung Galaxy S3 while taking turns to admire the cap, irredentist Willy retorted,


         (Willy with his mum)


      (My wife with my mum)

“Daddy it’s like grandma got married when she was very young o.” To which I replied, “Yes she got married when she was very young. Probably, while she was still less than twenty.” I asked my mum,
“How old were you when you married my dad?” To which she replied, “I cannot remember my exact age then, but I gave birth to you after about two years of my marriage to your dad.’

This cap was worn by my late dad over 50 years ago when he and my mum tied the nuptial chord. Except for the slight fading-off of the original colours, it is still as sturdy and resillient looking. The cap looks as if it will last for at least another 50 years, provided it is not manhandled, mutilated or stolen.


             (Obong – then)


(Obong a.k.a Valiant – today)

Written on 18-August-2013

Replay: The Law of Unintended Consequences

The other day, my oldest son did
something wrong and I had to rebuke him sharply and immediately with a stern
rebuke. The following day, he reported me to his mum, “Mummy, the place that
daddy slapped me the other day is still paining me o.” Later in the night, my
wife interrogated me. “So, you slapped your son?” To which I replied, “Yes I
did and I will repeat it again if I have to.” “Well, your son said he is having
ear-pain on the side of the face where you slapped him.” “Hmm, but I never envisaged that ear-pain
could result from my “dirty-slap”. Forgive me friends. I never contemplated
that the “dirty-slap” could result in ear pain.

What did the boy do? He was
eating in the church not long after we resumed the Sunday service before the
commencement of the message delivered by the Sunday-School teacher. His mum had
earlier stopped him from having his breakfast that morning, insisting that all
the adults in the house ought to be able to go for the church service and
return home (around mid-day) before having their first meal of the day. You can
call it fasting or otherwise. Also, on other occasions, I had previously warned
him against eating or chewing his mouth in the church during church services.

The pain in the ear subsided not
long afterwards and all is now well with my boy. While it lasted, was I
concerned for the chap’s ear and the pain resulting from the slap he received
from me? Sure I did. Well, all is well that ends well. Thanks be to God. Yes, I
can hear you saying, “Hey, Chris take it easy next time.” Sure, I will.

This chain of events and their
aftermath set me thinking of *our actions,
the consequences of our actions as well as the unintended consequences of our
actions. *OK reader; just follow the train of events. You get what I mean? I
then reason about the unintended consequences that usually result from the
actions we take. I am not a philosopher, but I thought about it long and deep. May be I have come across *the law of unintended consequences* before, but I cannot remember
exactly where. I then decided to google the term *– the law of unintended consequences*. And sure as can be, a flood
of essays and writings began to surface – millions of them. You can read the
essay – [Unintended
Consequences](http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/UnintendedConsequences.html) by Rob Norton in the
online Concise Encyclopaedia of Economics. Also, you can read the essay [What is Seen and
What is Not Seen](http://www.econlib.org/library/Bastiat/basEss1.html) by Frederic Bastiat.

So friends, let us always think
of the consequences of our actions and choices, because there is a law called
the law of unintended consequences. According to Stephen Covey, “you cannot
take up one end of a stick without taking up the other end as well.”

Agreed, we already know that, but
how often do we remember it?

My princess & I


        Me & Oonere – 2005

“Daddy are you the one that took Americanah from my table?”
“Yes, I’m the one.”
“I want to read it.”
“I`m not giving it to you.
No, I`m not giving it to you.”
That was the retort from me in response to Oonere`s request that I loan her Chimamanda’s latest novel – Americanah. “The last of her books I loaned you, you spoilt the edges, so I an not loaning you this one (for now). At least not until I finish reading it myself.”
“But daddy, I am not the one that spoilt the edges of Half A Yellow Sun.”
“OK, I’ve heard you, but I am not giving it to you (now). Afterall, we have four of her books and you are yet to finished all the other titles. At any rate, you are still writing your exams. When you finish your exams you can come back for it.”
I picked up Ngozi Chimamanda Adichie`s Americanah at Lagos Airport last Thursday. Isn’t it amusing? My little girl of yesterday has started dragging novels with her dad.


Oonere with her cousin Eniola – 2013

Find out Willy’s latest quest.


This morning, the same chap who asked for my mum’s name and its meaning the other day came to ask for the meaning of the name he has been bearing since the day he was born. While dressing up to go to school, Willy confronted me with his latest quest.
Son: “Daddy, what is the meaning of my surname?”
Daddy: “My father’s name can have two different interpretations depending on how you pronounce it. Both interpretations have excellent meanings that you will really like.”
I now proceeded with the two pronounciations and the corresponding interpretation of each.
Daddy: “Do you like the interpretations?”
Son: “Yes, I do. Thank you.”
Daddy: “You might as well write down the meanings so that you will not forget them.”
Son: “Yes, I will.”

“Grandma, what is your name?”


Last evening, Willy wanted to know my mum’s (his granny’s) name.

Son : “Daddy, what is grandma’s name?”

Dad: “Grandma is there, go and ask her.”

Son: “Daddy, granny has told me her name. Is that a Yoruba name?”

Dad: “Yes, it is.”

Son: “Daddy can you spell it for me?”

Dad: “No, I won’t spell it for you. You just try and spell it yourself. You spell it the way you pronounce the alphabets in the name.”

Willy, eventually spelt his granny’s name correctly. Again, back to daddy he came.
Son: “Daddy, what is the meaning of grandma’s name?

Dad: “Grandma is there go and ask her yourself. Every name borne by every occupant of this house has a meaning. Ask grandma to tell you the meaning of her name.”

Son: “OK, I will ask her later.”

Dad: “William, can you tell me the meaning of your name?”

Son: “Yes I can, the meaning of my name is …”

Dad: “That is correct. Good night son.”

Son: “Good night daddy.”