In a few weeks, the year 2023 will end with the usual end-of-year fanfare. Some people will travel from the cities to the countryside or out of their countries entirely to enjoy the Christmas season and make fresh plans for the New Year. For some entrepreneurs, it is the period for huge sales and sharp deals. The season for them is not all about merriment but about quick businesses and more revenue. Right now, organisations are making plans on how best to take advantage of the end-of-year season and position for the cash liquidity that characterises this period. The entertainment and hospitality industries are bustling right now with concerts and programmes designed to make the Christmas season and the end of year quite memorable.

However, for some others, it is a time of deep reflection and quiet plans for the next year. Some organisations are barely able to pay their staff and might be forced not just to end the year but to tighten their organisational size and operations. For them, there is not much excitement as the year ends and all they see is a lot of gloom ahead.

Whichever category you fall into, be kind to yourself. Be like the children; no matter what had transpired, whether they did well or poorly in their school examinations, whether their parents are smiling or frowning, a child sees this period as a time for bright fancy lights, gifts and trips to amazing places. They expect beautiful clothes, gourmet meals and lots of laughter. Learn from the children and embrace the merriment and joy that the season brings. Put aside the worries of the year and give yourself a few days of uncomplicated rest and calm. Laugh and relax, let go of the burden of financial worries and just breathe. Take your loved ones out for fun. Fortunately, this period, loud noisy fun costs very little. You can dance, laugh and eat … just let down your hair like never before and there won’t be a dent on your account.

If your year has been great, take time to relax and do something that is totally fun, let the stress evaporate. There is a lot that can be said for a calm mind. Great ideas come when you take a fresh look at an old issue. Inspiration to try again with a new resolve comes after a rest. In the place of relaxation, you can even meet people that would inspire you or/and invest in you.

I like to share the story of a real estate manager who had had a particularly bad year. It was this time of the year and in frustration and desperation, his employer laid off all the workers including this manager. It was a terrible end of year package. He got his severance pay and knew that the next year already had its problems and pressure pre-arranged. He decided to lay aside his worries for a while. He cancelled his planned trip out of Lagos for the festive period and resolved to enjoy the season and get mentally ready for the New Year. He was enjoying one of the open “Detti December” events when he ran into an older friend, a senior in high school. The man was excited to see him and immediately asked him if he could get 10 units of five bedroom houses in Lekki Phase One for immediate purchase. Of course our manager was very excited to get the opportunity. As he was searching for the houses, he was registering his own real estate company. The deal was very good; he did not only get a great commission, he got a renewable annual retainership to manage the houses for the group that bought them. His gloomy new year suddenly became quite brilliant.

This may sound like an unusual case of good luck but imagine what could have happened if he locked himself in the house bemoaning his predicament or if he wore his worries on his face.

Gloom repels fresh possibilities. Despair closes your eyes to glaring opportunities. People already have their own problems, they don’t want to get further weighed down by the darkness around you.

This festive period, make it mandatory to lay all concerns aside and relax. Take time to be grateful for the great benefits and profits, take time to be with your loved ones and do those things that you love but never could find time to do together. Make this December memorable for yourself and the people around you. Be kind.

Fatherhood with Ibe


Motunde and Teddy sat stiffly beside each other in my office, spades of hostility flying around them. I allowed them roast for a moment before I cleared my throat and put away the document that was in front of me. My secretary had brought in a tray with teacups, tea items and a saucer of biscuits. So far no one had touched it. I asked Motunde to pour for us. She poured a cup for me and said she didn’t want to take anything. I noticed that she didn’t pour for her husband and when I looked at him enquiringly, he politely refused a cup but took a biscuit.

“Can you guys tell me what the problem is?” I asked finally, tired of the juvenile display of animosity.

They both started to speak at the same time. Teddy stopped and his wife stopped too. He told her to go first but she glared at him and also told him to go first. I rubbed my temple; it seemed we would have a long morning.

“Motunde, let’s hear from you first.” I urged.

She hesitated a bit.

“He blames me for our childlessness and because of that he allowed his kid sister and other lousy relatives to come into my home and fight me. Those idiots hurled all manners of abuses at me and wounded me while the person that was supposed to be my husband just turned a blind eye.”

“Is that so?” I asked Ted, already sure that this was a simple misunderstanding.

“Yes.” He replied calmly, surprising me. “I am glad she knows how it feels to have relatives insult someone. Her younger brother saw me driving her car and stopped me on the road, causing quite a scene. He snatched the car keys from me and left me stranded and humiliated by the roadside. When I complained, Motunde told me to forget about it, that he was “just a kid.”

“Mister man, you are unbelievable! I can’t believe that I never knew how terrible a person you are. This stupid analogy you just made confirms to me that you are totally foolish….” Motunde was quite agitated and was shouting, I couldn’t believe my eyes.

“See why I said you lack home training; you are yelling, you can’t even control yourself.” Ted mocked her, further incensing her. Motunde stood up. She told me that it would be better if she came another time to my office to see me because as she said, the words from her husband were infuriating. I told her to sit down and cautioned her to stop hurling insults if she wanted her husband to be polite too.

She apologised to me but not to Ted and sat down. I didn’t press that point.

“Sir, this incident he mentioned happened six years ago when we just met. My kid brother was alarmed to see a total stranger driving my car. He couldn’t get me on the phone so he retrieved the car. This misunderstanding was cleared up and my brother apologised to Ted….”

“Apologised? Does ‘Bros, sorry oo’ sound like an apology to you?” Ted cut in.

“He apologised and I thought that matter was totally settled until today.  Honourable Minister, this man smiles and looks calm but his heart is full of bitterness, acrimony and deviousness. I can’t deal with that.”

“What she can’t deal with Sir, is the fact that her carefully concealed lies have been exposed. From the moment we talked about marriage, I told this woman that I wanted kids, at least four children. There was no time that she told me that she had lived a very wayward life and that in the process of her numerous abortions, she lost her womb. She desperately wanted to get married and she picked me as the gullible victim. All these years, we have been going for prayers upon prayers, tests upon tests but she never opened up to tell me the real problem.”

Motunde glared at him but turned to me to explain.

“I didn’t know about that problem, Sir. I did not know. I was deceived by my teacher who took advantage of my hero worship and raped me. He convinced me that it was a big mistake and I agreed to keep the defilement a secret. I was just 15 years old then and totally naive. I did not realise that I was pregnant until I was already more than three months gone. I told the teacher and he gave me some drugs which he said would clean up my system. Unfortunately, I bled so much the next few days that the school principal was called in and she sent me to ER and called my father. Whatever happened then was without my consent and knowledge. My father’s anger was too much for me to have asked for the finer details of what took place when I was unconscious.”

“Did you tell Ted about this incident?” I asked.

Ted made a hand gesture that I understood to mean “Exactly.” Motunde said she told him.

“Yes, she told me,” Ted confirmed “but when she told me is the problem.”

“When did she tell you?” I asked patiently.

“She told me after we had been dating for a while and were already talking about marriage.” He complained.

“Were you expecting me to entrust you with that type of serious personal information on our first date?” Motunde asked hotly.

She had a point.

“Okay, but the tales by moonlight that you fed me is miles apart from the reality. Sir, I spent years trying to get a baby with a woman who has no womb. How wicked can anyone be? She knew her past and still forced me to be running up and down from prayer house to laboratory and hospital.” Ted said unkindly and hissed dramatically.

“I am tired of defending myself Mr. Teddy.” Mo said with a sob. “I am out of your house and your life. Please go ahead and get a woman that has a womb.” Tears were running down her cheeks. She turned to me and said: “God knows that I did not deceive him, Sir; I just didn’t know the extent of my situation. However, I am glad that I now know the true nature of the man I married.”

“I am sad that I wasted valuable years with a scheming bitch like you.”  Ted fired back.

“Please keep the insults out of my presence,” I cautioned again.

Perhaps I was just being a protective father figure but I believed Motunde’s story. However, I realised that it wasn’t an easy “kiss and make up” situation. The truth was that the two people sitting in front of me were very different from the sweet and loving couple that I had met and practically adopted. I would never have believed that Ted would turn his back so ruthlessly on his dear wife for a problem that may not totally have been within her control. It is true that there is no art to find the mind’s construction on the face and sometimes there is a fine line demarcating the angel from the beast.

Is this relationship worth saving? Can these two people ever find their ways back to the couple that I met and admired? Those were the questions on my mind.