The Curator

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So my blog Trae Days will be 10 years this year, while the domain traedays.com is coming up to 9. Luckily for me the whole time like Snoop I “kept coming up with funky ass shit like every single day”. Or like my sister Nneoma would say “[born a Catholic, my heart’s a Free Thinker,] producing thoughts in the blogosphere like pure water”.

In layman terms I’m going to attempt to curate my thoughts which have been spilled all over Facebook in the past 4-5 years as much as possible into blogposts on Trae Days so my “body of work” can be unified.

I’m doing it for ME; hoping to take more minutes from YOU; and ultimately aiming to make a better WE.

Much peace, love and respect!

On a personal high

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So yesterday evening I somehow found myself at the Dunamis International Gospel Centre. And after all said and done I can't but stand with Karl Marx that religion is the opium of the masses. It's a really strong drug that mammoth of Nigerians are addicted to. A drug which in itself does nothing for the society but to take the inhaler on a personal high. It's a drug people go to extremes to get their daily dosage of, even if it means shoving and fighting each other to get into the auditorium. People just want to be "in his presence", sing, speak in tongues and shit. And when service is over it's back to the rat race. Government workers, politicians and everybody else shortchanging the system, yet still wondering why Nigeria's not working, and playing the American Visa Lottery like our lives depended on it.

Nigeria we truly hail thee!


Through the trees for the wood

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Preface: “Wood for the trees” as an idiom means not seeing the big picture (woods…aka forest) because you pay so much attention to the little details (trees). Barzini was probably right in quoting the opposite “the trees for the wood” as it implies seeing through the big picture/Western propaganda to understand the little detail that matters, how Western powers are innocuously using brain psychology to make us believe Africa is doomed and salvation comes only from the white man’s intervention.




Like the world of virtual reality goes Sylvester Bane Barzini was but my Facebook friend. We had about ten mutual friends between us and so he cropped up while looking for cool people to connect with. Had all the qualities I liked in the online crowd of people I positioned myself to associate with: great sense of humour, intelligence and originality in ideas. And so I sent the friend request in October, he accepted and the rest was history.

Wouldn’t be eulogizing this but for the fact that he just passed, having failed to recover following a supposed terrible road accident a week or so ago while on the job. Remembering my own very similar ordeal in July 2012 and how being God’s son I pulled through, I sigh. It’s a horrible, horrible thing when the good and interesting are gone too soon. More so being he just got married over a month ago it’s even crazier; my condolences to his loved ones. Barzini I pour libation to the gods on your behalf; thanks for everything, see you on the other side while I remember our last Facebook contact from January 27th:

Trae Zeeofor:
Re: The macabre sex chamber of Libya's Colonel Gaddafi Uncovered; where he raped girls and boys as young as 14

In honesty I took the article with a pinch of salt. Could very well be true as absolute power corrupts absolutely. But I'm quite sure the whole story carries much more allegations than fact. And that the whole stuff has just being blown out of proportion in the way Oyibos like to do; painting Africans black and keeping mute on their own atrocities.

Read in between the lines. It's Gaddafi today, it could be any other African leader past or present tomorrow. But in the eyes of Oyibo's, all Western leaders past and present are angels.

Down with colonialism and media control. Up with Afrocentrism; let's learn to love our own!

Sylvester Bane Barzini:
You see through the trees for the wood brother. Many Africans decide to obliterate their mental faculties for the calumny of western propaganda.
Colonel Gaddafi (may his soul rest in peace) was summarily executed but that was fair trade for the West. Their treachery has turned a once peaceful State into an enclave for terrorist, rather than question their wicked deeds they seek to push the limits of sanity by digging into the past of a man they assassinated in his homeland.
I found the piece sullenly vindictive and without place in the land of humans.
A time cometh, when the tragedy would be at the doorstep of every foreign soul that conspired to throw that African state into anarchy. A time comes.... and it comes soon. It would wake them in the morning and cover them when they sleep at dusk.

Usernames and passwords; a personal history

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So my mind went wandering (as its’ naturally want to do) as I was jamming and doing my laundry Saturday morning, and I tried to take stock of the various online aliases and passwords I’ve used in my life’s journey through the internet high way. In the end twas a sweet reminisce which eventually led me making new decisions. Below though is the reminisce reproduced in print just for the fun of it.

The first 5 variables are passwords used, with only the base word of the password given. Actual password used is usually a corrupt alteration.  The remaining 5 variables are usernames, with only the first 3 letters given. The rest are asterisked for security reasons, lols. Top marks to you if able to guess correctly.

lovemedo
This was actually my first password ever. Chosen back in 2001 in my first or second year at the University when the internet bug finally reached Nsukka. Love me do was the title of a song by The Beatles. Back then I was a skinny little 17 or 18 year old with delayed puberty who didn’t have many friends. One of the things I liked to do in my spare time was go to the Nnamdi Azikiwe Library (as it was in its’ old form behind the present building) and read up books on sociology, psychology or the arts. Which back then consisted largely of old books from 70s, 80s and 90s America/Europe.  It was during one of such visits I took an interest in the Beatles whom I had heard of as a child, read up a lot of their memorabilia. So when password choice time came I wanted something personal to me and lovemedo it was cos back then I really just wanted to be loved.

1enugu1
This has become my standard initial password used (lest I forget) before changing to something else when a firm decision is reached. I think it started on my first job when instructed by the IT guy Yinka to choose a number and letter password combination I went with the familiar. Enugu, the State I schooled in at University, and the 1 at the front and back to make it harder to guess. Lols.

shakaraINC
Madonna was the only other girl ever I had made a firm choice about and would have married at the drop of a hat. Met her at work in Makurdi in 2008 and kept on and off on her case through Jos, Abuja and the South West up until 2012. I finally dropped out of the chase when the “she’s just not into you” message finally sunk in. Shorty got married last year to some other lucky guy though. Shakara because of the challenge it was to me which in its’ whole form was heavy an institution like “Murder INC” was when Ja Rule ruled the hip hop air waves.

illbliss
This was chosen as my first portable Wi-Fi hotspot password in 2012 when I went totally Android mad. Illbliss because the semantics is just totally cool in a Hip Hop sense. And Illbliss because the Nigerian rapper who goes by the moniker is an Igbo brother whose flow I totally respect and feel.

liquiddeep
This is my present day Wi-Fi hotspot password. Top hats to you if you find yourself surfing beside me when I’m on my phone or laptop. Liquiddeep because I totally adore the South African band and isha Allah will have them play their hit track “still” at my wedding.

Sal*****
We used to have Tom and Jerry, The Two Mouseketeers episode as a child which I loved watching. Towards the end of the episode after Tom is executed, Nibbles (Jerry’s nephew) exclaims in French: "C'est la guerre", meaning “that’s war”. This username was my interpretation of the spelling of that phrase. A phrase I was very fond of quoting as a child while playing with friends.

Sor*****
This username also goes back to my first or second year at the university. My roommate then Chike used to have this Sony CD player, which was the student rave of the moment at that period. And it so happened then that Wyclef Jean’s “guantanamera” was one of the favourite tracks we loved playing on repeat. Wyclef’s love interest in the song goes “Soy una mujer, sincera” which in Spanish means “I am a sincere woman” to which Wyclef responds “Do you speak English”? This username was my roommate Chike’s attempt at mimicking “Soy una mujer, sincera” which became a common alias we started referring to ourselves as at the time.

Nwo******
This one was pure vendetta like shit. The Facebook moniker of some fake ass dude who cramped my hustle a few years ago. The moniker, in my opinion a funkifysation of an Igbo name. A funkifysation I found very cool and eventually found myself using. I also used this as a password at some time.

Kwa******
This one came about from my first visit to Kano. An impromptu unexpected life lesson learning visit. It’s a combination of two words. One the Hausa word for an Islamic rite, and the other the Hausa word for a common fast food up North. This name packs so much meaning to me and is a constant reminder of times past.

Ken*******
This word was born in my consciousness at the end of the Westgate shopping mall attack in Kenya, September 2013. When the Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta addressed the press. Such eloquence, clear thought, calmness, passion and charisma won me over totally and got me wishing I could feel such pride in our own president, Goodluck Jonathan for even a day, **sighs and resigns to fate**.

An ingenious solution to the inability of Google Keep to recover, revert, undo or restore deleted notes

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Update!: The parent product of Google Keep, Google Drive actually does allow you revert to an old version of a file (document) via revision history. It allows for reverts as far back as the last 30 days or the last 100 revisions which ever comes first. But for now this feature (like with Google Keep) only works when accessing the site from a desktop. I.e. History revisions...reverts are impossible from a mobile phone or using the mobile app.

                           ---------------------------------------------------------------------

Google Keep is one amongst the many things I discovered from OUR master and mentor Yomi Adegboye aka Mister Mobility. Specifically from his March 2013 “To Keep or not to keep?” post.

It’s a note taking software from Google that’s also available as an Android app that allows one create and edit notes both on desktop and on mobile with the benefit of sync capabilities.

It’s very simple and does the job of allowing me jot down things I need for reference and to be edited on the go. With it I saw no need to upgrade to the more feature rich competitor Evernote.

One problem using it though that has always been a pain in the ass is the inability of Google Keep to recover, revert, undo or restore deleted notes back to their previous state. Evernote on the other hand has this capability/feature, though only for paying customers.

The restore to previous state function has been a life saver in many more ways than one for me on Google Contacts. It allows me time travel…go back in time at any stage within the past 30days to retrieve information from my phone book that once was. It’s pretty much a shame that despite repeated pleas Google hasn’t yet seen it right to implement this feature on Google Keep.

This evening though was the last straw. I accidentally deleted a to-do note I’ve been progressively working on for weeks! And with annoyance and no means of getting it back it got me once again scouring the web for a solution.

In the end I had to return back to base and take a critical look at Google Contacts, the only free app to date I know that does the magic I and millions of other Google Keep users seek. I saw that amongst the many additional contact details field it had, that it had a “notes” field. And viola finding out the field was elastic enough my nirvana was found.

I simply transferred all my existing notes there as different contact entries, knowing for sure that henceforth I’ll never lose data again!

Ingenuous or ingenious na so I go dey do am till something better crops up jor. Take a look at the screen shots below “of the magic” on mobile. Lols.





A Few Words on Sales

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The ultimate salesman makes good grounds on his pursuit of happiness

I’ve had this index like article from SalesHQ bookmarked on my browser for quite a while now: “SalesHQ’s 10-Step Guide to a Career in Sales” and I think it’s totally awesome. Going around it I’ve always wanted to drop some words on what I know about sales. Words I think a 5 years back version of myself would appreciate tremendously.

Consider this; a team could have the best of football managers, with excellent theoretical and practical trainings and also enjoying the best of training facilities. But actual results on the field depends not so much on the manager but on what the team is able to put into practice, combining their individual strengths, working together to achieve…and also to a large extent on the strength of the opposition. That exactly is what sales is like. Performance actuality doesn’t depend 100% on your effort alone. Despite your best intentions you could still come up short. The strength of the brand you’re selling (brand equity) and that of your competitor matters a whole lot, and other socio-political factors around you play their own part too. But none the less, all things being equal and on the average, your quality as a salesman always shine through in the type of performance you’re able to grind out; whether dismal, promising or dismal.

That being said there’s no magic in sales. It’s more of a social science, dealing with the unpredictability of human nature. It’s not a pure science of certainty where adding 1 plus 2 always gives you 3. The top shots in Sales my opinion rose there through a combination of these 3 factors: Preparation, Good communication skills and Doggedness.

1) Preparation
He who fails to plan, plans to fail. It’s as simple as that really. You need to be organized, know your market and know the product you’re selling in and out and its end benefit to the user. Your database or records must be reliable, your books balanced if you handle cash, and your action plans and route plan perfected. Like a soldier in warfare you have to be ready for battle round the clock. As they say success is preparation meeting opportunity. Luck in the long term turns to good luck/success only when well prepared. It’s your preparedness and consequently knowing your onions, market and its’ customers that’ll make you a great judge of Character; the most important C in the 5 Cs of credit. Credit or risk which you can’t do without taking as a salesman. In the midst of your preparation though, you’d be well advised to keep bull shit far away from you as much as possible. It might get you to the top but it won’t keep you there. As a bank marketer a pretty face, a phat ass (a.k.a. bullshit) might get you audience with a big fish but having a brain in your skull is what will allow you retain the confidence of your client so that all jokes aside you can grow the account. Anything otherwise and you’ll just amount to nothing more than a fling.

2) Good Communication Skills
I should probably correct this and say top notch, near perfect or excellent communication skills. You need to be able to talk the talk so you can walk the walk. All the regulars are true: you’ll be addressed the way you’re dressed; first impression matters; the difference between Mr. Biggs and MamaPut na packaging etc. if you’re multilingual the better, as you have a wider reach of people you can connect with. But if like me you’re not proficiently bilingual, you need to be at home with pidgin English, knowing when to switch it up/on so you can connect with your audience. And of course your spoken and written English must be on point. The good thing is that practice makes perfect; you unknowingly get better as you put more effort into it.

One of the first and memorable incidents I have about this was when newly drafted into marketing as a rookie with the defunct Intercontinental Bank. For those who remember it was the “demarketing” era of Erastus Akingbola. We had gone out as a marketing team to prospect a bunch of new recruits at an orientation. The then humble and silently achieving GTB team were also in attendance. GTB’s speaker went first and dished a seemingly innocuous upper cut that had the whole hall chuckling, when he said that his bank was on course to succeed and audience with their MD was possible if one visited their HQ. Erastus Akingbola, our MD had then been recently deposed, later on being replaced by a certain Lai Alabi. But our man Otusi (one of my first sales mentors) who knew his onions and always made sense when he spoke staged a brave comeback when granted the floor. He started with the line that the recruits should have no fear banking with us being that Intercontinental Bank was a “going concern” and thus changes at the top didn’t mean the bank was going under. For that brilliant comeback he got a round of applause. In the end though GTB got majority of the accounts that day but we left with our heads high.

3) Doggedness
In other words you must be unrelenting in your push to make sales. Circa 2007, before the great Banking bubble I remember being a scared shitless youth corper looking up to our LGA “senior corper” then, Kelechi. As he was privileged to be amongst the few in my batch doing his PPA with a bank and earning “good money”. I had pestered him on what it was like being a marketer; expecting some mystic recipes or something. And he, probably fed up with my insistence gave it to me raw. “Trae you want to know what marketing is like? Fine. You go meet a customer to open an account, he tell you to fuck out! You go meet another he “posts” you and tells you to come tomorrow; you go yet again to meet a third and he listens to you, fills the account opening form, giving you an initial deposit alongside. It’s as simple as that”! Lols, the learning point is that there’s no Illuminati with sales; you win some, you lose some and life goes on. For every good deal you make you’ll probably get like 10 rejections alongside but you just gots to keep on going. A few of those rejections though will usually later turn around or give you other leads to success. Whenever you want to despair just remember that in the great hustle of life most things are Pareto 80-20.

A beautiful story

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Giving the toast

So I had my first ever best man gig yesterday. Would have been the second but for my car accident last year (Long story short: broke my leg in July, missed out on the wedding in November). Twas my immediate elder brother's (Ebele) wedding; twas fun and I think I pretty much performed my duties satisfactorily. Here's the skeletal of my toast speech presented below to add to the body of work already available on the subject matter; hehehe. Smoothly scripting it over the weeks to deadline, but despite that still immensely grateful to my big sis Cle for chipping in a bunch of suggestions that polished off the work.

-Good day every one; you could be anywhere in the world today but you’re here with us; thank you for making this happen.

-My name is Tochukwu, a lot of you know me as Trae; I’m the younger brother to Ebele.

-There’s a popular saying about chess; that it takes a day to learn, but a lifetime to master! Trust me on that! I learnt to play chess over 10 years ago but my play today is still very much like a beginner. This can be compared to relationships and marriage. Like chess you could meet someone new today and fall in love in a couple of hours, butterflies in your stomach and all what not. But for you to decide that you want to spend the rest of your life with the person requires months of getting to know and understand each other just like with chess. So I’m glad ladies and gentlemen that this is what we’re seeing today with Andrea and Ebele after about three years. Theirs like their program brochure is themed has been “a beautiful story”.

-One great thing about Ebele is that he has always been a dependable fellow and someone you can always count on. There are numerous times while growing up that he has been there for me in many ways than one. I remembered being flat broke and knocked out in Jos some years back and he coming to my rescue to pay my rent. Ebele is simply reliable! Likewise Andrea is a very good hearted and likeable person, and I’ve always felt that way right from the first day I knew her. Together they’re two of the best people I’ve ever known.

-On that note I'll like us to raise our glasses to the bride and groom. Andrea and Ebele these are my wishes for you, and I’m sure in doing so I speak the mind of everyone here. Wishing you prosperity, a lifetime of happiness, lot of babies and may this your beautiful story be ever alive. To the bride and the groom!!!


With the little bride

Moment of clarity

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The closing words here of Techcabal’s Bankole Oluwafemi inspired this:

“PS: I don’t care about how many people I’m following, and hardly unfollow people because I stopped reading my timeline a long time ago. Created an ultra curated list for my sanity ages ago.”

1. If we love ourselves we must kill our inner narcissism. Following so many people so they can follow you back and you can grow your followers list… #TeamFollowBack things is so not cool. Really what does it profit you to follow so many people on Twitter yet at the end being scared of reading your own timeline?

2. I don’t want to have to go secondary and use lists just to enjoy Twitter. It's like downloading an app to get the best out of your mobile phone battery instead of going all out to get a phone with great battery life from start. Like the alpha male would say "what’s the point of marrying a wife when there’s no food on the table at the close of work and you still have to subject yourself to eating out on the regular"? Go for the best from the start so you don’t have to force yourself to adapt to mediocrity.

3. On social media I don’t do the follow back shit. I let it be my prerogative alone to choose my friends. Fake things (not being real to oneself) to me are having like over 1,000 Facebook friends, over 500 connections on LinkedIn, following over 500 on Twitter etc. I don’t make friends for making sake…or to grow my digits. If I dig you on social media (want to call you my friend) I want to be able to get a steady stream of your thoughts on a regular basis and be happy while doing so. Truth is, time is money and in this internet age we really need to embrace those habits which will help us guard our sanity and prevent information overload.

4. Real recognize real and the sooner we start to understand that the better for us. Like they say bull shit might get you to the top but it won’t keep you there. Real staying power or popularity on social media is not dubious; it’s saying or doing stuff that makes sense to others.

5. If your excuse is that you’re popular you still don’t have to let your fans overwhelm you. On Facebook for one you could activate the subscriber feature, accepting only people you consider your friends and letting all others be subscribers. Plus for private stuff you could limit the view of such posts to only friends and all other stuff to the public or friends of friends as the case may be.

Let it go

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Sinéad O'Connor's open letters were well thought, but sad that due to the foolishness of youth they'll hardly make any positive difference to Miley Cyrus. My own heartfelt advice to self from self discovery of the past 2 months is never to act on feelings of displeasure. People can be stupid, mean and selfish which can get to your wits end making you not dig them, but allowing it to develop to hate (keeping your distance and forfeiting all positive interactions) ultimately harms your heart as you don't create an enabling environment for yourself to operate which will likely ultimately come to bite you in the ass. I've made things very difficult for myself in the past; my new resolve now is to "let it go" like Modenine and XYZ would. Your problem (whether you perceive it or not) is equals to your headache. The fact that I don't dig you won't prevent me from kicking the occasional convo with you.

Eventually, nothing surprises you

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So I spent some time in the police station last week and at the end of the episode I just shook my head and wept dry tears for my Country Nigeria. The whole place stunk of corruption; and the sad part was that it was seemingly impossible to distance one’s self once you stayed affiliated. It was a total disgrace and reminded me of all the reasons I hated my country.

As Tim Newman the British expatriate who recently completed a job stint over here said in his article -The End Of An Assignment In Nigeria- “The corruption, theft, and graft can take many forms...the list is literally endless. There is no beginning or end to corruption in Nigeria, it is a permanent fixture...You name the scam, it is being done in Nigeria. Eventually, nothing surprises you.”

Nothing truly surprises anymore.

-From the Yar’adua Part 2 drama series playing out in Taraba staring Danbaba Suntai.
-To friends and associates celebrating in absentia in Delta State UK-jailed convicted criminal James Ibori’s birthday.
-To the ignorant Rivers State lawmaker Evans Bipi calling his unlearned colleague Mrs. Patience Jonathan his “Jesus Christ on earth".
-To the hypocritical Governor of Plateau State Jonah Jang claiming electoral victory despite polling 16 votes as against his opponent’s 19.

All these phenomena, fanatical Christian youths are want to term “end time things”.

In the midst of the madness what has always kept me sane is clinging to any sense of intelligence and reason. A development that might have adversely affected my social and work life as I don’t go beyond acquaintances in many cases and keep my circle of friends compact in the virtual Facebook world and in reality. Little wonder I stuck to my guns and went all out becoming the only voter that casted a ballot for Ibrahim Shekarau at my polling unit during the last presidential elections in 2011.

I constantly get lost in the world wide web and on occasions when I stream clips of past leaders like Odumegwu Ojukwu, Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi, Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr. etc. feeling the raw intellect hit me and comparing with our present day Ogas-at-the-top like the NSCDC’s Shem Obafaiye I get enraged at the now prevailing mediocrity. The difference is akin to comparing night to day. That’s why I fantasize that if I should ever orchestrate a coup these are the following policy decisions I will immediately implement:

1) Free and compulsory education up until SSS3 for all children. Education is the stepping stone we need to get kicking in the third world and any Guardian whose ward(s) are found to be going against this decree will be immediately jailed.

2) Making queuing/lining up sacrosanct. Possibly it’s poverty fucking with our minds but our people (…when in Nigeria) have lost all sense of decorum and transfer same to our kids. From sharing food at weddings up until buying kerosene at the filling stations. When I’m Head of State everyone must compulsorily form queues and line up. Everything must be done on a first-come-first-served basis. Going against that earns you jail time and community service instantly.

3) Entrenching a culture of merit. All employments must be deserved and man-know-man influences immediately eradicated. Application fees for employment into government jobs; State of Origin and Federal Character policy immediately cancelled. Federal Character will be considered only for deployment (of resources) and not for (work) engagement. Also on the road of return to civilian rule consensus candidature and godfatherism will be eliminated as public debates for aspiring politicians will become compulsory under a system of one-man-one-vote.

4) Starting a Two Child population control policy akin to China’s. This is self-explanatory. We need to make much better use of our human resources.

5) Immediate ban on State sponsoring of religious pilgrimages. Government expenses must be of immediate benefit. If self-actualization for you is only found overseas then you should put your money where your mouth is and sponsor the trip to Mecca, Jerusalem, India or Syria yourself.

6) Strict execution of our secular state ideals. Reason and rationale will be the only grounds for formulating laws. So cases akin to permitting child marriages on religious grounds will never arise. Opening and closing prayers at government functions will also be frowned upon. It’s like we have substituted our brains as a people in exchange for a book of Bible stories or its’ equivalent. Our conscience must be nurtured by reason…always!

7) Cost cutting in government expenses. This will be of very high priority as salaries of legislators and office holders will be drastically cut while salaries of men of the armed forces will be increased to raise work morale. Consequently banning of check points and reorienting their minds away from bribe collection will also be done. Perpetuators of revenue leakages (kickbacks etc.) will also be decisively dealt with as a secret shopper system will be set up and any offender will immediately forfeit such ill-gotten wealth to the State. Finally all agencies with duplication of functions will be merged into one. Example: The Police, FRSC and Civil Defence will become one entity. Many special advisor roles will become deprecated as well as many groups, societies, associations, and unions by executive fiat etc.

8) Entrenchment of tenancy laws. Possibly because we are our own government providing many basic needs/amenities ourselves the rent is too damn high! And so we’re living a dog–eat-dog world (especially in places like Abuja), moving about in a vicious cycle. But in my reign a policy akin to the Lagos State Tenancy Law will be drafted, assented to and vigorously implemented. Offenders forfeiting their property to the State for a period of 5 years!