Monday, October 24, 2011

Knowing Where to Tap. Part II

Hello, peeps. Welcome back! Now let's finish the journey.

The reason why the axe is not cutting well, is because the cutting edge needs to be sharpened. The reason why we exert ourselves is because we are operating contrary to wisdom. If you know how the machine works, you’ll know where to tap. My motivation today is simple, get knowledgeable! How, you may ask? I have a few suggestions for you, and I have a little gift I’ll like to give you, and I’ll like you to share with others as well.

1. Become an expert in one topic, but become generally knowledgeable. Don’t pursue focus till it creates absolute blind spots for you in areas that are important. Deliberately chose to be broad. Read wide! Read many more books about one topic, but read books about other topics. Yes you will be invited to speak about your topic, but the discussions you will engage in will require you to be well rounded.

2. Ask the experts! One meeting with a wise man is worth years of reading. Don’t miss the opportunity to ask questions from someone who has demonstrated expertise in particular areas you are seeking knowledge on. You were not the first to land on this planet, learn from others.

3. Share what you know! There is nothing that helps you retain what you know more than sharing it. It looks very interesting when we see small children trying hard to use words we just taught them. I remember how frequently my daughter used the words participate and interesting until they became hers. Don’t bottle up the knowledge to yourself, share. One of the things you can share is what you have just learnt; you can also share where you are learning it. Share this website for example, and share this report as well.

4. Google it! Whatever you hear and you don’t understand, just go online and search for it. There is too much knowledge wasting on the internet begging to be found. It’s so interesting how difficult it is to argue these days, if you disagree, just go online and settle it once an for all J. Take the pains of searching of linking from page to page and getting a wide grasp of new things.

Have a splendid day.

GBENGA SESAN: Another Icon to emulate.

Hello Friend, welcome back!

Today, we'll be sharing together another great personality profile....This time it's Gbenga Sesan...

‘Gbenga Sesan, an Ashoka Fellow, is the Executive Director of Paradigm Initiative Nigeria and he serves on the board of International Young Professionals Foundation, Digital Divide Network, World Summit Youth Awards, HiiT Limited, Generis Solutions, Global Network for Cybersolution, Women's Technology Empowerment Centre, Alliance of Change Empowerment Speakers, Africa Mentor Foundation and the African Youth ICT4D Network, among others. Originally trained as an Electronic & Electrical Engineer at Obafemi Awolowo University, ‘Gbenga has completed Executive Education Management Training Programs at Lagos Business School, New York Group for Technology Transfer, Oxford University, Harvard University and Stanford University. His consulting experience includes assignments completed for numerous institutions, including Microsoft, Harvard University, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Computer Aid International, Heinrich Boll Foundation and the International Telecommunications Union.
Beyond Nigeria, ‘Gbenga has consulted and made presentations in various countries, including Austria, Canada, Egypt, Ethiopia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, India, Kenya, Mali, Morocco, Rwanda, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, United Kingdom and United States. He is a member of the United Nations Committee of eLeaders on Youth and ICT and Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellow; and he was Nigeria's first Information Technology Youth Ambassador. He was the Vice Chair of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa’s African Technical Advisory Committee (ATAC), voluntary adviser to numerous youth-led nonprofits and pioneer Program Manager of Lagos Digital Village. In 2006, he was appointed as the youngest member of the Nigerian Presidential Task Force on the Restructuring of the Nigerian Information Technology and Telecommunications Sectors. ‘Gbenga is also an author and regular feature on some of Nigeria’s popular television shows.
In recognition of his dynamic efforts, 'Gbenga has been honoured with the 2008 OAU Ife EEESS Distinguished Alumni award, 2008 FGC Idoani Alumni award, 2007 Nigerian Youth Leadership award, 2007 The Future Youth Advocacy award, 2006 International Telecommunications Union YES Scholarship award, 2006 Ondo State Sunshine award, 2006 The Future Best Use of Technology award, 2005 Stockholm Challenge Champion honour, 2004 NiPRO Excellence in Information Technology award, 2003 JCI Ten Outstanding Young Persons (TOYP) in Nigeria award, 2002 JCI Ten Outstanding Great Ife Alumni (TOGA) award, 2002 Journalists’ Frontier of Technology in Nigeria award, and the 2001 International Telecommunications Union’s African Youth Fellowship award. ‘Gbenga Sesan has been profiled as one of the 35 Icons of ICT in Nigeria and he keeps a personal website at He is married to Temilade, a PhD scholar with research interests in Renewable Energy Policy and Implementation for developing economies (especially Nigeria and Kenya). He just published a book "In my own words"

If you would like to invite 'Gbenga Sesan to speak at your Seminar, School, Organization or to discuss ideas with your Group, you may express such interests via email through And remember, "The whole world will stand aside for a man who knows where he's going. Decide what path you want to trace in life (regardless of your background, colour or present opportunities and based on your interest, passion and desires), be a master at it ... and you will discover that there is no limit to your fulfilling experiences".

From the archive.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


I dug this piece as well from my archive; I’m not sure you have seen it. It was written by the legendary Deolu Akinyemi. Have a happy reading.

Once upon a time, a big manufacturing company had a problem with their machine. Their machine was huge and monstrous and it was quite a challenge to pin down exactly what the problem was. The machine simply stopped working, their internal engineers tried tirelessly, but hours rolled into days, and days headed for weeks. They decided to hire the services of a city renowned expert engineer.

The engineer came to the site as soon as he was briefed. Like all engineers, the first thing to do for him was to diagnose before prescribing solutions. He had a word with the heads of operation of the company and they commissioned him to solve the problem. He strolled into the engine room; it was a really big room with lots of pipes, engines and cylinders. It was a big operation. The expert engineer strolled in, observing carefully as he walked along; few engineers from the company closely behind him, trying to see for themselves where the problem was. The expert engineer, oozing the wisdom that comes from plenty of white hair strolled carefully around the entire room, touching, pausing, feeling and thinking; after walking around for about 30 minutes. The engineer requested for a hammer from his tool box. He took out the hammer, and hit a particular spot on one of the cylindrical pipes. He asked them to switch on the engine, they did, she struck the place again, and as if by one stroke of magic, the engine’s responded, and began to work again. He asked them to switch off the engine, and then turn it on again. The machine responded as if there had been no problem whatsoever, it worked smoothly.

All the engineers were surprised, but excited. Alas the machine was up again. News went fast to the operations manager and the CEO, the expert engineer was indeed an expert, as he had solved a very complex problem that had bedeviled the whole company and help them ransom for too long. Their excitement however faded when the expert engineer sent them his bill. He was demanding for a small sum of $10,000. The engineers could not believe their eyes, the operations manager was exasperated. He could not reconcile the bill, with the story he had heard of how the problem was solved. Not to appear rude by denying the expert of his charges, the operations manager requested that the expert engineer break down his bill, so that the company could understand what they were paying for.

The expert engineer wrote his bill promptly. $1 for tapping the pipe, $9,999 for knowing where to tap!

Value is not in the physical activity to the expert engineer, it’s in the knowledge that the expert has. Anybody can tap, but few people know where to tap, how to tap, when to tap and why tap. Knowledge is valuable! Small wonder the holy book has in one of it’s wise sayings, “wisdom is the principal thing, and with all you get, get understanding”, in fact there is a version that says about knowledge, that even if it costs all you have, or all that you’ll ever have, go for it! Wisdom is the right application of knowledge; wisdom is the tapping and the knowing put together.

Interestingly, we are in an age driven by information. The leader is not the strongest physically as it was when the biggest economic activity was war, it’s not the man with the biggest farm, as it was during the agrarian age, neither is in in the complexity of structures as it was with the technology driven age, today we are in a time where the most informed, or those who can control what we see, hear or think, literally control us. We are in an age where we are overloaded with commercials on all sides. Everybody wants to get their information into our thinking; everybody wants a little space on the hard disc of our mind. The world is shrinking so fast that what used to be called global news, now seems very local. In this age and time, you cannot afford not to be informed. You cannot afford to spend your life tapping around in aimless trial and error when the pool of knowledge lies a few meters from where you are.
The reason why the axe is not cutting well is because the cutting edge needs to be sharpened. The reason why we exert ourselves is because we are operating contrary to wisdom. If you know how the machine works, you’ll know where to tap. My motivation today is simple, get knowledgeable! How, you may ask?
Watch out for the concluding part. Have a blessed day.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Ghaddafi: A true African hero...

Trust me; you may not want to buy my argument, but I think you’ll pretty much agree with me that all we need, or will ever need in Nigeria, and Africa by extension is for our leaders to give half of what Ghaddafi delivered in terms of good governance to us. You want to know the result? We will catch up with the Western world.

Inspired by his Natural Socialism, in his days:

1.There was no electricity bill in Libya; electricity was free for all its citizens

2. There was no interest on loans, banks in Libya are state-owned and loans given to all its citizens at 0% interest by law...

3. Home considered a human right in Libya –Gaddafi vowed that his parents would not get a house until everyone in Libya had a home. Gaddafi’s father has died while him, his wife and his mother are still living in a tent.

4. All newly weds in Libya receive $60,000 Dinar (US$50,000) by the government to buy their first apartment so to help start up the family.

5. Education and medical treatments are free in Libya. Before Gaddafi only 25% of Libyans are literate. Today the figure is 83%.

6. Should Libyans want to take up farming career, they would receive farming land, a farming house, equipments, seeds and livestock to kick-start their farms –all for free.

7. If Libyans cannot find the education or medical facilities they need in Libya, the government funds them to go abroad for it – not only free but they get US$2,300/mth accommodation and car allowance.

8. In Libyan, if a Libyan buys a car, the government subsidized 50% of the price.

9. The price of petrol in Libya is $0.14 (N22) per litre .

10. Libya has no external debt and its reserves amount to $150 billion – now frozen globally.

11. If a Libyan is unable to get employment after graduation the state would pay the average salary of the profession as if he or she is employed until employment is found.

12. A portion of Libyan oil sale is, credited directly to the bank accounts of all Libyan citizens.

13. A mother who gave birth to a child receive US$5,000.

14. Gaddafi carried out the world’s largest irrigation project, known as the Great Man-Made River project, to make water readily available throughout the desert country.

Needless say, Bros Ghaddafi is a true African hero. I doubt if the soon to be formed democratic government in Lybia with their Western collaborators will not take all Ghaddafi gave away from their citizens.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

BUSAYO AKANRO: Another Icon to emulate.

Hello Friends,
How are you today? Hope you are catching up with Life.

This week on our personality profiling, we'll be sharing a young man's profile; a man about your age with outstanding achievements in Entrepreneurship. Have a happy reading.

Busayo Akanro is a multi-talented and exceptional professional. He combines evenly the roles of Business Development Consultant, Social Entrepreneur, Writer, Direct and Network Marketer, Human Resource Development Consultant, Trainer and Patriot.

Currently, Busayo Akanro works with one of Nigeria’s leading Human Resource, Business Development and ICT solutions firms. Busayo Akanro has a passion for people and organizational development that has driven him to partner with Generis Solutions as a consultant on such matters. He is an adept Network Marketing expert, Team building and Effectiveness facilitator, Training and Development consultant and Blogger. (

From an engineering background in Agricultural Engineering at the Obafemi Awolowo University – Ile-Ife, Busayo Akanro took a turn in the consulting direction and worked with InterWireless Consultants, Nigeria as a Radio Frequency Consultant. After 11 months of an exceptional career with InterWireless Consultants where he occupied diverse leadership roles like Team Lead – MTN Competitive Benchmark Project, Eastern Cities; MTN Competitive Benchmark Project, Lagos; Recruitment and Selection Panel member; Trainer; Busayo moved to Generis Solutions as a consultant on Human Resources, Business Development and ICT solutions. Busayo won an outstanding leadership award while with InterWireless Consultants.

Busayo Akanro is a100% Nigerian grown talent. From a Secondary school Education in Command Day Secondary School, Ikeja, Lagos to Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife where he graduated with a BSc. in Agricultural Engineering. Busayo Akanro has since obtained a certification in Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (2003); A Basic Certificate in Leadership from the Daystar Leadership Academy, Nigeria; A Certificate in HR-MBA (Human Resources-Managing Business Accounts) from Generis Solutions; Trainings in Presentation Skills, Effective Writing, People and Communication Skills, Memo Writing, Team Effectiveness, Human Resources Management, Compensation and Benefits, Recruitment and Selection, Competency modeling, Talent Management.

Busayo can be contacted through:

Can I Borrow $25?

Hello people, how are you today?
How has been your week too?
I dug this piece from my archive; I’m not sure you have seen it.

A man came home from work late, tired and irritated, to find his 5-year old son waiting for him at the door.

SON: 'Daddy, may I ask you a question?'
DAD: 'Yeah sure, what it is?' replied the man.
SON: 'Daddy, how much do you make an hour?'
DAD: 'That's none of your business. Why do you ask such a thing?' the man said angrily.
SON: 'I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?'
DAD: 'If you must know, I make $50 an hour.'
SON: 'Oh,' the little boy replied, with his head down.
SON: 'Daddy, may I please borrow $25?'

The father was furious, 'If the only reason you asked that is so you can borrow some money to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. Think about why you are being so selfish. I don't work hard everyday for such childish frivolities.' The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door. The man sat down and started to get even angrier about the little boy's questions. How dare he ask such questions only to get some money?

After about an hour or so, the man had calmed down, and started to think: Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that $25.00 and he really didn't ask for money very often. The man went to the door of the little boy's room and opened the door. 'Are you asleep, son?' He asked. 'No daddy, I'm awake,' replied the boy. 'I've been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier' said the man. 'It's been a long day and I took out my aggression on you. Here's the $25 you asked for.' The little boy sat straight up, smiling. 'Oh, thank you daddy!' he yelled. Then, reaching under his pillow he pulled out some crumpled up bills. The man saw that the boy already had money, started to get angry again. The little boy slowly counted out his money, and then looked up at his father. 'Why do you want more money if you already have some?' The father grumbled.’ Because I didn't have enough, but now I do,' the little boy replied.’ Daddy, I have $50 now. Can I buy an hour of your time? Please come home early tomorrow. I would like to have dinner with you.'
The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little son, and he
begged for his forgiveness.

It's just a short reminder to all of you working so hard in life. We should
not let time slip through our fingers without having spent some time with those who really matter to us, those close to our hearts. Do remember to share that $50 worth of your time with someone you love. If death comes tomorrow, the company would easily find a replacement in a matter of hours... But the family & friends left behind will feel the loss
for the rest of their lives...... Spend nice time with your loved ones.
Do have a great time y'all....

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

NIYI ADESANYA: Another Icon to emulate.

Hello People!
How are you today? I have brought to you today the profile of a young, dynamic, gentle man by the name NIYI ADESANYA. I am persuaded you'll learn and be challenged by his stories and testimonies...
Have a good reading.

He is a human capital consultant, a motivational speaker, a trainer and an expert on the subject of leadership.

Niyi Adesanya is leadership personified; an inspiration to many. He is the Principal Consultant for FifthGear Consulting Firm. A firm with a vision to,
“Help organizations achieve their best, through building and sustaining a culture of leadership that can maximize productivity, engender growth and promote harmony.”

A highly resourceful speaker and mentor, Niyi upholds the concept that ‘TRUE leadership is not just influence, but inspiration.’ He possesses an assortment of skills, originality and sheer passion in his style of delivery.

With keen interest for the Nigerian nation, Niyi has also voluntarily contributed immensely to the Nigerian youth. He places premium on the art of self development and mastery, as he strongly believes that anyone can be whatever he dreams of, if key skills are fostered. This belief has thus earned him a voice both locally and internationally.

He is the President of Alliance of Change Empowerment Speakers (ACES) - a high profile network of change-oriented speakers and human resource development experts. He also is President of ‘Niyi Adesanya Mass Empowerment Initiative (NAME-IT),’ a body which is geared towards promoting entrepreneurship and business success; also the premiers of ‘Business bounce back, bounce up’ seminars.

Niyi Adesanya’s rising profile as a speaker and resource person on leadership and human capital development has endeared him to leading brands, such as, Chevron Texaco, 7Up Bottling Company, Cornerstone Insurance amongst others who form the core of FifthGear’s growing clientele.

The Nigerian Air force, Federal Road Safety Corp, tertiary and secondary institutions, churches, various arms of government are not left out of Niyi’s insight and depth on the subject of leadership where he has delivered various talks.

His dispositions have further earned him several awards namely; Honorary Membership, Junior Chambers International (JCI); Honorary Membership, the Rotary Family; and ‘The most Promising Youth Leader’ from Growth Impact and Teenagers Digest Magazine. Other recipient awardees include the world renowned Business guru and Presidential aspirant, Professor Pat Utomi, Dr. Cecilia Ibru, MD Oceanic bank and Oluremi Tinubu, the former First Lady, Lagos State of Nigeria.

A Facilitator at the Daystar Leadership Academy (DLA), Niyi personifies the reward for loyalty and resilience. He has been teaching on relational leadership for over 5 years and has been in the speaking scene for over a decade. Having been tutored by some of the best minds in leadership, Niyi is currently grooming a crop of leaders that are set to create a lasting change in central sectors of the Nigerian and Global Economy.

He holds seminars, summits, workshops, conferences and programs for various audience groups including corporate, church and military bodies’ on the subject of leadership and self mastery.

He features regularly on leading Television Programs such as The Patitos Gang, Kakaki on AIT and the Funmi Iyanda show where he speaks on the subject which he is widely known for.

His accomplishments regularly attracts attention of the media, evidenced by the series of interviews with leading News Paper houses such as This Day, Punch, Daily Independence, The Sun and Networth magazine. He also is a regular columnist in DreamWorks, an Entrepreneur and Business Magazine.

Niyi is happily married to his charming wife, Folake. She is the Executive Director of ‘CareerFirst’ a career and personal development firm.


Hello, as you go through life experiences this year, I would want you to learn about these seven principles of an eagle. Just like the bible says in Prov 6:6-11; go to the ants you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise", I believe there is even much more to learn from the eagle.


Eagles fly alone at high altitude and not with sparrows or other small birds. No other bird can go to the height of the eagle. Stay away from sparrows and ravens. Eagles fly with Eagles, Locate people of like mind and passion.

Eagles have strong vision. They have the ability to focus on something up to five kilometers away. When an eagle sites his prey, he narrows his focus on it and sets out to get it. No matter the obstacles, the eagle will not move his focus from the prey until he grabs it. Have a vision and remain focused no matter what the obstacle and you will succeed.

Eagles do not eat dead things. They feed only on fresh prey. Vultures eat dead animals, but eagles will not. Be careful with what you feed your eyes and ears with, especially in movies and on TV. Steer clear of outdated and old information... Always do your research well. Be well informed, be up to date....

Eagles love the storm. When clouds gather, the eagles get excited. The eagle uses the storm's wind to lift itself higher. Once it finds the wind of the storm, the eagles uses the raging storm to lift him above the clouds. This gives the eagle an opportunity to glide and rest its wings. In the meantime, all the other birds hide in the leaves and branches of the trees. We can use the storms of life to rise to greater heights. Achievers relish challenges and use them profitably. …This opposition may just be tools for upper-positioning depends on how you see it.

The Eagle tests before it trusts. When a female eagle meets a male and they want to mate, she flies down to earth with the male pursuing her and she picks a twig. She flies back into the air with the male pursuing her. Once she has reached a height high enough for her, she lets the twig fall to the ground and watches it as it falls. The male chases after the twig. The faster it falls, the faster he chases it. He has to catch it before it falls to the ground. He then brings it back to the female eagle. The female eagle grabs the twig and flies to a higher altitude and then drops the twig for the male to chase. This goes on for hours, with the height increasing until the female eagle is assured that the male eagle has mastered the art of catching the twig which shows commitment. Then and only then, will she allow him to mate with her. Whether in private life or in business, one should test commitment of people intended for partnership.

The Eagle Prepares for Changes: When ready to lay eggs, the female and male eagle identify a place very high on a cliff where no predators can reach. The male flies to earth and picks thorns and lays them on the crevice of the cliff, then flies to earth again to collect twigs which he lays in the intended nest. He flies back to earth and picks thorns laying them on top of the twigs. He flies back to earth and picks soft grass to cover the thorns. When this first layering is complete the male eagle runs back to earth and picks more thorns, lays them on the nest; runs back to get grass it on top of the thorns, then plucks his feathers to complete the nest. The thorns on the outside of the nest protect it from possible intruders. Both male and female eagles participate in raising the eagle family. She lays the eggs and protects them; he builds the nest and hunts. During the time of training the young ones to fly, the mother eagle throws the eaglets out of the nest. Because they are scared, they jump into the nest again. Next, she throws them out and then takes off the soft layers of the nest, leaving the thorns bare. When the scared eaglets again jump into the nest, they are pricked by thorns. Shrieking and bleeding they jump out again this time wondering why the mother and father who love them so much are torturing them. Next, mother eagle pushes them off the cliff into the air. As they shriek in fear, father eagle flies out and catches them up on his back before they fall and brings them back to the cliff. This goes on for sometime until they start flapping their wings. They get excited at this newfound knowledge that they can fly.

The preparation of the nest teaches us to prepare for changes; the preparation for the family teaches us that active participation of both partners leads to success; the pricking by the thorns tells us that sometimes being too comfortable where we are may result in us not experiencing life, not progressing and not learning at all. The thorns of life come to teach us that we need to grow, get out of the nest and live on. We may not know it but the seemingly comfortable and safe haven may have thorns.

The people who love us do not let us languish in sloth but push us hard to grow and prosper. Even in their seemingly bad actions they have good intentions for us.

The Eagle Knows when to retire. When an Eagle grows older, his feathers become weak and cannot take him as fast as he should. When he feels weak and about to die, he retires to a place far away in the rocks. While there, he plucks out every feather on his body until he is completely bare. He stays in this hiding place until he has grown new feathers, then he can come out.

We occasionally need to shed off old habits & vain items that ensnare us rather than adding value our lives.

May God bless us all as he renews and refreshes our lives for the individual and collective challenges of life ahead.

Love U all!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Nigeria at 51: The Mentality of A People.

It took me five good drafts to get a moderate version that will retain the philosophy of this piece, and at the same time discarding the initial construct adjudged too controversial by a colleague. I hope this still pass across the intended message.

As a young boy, I grew up among traditional politicians and political analysts alike on the streets of Ibadan; traditional places such as Fòkò, Pópóyemoja, Ìdí-Arere, Sàkápénà, Ìsàlè-Ìjèbù and the environs. Trust me; in these places you get raw, factual, and unbridled analysis of issues both within context and out of context. Someone is saying this boy is an original Ibadan boy. While these analysis and arguments are going on, one common denominator I could always spot is a particular popular line: “our government is irresponsible…” It does not actually end there as they go on to use all sorts of unprintable adjectives to qualify this imaginary person called government. So your guess is as good as the truth; I grew up as a young boy who sees the government as a slaves master and we all as slaves and that the slaves master should provide all the needs of his slave. I grew up thinking this government is an alien from another planet with supernatural powers. I grew up thinking I have no obligations whatsoever towards this superman, rather, he owes me everything.

However, over a decade thereafter, I began to see things differently. I began to realize that I am that government whom my fathers have always criticized with so much candor and vigor. I began to see that government as my walking stick towards which my unflagging direction is required. I began to see the perceived flaws of the so called government as a sheer reflection of own irresponsibility and indiscipline.

It is so pathetic that Nigerians wanted a better score card of the nation at 51; yet, the score card of our duties and obligations as presupposed good citizens towards the country is disappointing. The country is blessed with so much wealthy citizens, though Forbes list-pursuing, who sit s atop colossal investments and companies, who could have through genuine CSR efforts help out in the areas of infrastructural developments in their environs. Help out with the provision of basic health facilities, a little investment in the education sector. I recently read in one of our national dailies about a particular dilapidated secondary school in the V.I, VGC, and Lekki axis of Lagos. The pathetic caption on the front page of the newspaper reads “a poor school in a rich neighborhood.”

Our sense of decency and modesty as a people has been pathetically replaced by a culture of materialism. A Swiss friend once chide me over the internet saying “…you Nigerians are superrich people. We read in our newspaper here that our banks are filled with cash from your people…” our way of life puts so much pressure on the nation. An average Nigerian wants all amenities provided, but he does not want to pay his tax; all he says is “the money will end up been embezzled.” We forget so quickly that it is only in the dictionary that success comes before work, privilege before responsibility, and right before sacrifice! An average Nigerian youth’s definition of success is quick riches, while their formula to achieving this is corrupt practices. I give kudos to those young revolutionaries, whom in their numbers are getting involved in social and development works, setting up NGOs and initiatives with the aim of effecting positive change in the country. And by this I do not mean the ones who delved into such endeavors, seeing it as another perfect trick to achieving their get-rich-quick ambition.

It is only human for Nigerians to want to pass the buck of a “national failure” to the government. Admittedly, an irresponsible government imposes a lot of difficulties on its citizens; these difficulties notwithstanding, we all must not develop a wrong impression that there are magical alternatives to sacrifice. We must realize a bad followership equals a bad leadership. Study all the major revolutions that has taken place in history both in the 17/18th centuries, and the ones recently experienced all around the world; be it intellectual, social, economic or political, you will clearly see a common denominator; good citizenship.

Perhaps I should end on this note by saying, as much as we will like to see our population of 150 million people, and almost innumerable mineral and natural resources as a blessing, it could well mean a curse if we all do not turn a responsible and disciplined people.

Long live Nigeria.

Alamu Samson.

I have some historical treasures to give out such as a video of Nigeria’s last 7 days as a Colony, including maiden speech of past leaders and many more. To win some of these prizes, click subscribe to get regular updates and post Ur comments on all the articles in the Reflection Series. It fit be you o!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Nigeria at 51: My Reflection on Education.

“The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in another.” Abraham Lincoln.

Putting my best foot forward on the subject matter, I will do well by saying I write to critique education in relation to the role it should play as touching national development.

In most civilized countries of the world, the most important instrument of achieving a sustainable national development is education. These countries usually align their educational system to aid the achievement of their national philosophy and objectives. This view is also true of Nigeria, at least, as documented in the National Policy on Education (NPE, 1981 revised) where it reads “…the Federal Government of Nigeria has adopted education as an instrument per excellence for effecting national development…” In other words, Nigerian government agreed to tailor the educational system to aid the achievement of our national philosophy and objectives as stated in the second national development plan; 1970 – 1974:
A free and democratic society.
A just and egalitarian society.
A united, strong and self-reliant nation.
A great and dynamic economy.
A land of bright and full opportunities for all citizens.
This the National Curriculum Conference endorsed as necessary foundations for the philosophy guiding the National Policy on Education.

The education we so speak of here do not mean more literacy – the mere ability to read and write; it means a process of physical and mental culture whereby a man’s personality is developed to the fullest. He is what he is because the three main constituents of his entity – body, brain and mind – are fully developed.

In the words of the sage – Obafemi Awolowo - “if a man’s physique is fully developed but his brain and mind are left undeveloped or only partially developed, what we have is a being powerful enough to hew stones and draw water for others, and discernment that he is unable to appreciate and assert his human rights. If the mind alone is developed and both the body and brain are neglected, then we have a sorry figure of a religious fanatic who condemns everything, and everybody but himself, and whose only prophecy is one of pessimism, catastrophe and gloom for mankind. If his body and brain are fully developed whilst the mind remains undeveloped or only partially developed, then we have a shattered soul. By his lack of a sense of spiritual values, he denies freedom to a class, and by doing so, brings about a situation called revolution in which the freedom of all is seriously threatened and in some cases completely submerged by a deluge of war…”

It is against this background that I posit that Nigeria has done badly in her 51 years of existence; no apology. In the case of us Nigerians only bodies are fairly developed. Our brains and minds largely remain undeveloped, and only partially developed in a few cases and this explain why our national philosophy and objectives stands unachieved, and perhaps unachievable.

For instance, a national objective believed to be instrumental to the much needed national development is the creation of a just and egalitarian society in which justice, fairness, trustworthiness interplay with equal opportunities for all citizens. The curricular offering at all educational levels should be responsive to the development of such attributes in the scholars. What do I see around me however? A legal/justice system which seems to crisis-ridden and as such, the defense of ethics and the poor masses is in jeopardy. Square pegs in round holes; consequently, a lot of lopsidedness and imbalance permeate our socio-economic and political life.

One would think at 51, Nigeria should be getting it right already. One argument I have been getting lately is that “…even America never got it right at 51.” I beg to disagree with that line of argument. I advise Nigerians undertake a brief journey into the history of the United States of America that they may learn to argue and analyze rightly. Oh, sorry. I have forgotten we do not even know or pay attention to our own history. I remember when I went to the University some years ago to study history, many frowned at my desire. I doubt if they still teach history in our secondary schools. An unnecessary subject you say? What a nation.

Even as I made to halt the flow of my pen, I will not sign out without making a suggestion. One major landmark in the historical development of education in Nigeria, even predating her independence was the Phelps-Stokes Commission reports of 1925 which recommended among others that: (1) education should be adapted to local needs and conditions, (2) moral and religious education is fundamental to the total development of scholars. So, I suggest a total recalibration of our educational system, this time around with all sense of purpose and not seeing it as another shot at registering a political point or wetting the throats of political jobbers. It is on record that Nigeria produces communiqués without commensurate actions. Let us set a new tone from now on.

Long live Nigeria.

Alamu Samson.

I have some historical treasures to give out such as a video of Nigeria’s last 7 days as a Colony, including maiden speech of past leaders and many more. To win some of these prizes, click subscribe to get regular updates and post Ur comments on all the articles in the Reflection Series. It fit be you o!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Nigeria at 51: My Reflection on Governance.

“We seized power to stamp out tribalism, nepotism and regionalism…” These are the words of the Late Major C.K Nzeogwu led group, which struck on the morning of January 15, 1966, the first military coup in Nigeria. Like the Yorubas will say “Ìjínjí ayé won… (From the inception of their existence)” it was from the beginning of our existence as a free nation that bad governance has etched into the fabric of Nigeria. As early as the 1962s, mismanagement of resources, corruption, and bad leadership was already a clearly noticeable trait militating against the future of Nigeria as it were then. However, one would be forced to admit, at least, hat such a false start is still permissible or excusable; not even when you put into consideration the perceived ineptitude of our political leaders at that time in the art of governance. The Yorubas already excused them when they say “Owó tómodé bá kókó rí, àkàrà ni ó fi je.” A child spends his first earning on frivolities.

However, like a rational being would do, attempts were made to salvage Nigeria as portrayed by the spirit of the first military coup, and the efforts of the successive administration. From the Aguiyi Ironsis to the Gowons, different dimensions of repositioning efforts were attempted. For those of us reveling in the positives of that era, our joy of a hope of a greater and better Nigeria was however short-lived when the one widely regarded as the messiah, General Murtala Ramat Muhammed, fell to the bullets of Dimka in a failed coup. From then till now, it has been a tale of one bad moment to another.

Even though we all may take personal consolations in some few positives, the largely disappointing state of governance in our nation cannot be overemphasized. At 51, with a population of 150 million people, a huge human resource base and almost innumerable mineral and natural resources, to say Nigeria should be rubbing shoulders with world powers such as the U.S.A, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China, and even Japan is an understatement.

Like my mother would say, I do not have the luxury of time to rub powder for a dolly; a short man with a taller ambition best describes Nigeria, if we will keep putting up with the form of leadership put on offer by the crops of politicians we presently boast of. A people, whose idea of governance is massive looting of public treasury, and gross neglect and abuse of fundamental human rights; a people, whose crux of leadership is self-immortalization. With so much finesse, they institutionalized corruption and made it a culture.

I say without apology that the labours of our heroes past have gone in vain; so it seems, at least in the temporary. Heroes, who with unflagging commitment, truest of intention, and purest of heart fought for our independence. Worse still for Nigeria, save the few untainted young revolutionaries, the soul of her youths, and even the young children has been infiltrated by their concept of governance. They patiently wait the day they will have the opportunity like their fathers, just to wreck further havoc.

Anyway; I refuse to be frustrated by all these, and I take my personal joy in that Nigeria is still blessed with the untainted young revolutionaries I speak of. The young revolutionaries, whose idea of governance is “resist the dangled carrot and corruption, even if it means taking a mortgage to own a house after service.” To these ones I say let us fight on, for the Nigeria of our dream is realizable. It does not matter the degree of havoc they would have wrecked before their extinction. After all, God says “if only I can find a few untainted ones, then I will not destroy the land.”

Long live Nigeria.

Alamu Samson.

I have some historical treasures to give out such as a video of Nigeria’s last 7 days as a Colony, including maiden speech of past leaders and many more. To win some of these prizes, click subscribe to get regular updates and post Ur comments on all the articles in the Reflection Series. It fit be you o!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Nigeria at 51: My Reflection on Security.

Undoubtedly, the most cumbersome task to attempt is the analysis of the state of security in Nigeria. How does one prepare a conclusive report card on a nation that has been peaceful, at least relatively. However, going by the spate of security issues that has bedeviled Nigeria in the last 2 decades, the job then becomes easier than thought. It would amount stating the obvious saying our security as a people, and as a nation is in serious threat. While reflecting, a few issues possibly responsibly for the present state of insecurity in Nigeria popped up on my mind, and these issues I will be x-raying in their chronological order of influence.

Politics no doubt has always constituted a security threat to Nigeria, even right from the beginning of our existence as a nation. As early as the 1959s, Nigerian politicians with their political concept of ethnic nationalism always throw the nation into a state of great panic. With every of the 3 major ethnic groups always determined to take control of the nation, caution is always thrown to the winds. The “weties” of 1965s in the West still lingers in the memory of traditional historians. A new dimension was however recently introduced into the system with the doctrine of do-or-die politics as espoused by a former president, who still shamefully pride himself as an elder statesman. Many have even attributed the emergence of private, ethnic, and religious militias to the activities of these apostles of do-or-die politics. A Punch Newspaper front page caption, September 27, 2011 reads “violence is fuelled by existence of private militias that were established, funded and used by politicians and individuals.”

Coming right after politics is religion, and perhaps it will even be better to weave a third leg in ethnicity into the equation to make a complete case. Religious intolerance, with largely ethnic nationalism coloration has always constituted a threat to our collective security. The resultant crisis from this religious intolerance has always come with a huge price. We remember the 1980 Maistatsine Islamic uproar in Kano during which 4,177 people were reported as slaughtered with properties worth millions of naira destroyed. Do I have the freedom to weep? General Ibrahim Babangida said in New Nigerian, October 19, 1988, page 3 “…one should be reasonable enough to know that God, like the father of any household, can never be satisfied with members of his family who quarrel, fight, undermine and sometimes kill one another in His name. The hypocrisy of such statements, from our leaders, in this category I will not attempt verifying. The spate of killings witnessed in Plateau State in the past 3 years clearly reveals one cannot successfully separate religious intolerance-induced security unrest from ethnic nationalism-induced.

To think this is not enough, a new puzzle was recently presented to our nation in the guise of Boko Haram. This is no doubt the biggest issue in Africa presently. Launching what can now be safely regarded as guerilla warfare, scores of analysts still find it difficult placing what the real issues are. While some will say it is basically an act of religious fanatism, others opine it is another violence scheme from politicians who believed it is the sole right of a particular ethnic group to rule this country. Whatever be the case, the underlining issue here is that our politicians understood perfectly well the huge influence religion has over the soul of men, so all they do is whip up religious sentiment around their scheme. The puzzle for me here is how come Nigerians buys the evil plots of these politicians hook, line, and sinker. This takes me back to my piece on education where I stated: “…if the mind alone is developed and both the body and brain are neglected, then we have a sorry figure of a religious fanatic who condemns everything, and everybody but himself, and whose only prophecy is one of pessimism, catastrophe and gloom for mankind. If his body and brain are fully developed whilst the mind remains undeveloped or only partially developed, then we have a shattered soul. By his lack of a sense of spiritual values, he denies freedom to a class, and by doing so, brings about a situation called revolution in which the freedom of all is seriously threatened and in some cases completely submerged by a deluge of war…”

I have asked myself a question repeatedly since the emergence of the much dreaded Boko Haram; is it that impossible for our government to secure us? Is it that impossible to break the strong hold of Boko Haram on this nation? It did not take me long however to discover that our government has laid the groundwork of survival for the Boko Haram sect.

One of the plus for Boko Haram is that it takes root and operates I he core Northern part of Nigeria where we have the Hausas; a people spread across the nooks and crannies of West Africa (Mali, Senegal, Chad, Niger et al.). Added to this is the cultural proximity and affinity between Hausas and Fulanis. As it has been alleged, it is difficult to out rightly say the Boko Haram sect is entirely made up of Nigerians. I read in one of the national dailies recently that the federal government in conjunction with security agencies intends checkmating the heavy inflow of persons (mercenaries) cum arms and ammunitions into the country through strict border control measures. This is no doubt fallout of our government’s shortsightedness. I belong to the class of analysts who posited Nigeria should have opted for a gradualist approach in her pursuit of socio-economic and political integration of the West African countries (ECOWAS project). Rather, in her bid to play the self-bestowed “big brother” role in the ECOWAS project, Nigerian government indiscriminately opened up her borders, invariably exposing the security of her citizens to risk. It is a source of great worries considering the rate at which arms and ammunitions, foreign Islamic fundamentalists, religious fanatics, and terrorist groups infiltrate the country. This act of terrorism, or civic unrest as a political scientist friend of mine would say, is however not an exclusive preserve of the Boko Harams; we have over a score sects as well spread across the Niger-Delta region.

I look around me, and almost everything I see constitute an intense pressure on the security of this nation; even unemployment. Research has it that Nigerian youths are now shifting their focus to the Nigerian Force (Army, Navy, Air Force, and the Police Force.) in a bid to circumvent the unemployment-induced hardship in the country. This sharply contradict what obtains in notable countries of the world (U.S, U.K, China…) where citizens enlist themselves in the Army and Police Force based on passion for the protection of territorial integrity, dignity, an pursuance of internal security of their country. Such then is our plight as a nation when we place our security concerns in the hands of such misfits. What more to say when they have even told us that the Army and the Police Force has been infiltrated by the Boko Haram sect. I think with a total of about 120 Chief Security Officers spread across the nation, Nigeria should have a solid grip on such matters as this. What best describes our 51st birthday is that; it was the year we recorded the first suicide bombing in the history of Nigeria. We can only hope there would not be any again. A facebook friend asked, albeit jokingly “if Boko Haram suggested we stay indoor, and the federal government commands we do same, whom are we likely to obey?” Your answer should wrap this piece up, but permit me to ask, what does your own score card reveals?

Long live Nigeria.

Alamu Samson.

I have some historical treasures to give out such as a video of Nigeria’s last 7 days as a Colony, including maiden speech of past leaders and many more. To win some of these prizes, click subscribe to get regular updates and post Ur comments on all the articles in the Reflection Series. It fit be you o!

Nigeria at 51: An Invention to Understand.

While an undergraduate of history, I was always forced to write on Nigeria as a patriot. My lecturer will always ask me to discuss Nigeria before the amalgamation of 1914, an endeavor that must reflect my acceptance of its existence even before its conception. But then, I longed for a day I will be able to write objectively, and that this piece is affording me on a platter of gold.

At 51, Nigeria seems to me an invention yet to be understood by her citizens. As a nation, we are still bewildered by scores of problems, many of which we should have been rid of, if only we understand what Nigeria is. Perhaps things may take a positive turn if we re-configure Nigeria to address the present challenges; but if the present configuration is what we still intend pushing then there may be no end in sight to the heartache of this nation.

In 1914, the British government invented an antidote, Nigeria, to a headache experienced in one of her many colonial possessions in West Africa. This possession transverse the four corners of Niger and Benue River area, which influenced British reporter Flora Shaw’s suggestion that the “country” be named Nigeria. At the peak of this invention process was the amalgamation of the constituent regions in 1914. Welcome Nigeria!

Disheartening however is the fact that, while it seems on the surface that the amalgamation was done in the interest of Nigerians, it was actually done in the sole interest of the British government. Historians in my mould will tell you the amalgamation of Nigeria was nothing more than a fiscal measure. During the colonial period, the Northern Protectorate of Nigeria constituted a financial burden on the Imperial Treasury. With a large area of land, high population, no direct access to the sea, the North could not generate enough revenue to fund the railway construction and river dredging projects needed. The Imperial government has to part, always, with grant-in-aid running into millions of naira. The South on the other hands possesses multiple streams of income from her coastline, ports et al. So it was thought that the amalgamation would make it easier to utilize the revenue and wealth of the Southern Protectorate for the development of the whole country. Coupled with this also, was their intention to avoid the duplication of technical and administrative departments such as treasury, railways, surveys, post and telegraph, and audits, which means more personnel requirements and financial commitment. Whatever be the case however, we have Nigeria at hand.

Important for us to note here however as Nigerians is that, the British government never lumped all the constituent parts into one because we so desire to be treated as one. Consequently, the difference in socio-economic, religion, and political beliefs and institutions of these constituent parts were not taken into consideration. They created Nigeria, a people with no common philosophy and objectives. What we know we as Northern Nigeria today is known in history as the Sudan regions of West Africa. Every constituent part existed then as a State. So, it is not enough for us to just say we are one. Ahmadu Bello once told Nnamdi Azikiwe “…let us not forget our differences. Rather, let us remember and respect them. I want to remember you are a Southerner, a Christian and respect that; while you also remember that I am a Northerner, a Muslim and respect that…”

It still beats me till date, why we are still selling Nigeria, even though the factors threatening our existence from inception are still present. Factors such as: perpetual mutual suspicion, ethnicity bitterness, and sectarian nationalism to mention but few. I still wait the day our leaders will explain why they so much dread the proposed Sovereign National Conference. I do not the white men who lumped us together, knowing that the resultant friction from the imbalance created by the amalgamation will always make us a pawn on their chess board; I blame our leaders for not spotting that, and liberate us. I do not blame the “Aboki” who lives with me in constant suspicion because he felt I will attempt exploiting his perceived inferiority; I blame our leaders who failed to realize that Chukwudi, Obisesan, Ahmadu, Tega and all others treated as minorities need be summoned to town hall for meeting, where all must express whether they want this or not.

Though it is a fact always seen by many Nigerians as unpatriotic, but that does not stop us from being reasonable. We have options on our hand here; options such as: outright peaceful disintegration of Nigeria in case of continual irreconcilable differences; Sovereign National Conference where both the big 3 and others regarded as minorities come to a table for discussion, making a commitment or otherwise as to whether Nigeria should stay or not, adopting the best form of government for Nigeria. They must decide whether it is best to opt for Federalism or Unitary system. The Federalism in question here does not connote the usage of federal principles to incorporate some levels of decentralization in system of government as presently practiced by Nigeria. Rather, it connotes federalism in its full vigor. And in case of Unitary system, all must hold out to sacrifice all things necessary for its success.

The aim of this reflection is not to arouse unnecessary agitation from Nigerians; it is to help politicians, technocrats, social strategists, policy makers, and Nigerians alike decide what the real task should be. Is it project re-brand Nigeria or re-calibrate Nigeria? In my candid opinion the Nigeria we presently projects is still that British invention. We must recalibrate it to suit our will.

Long live Nigeria.

Alamu Samson.

I have some historical treasures to give out such as a video of Nigeria’s last 7 days as a Colony, including maiden speech of past leaders and many more. To win some of these prizes, click subscribe to get regular updates and post Ur comments on all the articles in the Reflection Series. It fit be you o!