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CON TENTS Classical Career Advice ..Pg 14 Fake Girls..Pg 16 Spring Into Action..18 Rest With Me A While… Pg 21 My Past, My Message..Pg 23 Creating Something Out Of Nothing ..Pg 24 The Beauty Of Communication Pg..26

Cover Interview Pg 5



or email: 4 | AVANTGARDE | MARCH 2019





Introduction Dr. (Pst.) Siju Iluyomade is a lawyer by profession with over 30 years post call experience. She has been in legal practice with her husband, Idowu Iluyomade since 1987 and she is a founding partner in the law firm Iluyomade & Iluyomade & Co. Her formative years were spent at Queens College, Lagos an all-girls boarding school where she realised early that women enjoy each other's company and draw strength from each other. She is the Convener of the Annual Arise Women's Conference, a truly national landmark programme, which holds every last Saturday of October, for women from every walks of life. The focus and essence of the conference is encapsulated in its motto “ARISE FOR A WOMAN TODAY� so that the women of influence can take the message of upliftment to the grassroots. Recently, she was conferred with a honorary doctorate degree at the 8th Convocation ceremony of The Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko (AAUA), Ondo State for her courage and strength to move younger women to Arise.


In this interview, she reveals how Arise has no labels to create a more inclusive world for every ordinary person and how she is committed to export the lifechanging ideology to nations. Find below excerpts. Avantgarde: Are you a compassionate person? Pastor Siju: I would like to think I am not only compassionate; I am more than compassionate. I would like to think and believe that every fabric of my being cries out against injustice, poverty, pain, anger and anguish when I see it. Somehow, I feel an overwhelming need to lend a helping hand. Avantgarde: How strong is your faith? Pastor Siju: Without my faith, I am nothing. Fortunately for me, I was born into a Christian home, and I am very proud of my Christian heritage and pedigree. My background is one of a Reverend gentleman as my grandfather, and I spent all of my youth in the church. Somehow, it

has been very much part of my life; a life I know how to live. I believe in God, I believe in Jesus Christ my Saviour, and Redeemer and I believe in the working powers of the Holy Spirit. My faith is informed by all three personalities of One God because I am able in the times of great joy, in the times of pain, and in the times when things are normal to look up to my Saviour and LORD. Avantgarde: How close were you to the ordinary people in the market places, streets, those grappling with daily meal before arise came on. Pastor Siju: In the ordinary course of growing up, I was introduced early to the everyday person in the marketplace and streets when the Planned Parenthood Federation of Nigeria (PPFN) was introduced to Nigeria, and my mother, a Nurse was one of them. In their company, we would go into the marketplaces to speak to the women about their maternal healthcare because a lot of women and babies were dying. They educated them on how to make sure that they do not have many



children and live in poverty and anguish, and this is how I got used to seeing these people in the marketplaces and the streets. I said to you earlier, I attended Queens College, and I was a member of the Nigerian Girls Guide. In fact, I led the third Lagos Company of the Nigerian Girls Guide, and in doing that, we had to deal with doing things for the most vulnerable in the society. So, it has been part of my upbringing. Avantgarde: What actually inspired the founding of Arise Women? Pastor Siju: Arise is built primarily on always wanting to ensure that every woman or every ordinary person is entitled to a good life. A good life is not


necessarily about money, it is been able to afford a meal, have shelter, have clothing, and being able to send your children to school. Every human being is entitled to it whether women, men or even the little children. Nobody should be deprived of the essentials for a decent life. Arise came about because I saw the most vulnerable, the very poor even in the church, we see them begging and wanting things; these are things that we can readily provide not only as a church but as a human being to another human being and that is how Arise came to be. Avantgarde: How did this inspiration and vision come?

Pastor Siju: The inspiration and vision having primarily as its focus women, I think will come from the idea that I went to an all-girls boarding school, and I find myself being able to adapt easily to the needs of women. Easily, I can understand and connect even without a word what their needs are. Avantgarde: Did you pray about Arise before you started? Pastor Siju: No, I would not say I prayed about Arise. However, what Arise meant to me is about being humane. It is about one human being strengthening and upholding another human being, which is the vision for Arise. Arise is based on faith, but then it is not


about faith, because the Bible records that when the unbeliever needed the help of our LORD, Jesus Christ, He said to him 'because you have always cared for the poor and the needy, I will do whatever you ask Me to do.' Sometimes, we need to pray that our love would rise up as a memorial for us in the days of our need. Avantgarde: How did you go about actualizing this vision? Pastor Siju: I just did it. I did not really sit down and create a masterplan, there is no law that propels compassion; it comes from within. Just as Jesus said, the Samaritan was lying there and the Jew did not even ask God should I help him? He just helped him, and this is what I have done with Arise.

Avantgarde: Did you worry that it may be too huge or too challenging to actualise? What kept you going?

Avantgarde: Are there still challenges?

Pastor Siju: Sometimes, it is huge but I am a person of faith, and I thank God that comes to play in whatever I do. I find out that as Arise continues to grow, the LORD seems to make provision for us. It may sound funny but then I am a testimony.

Pastor Siju: We do have challenges every day, but we have come to understand that s/he who considers the wind will never sow. Whoever looks at problems will never surmount them neither will they ever grow. The earth is the fullness of the LORD and it is of His good pleasure to give same; so, I know that God will do everything.

Avantgarde: Now, Arise seems to be on the cruise. Ten years running; how do feel about Arise at 10?

Avantgarde: You have touched e d u c a t i o n , h e a l t h , infrastructure, social amenities and so on; what next?

Pastor Siju: Arise on a cruise will suggest it is sailing on a straight line, but Arise is not sailing on a straight line, Arise has taken flight flying on eagles wings going higher and higher.

Pastor Siju: Arise have built boreholes, but we have not built boreholes in every community; we have not provided hospitals in every community, etc. I have huge dreams; I would love to touch as many communities as the LORD allows us AVANTGARDE | MARCH 2019


to do. Then, I have this massive dream of having an Arise village where we would have a fullfledged hospital for women; a place of excellence attending to all of their problems. I have a big dream to have an academy where I can empower, and train women in skills acquisition. It is not everyone who would be a graduate, but everyone has a talent that they can exploit for economic gains. It is my dream that we are able to touch lives across Nigeria and even outside the shores of Nigeria. I dream very big; I dream of the day Arise will be exported as an ideology to the rest of the world. A v a ntg a r d e : A r i s e v i s i o n seems in tandem with those of United Nations plans for women. Do you plan to go beyond the bounds of Lagos, go national and perhaps global? Pastor Siju: Most definitely. The greatest way to go beyond is to push forth an ideology. To tell as many people, organisations, and governments that every life will begin to matter to us as human beings. That everybody is deserving of a good life; it is not necessarily an expensive or wealthy life, but having the basics of life where we can have mass housing, good hospitals, good schools for our children and everybody should be able to eat and be fed. This is the ideology of good neighbuorliness, which I think if it is exported; it will go places. Avantgarde: Of all the achievements of Arise, which ones will you say truly touched

your heart and you feel truly accomplished. Pastor Siju: It will be funny to say a particular one has touched me. Each time Arise does something, I am excited and over the moon; I am grateful, and I am so joyous. Then, we do something else and I experience even greater joy. I


cannot say a single project make me feel accomplished; it is the whole thing that makes me so glad and happy. For the impact stories, I love the 'Adopt a Village' project in Dafara, I love the schools and libraries that we have equipped in Kpaduma village, I love the market women that we visit in Sura, EbutteMetta, Surulere, and other places. I love the fact that we are able to give


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something to the visually impaired young girls in Queens college to work with. We were able to donate a generator so that wellschooled and eventually t a k e c a r e o f themselves. Every project is different, and every project is important so I have enjoyed working on every single project. Of course, if I have more money, I would do much more. Avantgarde: Where will Arise be in another ten years? Pastor Siju: I see Arise as a global voice. I see Arise as a clarion call. I see Arise as the cautiousness of our nations. I see Arise been used to determine if any country is doing well based on the ideologies of Arise. Avantgarde: You are bringing women together in one voice, one love to collectively fulfil their destiny no matter each one's level. How do you feel, and how are you going to sustain this confluence of hope and unity? Pastor Siju: Sustainability is built on making sure that you keep working and doing the right thing. Sustainability would also be built on the many platforms or concrete structures we are able to provide. Then, for it to be ever growing and everlasting, we must keep voicing the ideology. It is more sustainable in the minds of people than in structures, bricks, and blocks. So, sustainability for me is if I can get you, I can get myself to think right. At the end of it all, sustainability of anything is not to him that willeth, nor of him that


runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. Avantgarde: Finally, has God been faithful? How has He intervened in the last 10 years - any specific moment you can remember? Pastor Siju: My everyday life showcases the faithfulness of

God; He has not only intervened, He has kept me; He has kept the vision and above all God has kept His promise. He has never decided to withdraw His hand of mercy; His voice of compassion; His lovingkindness surrounds all our women. 10 years now, but it looks like yesterday.


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l a c i s s Cla r e e r a C E C I V D A alish

- Alyse K


prah threw out some immense wisdom to the 2018 class at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism's recent commencement ceremony. She started off her address to the world's future writers, journalists, reporters, and speakers with the bad news: A lot's going on in the world, and it's not all great. The good news, she joked: “Many of your parents are probably taking you somewhere special for dinner tonight.” Interestingly, what she had for everyone in the audience was that “there really is a solution” to all our problems, and the solution is “each and every one of you.” What else would you expect from the woman who, off handedly, mentioned she's been speaking to audiences for 25 years, ran the highest rated daytime talk show, and has never missed a

day of work in her of 4,561 episodes.

there really is life out a solution” to all our problems, and the solution is intimi s h e “each and every t o one of you.

“I was a little dated coming here,” said. “It's hard trying c o m e u p w i t h something to share wit h you that you haven't alr eady heard,” she added. “I don't have any new lessons. But I often think that it's not the new lessons so much as it is really learning the old ones again and again.” She went on to list things we've all probably heard time and time again but still hold true. Eat a good breakfast. Pay your bills on time. Recycle. Make your bed. Say, “thank you” and actually mean it. Put your phone away at the dinner table. Invest in a quality mattress. And then she said this:


Winfrey h a r p O y B

Your job is not always going to fulfill you. There will be some days that you just might be bored. Other days, you may not feel like going to work at all—go anyway…The number one lesson I can offer you is… to become so skilled, so vigilant, so flat-out fantastic at what you do that your talent cannot be dismissed. The point: Become so good you can't be ignored. This isn't a new concept, but you should never forget it. Having a good work ethic matters in your career. Not just because it'll take you far, but because it'll make you unforgettable. Being reliable, being driven, striving to learn more and do more and be more is what will ultimately make you successful. If that's the lesson Oprah learned on her path to becoming who she is today, you probably want to put it in your pocket to take with you in your own career. And it's not about being perfect—it's about having enough passion, motivation, and dedication to something that you come to excel in it. In the long run, that is what you can control in your quest to land you the job, the promotion, the project, or the recognition you covet.

Become SO GOOD you can't be IGNORED.


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FAKE GIRLS W - Kate N. Ezeanya

alking into the departure hall of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on that early morning of Saturday, July 21, 2018 to catch a 7.00am flight back to Lagos I couldn't but notice a man by the check-in counter, who was obviously in his sixties staring at me. As I approached him for it was the same check-in counter for my flight, I tried to have a face recognition but couldn't and with a gentle smile I greeted him-”good morning sir” just as I queued behind or should I say facing him for he had his back turned against the queue. Good morning my dear he responded while turning the proper way, one could have concluded that we were together and he was waiting for me. Having sorted myself and with my boarding


pass in hand I walked towards the waiting area and few minutes of sitting down with my head bent playing a Ludo game on my phone I saw a shadow in front of me-looking up and it was him. Let me sit opposite you he said, no problem sir I responded not that I just welcomed 'wahala' on an early Saturday morning. What is your name he asked, no he demanded rather while leaning forward to close up the walk through gap between us- my name is Kate sir I responded. Where do you work, where do you live, and what state are you from? He demanded. Haba I screamed, but in my head while my mouth responded with as much diplomacy and not being too detailed as possible. May I mention with a smile.

Why are you being so evasive, you didn't answer all my questions? I only know

your name and that you live in Lagos. You didn't even tell me your surname, for you to live in Lagos means you work in Lagos. What part of Lagos? Lekki am sure because your skin look like a Lekki girl's skin you are economical in your response did you study economics? I had just realised that mouth was slightly open and needed to be shut while I looked at my hands to see if there's a change in the past forty-hours of being in Abuja to make my skin count as Lekki skin. By the way I never knew until then that skin had locations.

I am waiting whispered Baba. At this point I knew it was time to do what I ought to have done earlier on- I said a little prayer, asking God to please help me guard my tongue from bashing Baba or sounding rude and did I mention it

was also the last day of the 21-days fast? A day we had been told to give God thanksgiving. God please help me I prayed silently with a big smile on my face for Baba who was still looking at me; waiting for answers to his PhD questions. You are not saying anything he queried, my name is Taiwo B. Martins and I am an Engineer. Sir, I live in Lagos and I love where I live and work I replied him with a small laughter which I knew was not a happy one but an exasperated one. Okay, give me your number while leaving his seat to sit beside me; it was a command and not a request. Hoping to get him off my back and having realised that some passengers had taken an interest on 'my matter' with their stares, I quickly called out my mobile number not minding who heard and Baba said, good.

At last our flight was announced and Baba had not returned, in fact he had just left. I looked at his bag in split seconds two voices were audible enough in my head. · Voice A: Leave the bags, it is your opportunity to pay him back moreover, you don't know him and thisisanairport. · Voice B: Take his bag someone might steal it. You have his number and he can be traced if there's a problemwithhisbags. Without waiting to review both and with the queue getting a bit longer I grabbed Baba's bags and my mine to join the queue only had time to notice a few faces either smiling or mocking me. My interpretation but I care? No I didn't; too upset to care, no not anymore. About three to four minutes later, I heard Baba's voice a few rows away- excuse me, excuse me… as he made his way towards me. Thank you my dear he said as I handed him his bags while he took a position in front of me. At this point I decided to enough is enough, I wore my no-nonsense look; eyes piercing, shoulders straight, left ear twitching- I ignored him and became oblivious to anything he said; I 'blanked' Baba.

Almost immediately, my phone rang, is this you sir I asked almost in tears, tears of feeling handicapped over Baba. Yes, and now I can chat you on WhatsApp regularly he excitedly announced. Just as he was rejoicing over his 'bullying' achievement, I quickly realised I could actually do what I never thought I could do to Baba. I saved Baba's number and at the same time blocked him on both call and WhatsApp contacts-all this while smiling but this time around it was a happy smile . Baba at this point had returned to our original 'face me I face you' sitting position and had to the chagrin of everyone called up a video on his phone, loud enough to make us miss the flight announcement. Baba didn't care and Heaven heard me... so I thought.

Thankfully, Baba minded his business all through the long queue to board the plane. As I sat down on my seat I heard Baba's voice some rows behind me requesting someone in the most polite voice to make way for him to move over to his seat, wow I thought to myself, so this man can be this polite!

With Baba enjoying his video that means freedom for me to resume my Ludo game. My dear, I am going to the gents watch my bags directed Baba a few minutes later. Yes sir I replied like the school girl I had become.

As Baba's voice of (am almost there, am almost there drew closer), I froze at the thought that Baba might be making his way to sit next to me. I prayed silently to God to please make Baba not sit anywhere near me. I was ready,

battle ready to change seat when he walked past me to the seat in front of me without a glance at me. It wasn't until I heard the sound of his seat belt being fastened that I realised that I had broken out in sweats. Baba ignored me all through the flight while I jotted down some of the activities of Baba and me. As we landed in Lagos and without a checked-in luggage to keep me waiting, I quickly gave my legs wings as I practically dashed from the airplane all the way to the car park and zoomed off without as much as a side glance.

Oh Baba it was interesting 'unmeeting' your acquaintance, thank You for saving me, thank you my Lord, thank You for saving me thank You my Lord…I sang aloud to myself as I drove home. Once home and lost in the euphoria of welcoming me back by my nephew and nieces I temporarily forgot Baba until my phone announced the arrival of a text message. Hmm, the thing is, Baba had called me seventeen times but because I had blocked his number it didn't connect but showed on the call log and unable to find me on WhatsApp as well, Baba sent me a text message- ''my dear, what happened to you? I had planned to give you a great and surprise weekend treat, one that you have never experienced before if I didn't call you at the airport I would have thought you gave me a fake number like some fake girls do. Call me immediately you get this my dear.'’ I quickly turned off my phone for the whole day. It has been several weeks now nothing from Baba, he seems to have moved on. I hope… The writer has attempted to mix fact and fiction to be able to give her audience a humorous glimpse into some of her day-todaylife. AVANTGARDE | MARCH 2019

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