TIMELESS Published Since April 2003
Vol. 9 No. 3
GSM Revolution in Nigeria: 10 years After The Good, The Bad and the Sillyâ€Ś
Behind The Lens
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magine if you have just returned from a trip or you have had a very hectic day at work. On getting home, there is no light (that is Nigerian lingo for power supply). On top of that, your generator has some issues and is being repaired - some parts that need replacements have not yet been purchased. So there you are in the dark with gas or kerosene lamps or for the few lucky ones who have a second backup generator, you have light but you can’t power the AC. Nigerians cannot have access to continuous electricity simply because the people that take decisions about the well being of the Nigerian people are too far removed from the realities of the Nigerian situation. It is difficult for a man who has not been in a difficult circumstance to begin to offer solutions to problems that he is not even aware of, cannot feel the pain of or has long forgotten about. I am sure that those who are in government in Nigeria cannot be aware of the ineptitude of PHCN (it is still NEPA as far as a lot of Nigerians are concerned); they do not feel the pain nor suffer the inconvenience because they are on dedicated lines or as soon as power supply goes off, as many generators as they need to supply their electricity needs go on. They are not aware that petrol or diesel is expensive because they do not pay for these things. (A former president was rather alarmed when he discovered that kerosene was more expensive than petrol.) Of course, how can they be aware that people are having challenges with public transportation when they are chauffeur driven and cannot remember the last time they stood at a bus stop? Of course, sirens and outriders will not allow our leaders to experience any kind of traffic jam. If a leader is far removed from his people, it is difficult for him to experience what they are experiencing, feel what they are feeling, and consequently know what they know. We are left at the mercy of sycophants who tell our leaders what they want to hear and what they think these leaders want for their own selfish motives. Therefore life in Nigeria is very challenging. We have to change the situation and change the status quo. Everybody has to have a level playing field. One of the ideas that occurred to me is that it is either NEPA works or nobody is allowed the use of generators including and especially the President himself. Therefore when there is no light everybody will be going through the same ordeal of ‘interrupted’ power supply’. In the alternative, then NEPA should be com-
pletely scrapped and therefore everybody knows that for you to have light you have to purchase a generator and everybody then who can afford it purchases a generator of their choice and those who cannot buy a generator can purchase a lantern or candles of their choice. So it then becomes a question of personal preferences and financial muscle. While we are at that, we might as well make the same arrangement for water. Everybody makes their own arrangement for water by building their own boreholes or buying from tankers (which everybody is already virtually doing anyway.) While we are at that, we might also make the same arrangement for sewage disposal, hospitals and medical care, roads and telecommunication (well, that I think has been solved so far so good).
ting and scheming who is assigned to what position and who has to be removed from what position. They therefore have little time left to put into the affairs of governing the nation. Since this present fourth republic, we have had about six Senate Presidents in 12 years. Now that April 2011 is around the corner, you can be sure that very little governance is going on. People are running up and down to see how they will get into positions of power, so much energy is being put into who succeeds who and who takes charge of what and who gets to what position and the reason why people are very anxious to get into a position of power is because power is a source of influence, power is a source of money, and power is a source of economic empowerment.
Gradually as we start doing this, everybody becomes an island and a government unto themselves and there will then be no longer need for a central government and we can truly have a federation. Nobody needs to tell us that the problem with Nigeria is good governance and the problem with governance is government itself. There is nobody concerned with the problems of Nigeria. How can we be concerned when most of our thinking and resources is geared towards changing party chairmen? At a lower level, most Nigerians are planning towards how they will become appointed to one party or government position or the other. When it is time to appoint the chairman and directors of one corporation or board or parastatal, people are jockeying all over the place. People are scheming for one position or the other to come to their state, senatorial district, local government area or village. It has become so bad that almost every sector in Nigeria now has somebody from one part of the country or the other in a top position not because the person is qualified but because the people from that part feel that with their person in that position they can have access to some particular economic advantages. Therefore everything has gone haywire and things have become really unbearable. Kings are walking while servants are riding on horses.
Some of our elected officials are presently fighting for dear lives on how to remain relevant. Therefore, if a man is fighting for his survival, fighting for his future and fighting for his relevance in the scheme of things, how much time does he want to have for governance? How much of leadership is he going to provide for the average Nigerian?
People congratulate the President by placing full page adverts on the pages of newspaper because they are very pleased that somebody from their area has been chosen to become a member of a new board. What they are trying to say and what that implies is that the man will use his position to divert economic opportunities to their area whether such opportunities are deserving of that area or not. Several years ago, I read somewhere about how power was shared in the old Bendel state. The writer of the piece was advocating that it was the turn of a certain part of Edo state to come into governance. What the gentleman was saying was that since the creation of the old Midwestern state, only a certain part of the state had been producing the premiership or governorship and therefore it was now the turn of his own area to produce the governor whether the candidate from that area is competent or not. This is part of the crisis in Nigeria.
If these are the attitudes by which Nigeria is being governed, are we surprised that things are the way they are? Are we surprised that nothing is happening in Nigeria? Some people are feeding fat on the land and the rest of us are being held to ransom. Nigeria is a very interesting country where almost anything goes. If you are in the corridors of power then you can do almost anything you like and get away with it. We need to revisit the Nigerian situation. There must be some form of fairness, some form of probity, some kind of level playing field and there must be good governance. There must be commitment to the Nigerian cause rather than to personal causes and self-serving causes. Otherwise we are going to keep going round in circles. It is time for us to sit down at a table and discuss exactly what we want. How are we going to put the best people in the right positions in order to get the best results? Or are we just going to keep on ‘managing’ in Nigeria? It is time for us to rise up and speak the truth because so many people are still burying their heads in the sands. I believe that Nigeria has so much potential and so much possibility of being great and wonderful that we cannot because of self-serving interests allow our entire nation to go to waste. The question I leave you with is how can we resolve the situation of Nigeria?
So our leaders have been spending a lot of their time plot-
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Vol. 9 No. 1
Ituah Ighodalo EDITOR
...for the New Year As Selected by You - Our Readers
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Culture A Dissection of Chimamanda’s “The Thing Around your Neck at Farafina Book Review Style The Coolest Watches Money can Buy Society “My Vagina is Embarrasing...”
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. m not m e t f i o gift ters co.uk. a t e e l v in o. cei d e o r n h l e a l an s rage@y onth wi c u Yo cou very m s s e l time letter e r A sta
Adeleke Adeyemi Uche Izayah SENIOR EDITORIAL ASSISTANT
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SEPTEMBER 2010 TIMELESS
The ‘Christian pilgrimage’ fraud: Stop the scam now!
hristianity – which took its precursor system of faith, Judaism, to a whole new definitive level – is in a class all by itself as the only faith without any injunction whatsoever to adherents to undergo pilgrimage, or any journey of faith, to any ‘holy land,’ so-called, anywhere.
The practice is at best unchristian and may even be anti-Christian. Believers in the Judeo-Christian faith tradition have most unwittingly weakened their own witness by being high-strung on inanities that are no more than tripping around on ex-
It promotes corruption, cronyism, and misguided spirituality for the Christian. Now a multimilliondollar business, it has survived only because it preys on Christian sensibilities and ignorance of their Scriptures and historic faith. It is a shame that Church leadership, not just in Nigeria but all over the world, has anything to do with it. Many ‘Christian pilgrims’ have been known to abscond while on their excuse of a religious jamboree to travel to another country where the grass seems to be greener, thus further degrading the good name of Nigeria. It is high time government hands off pilgrimage affairs, what is properly a private business best left to tour operators and travel agents, for people with the means and intent on undertaking such trips, for whatever private reasons. The president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) are hereby called upon to lead the way in doing truth in this regard: to put a stop to government patronage of Christian sensibilities and begin a campaign of turning down the political incentivisation of spiritual matters and of faith. In Christianity, according to the word of its Lord, Jesus Christ, and His holy apostles, who followed directly in His steps, pilgrimage isn’t just not a necessity, its pursuit under any guise whatever amounts to gross inanity, a frivolous abuse of Godgiven resources. Some adherents of the Christian faith have, like their ancestors of faith, often succumbed to the human penchant to be seen to ‘belong’, by clamouring to be allowed to carry on “as the other nations” – a weakness to be purged from the Body, not pandered to. National Geographic Editor in Chief, Chris Johns, whose world-renowned magazine has a recent Special Edition issue on “Sacred Journeys”, or pilgrimages, wrote in the foreword to that edition that he related to a Canadian Christian “how exhilarating [his] experience” had been journeying up the summit of the Ol Doinyo (“Mountain of God”) in northern Tanzania, East Africa, and now “[he] understood why the Maasai venerated the peak”; he reported the candid Christian response he got: ‘[The Christian] replied that he had no need for a sacred mountain. All he needed for his journey, he said, 6
was the Bible and Jesus Christ.’ According to the great Roman Catholic theologian St. Gregory of Nyssa (c. 335 – 394), an early Father of the Church (born in present-day Niksar, Turkey), sent in 381 by the Church to reorganize the churches of Arabia, in his essay, “On Pilgrimages”: “When the Lord invites the blest to their inheritance...He does not include a pilgrimage to Jerusalem [the principal ‘Christian pilgrimage site’] among their good deeds; when He announces the Beatitudes, He does not name among them that sort of devotion.... there is no gain for the godly pilgrim in return for having been there [hence no] reason [to] undergo the toil of so long a journey...” The newly enlightened National Geographic journalist later in his write-up conceded that “spiritual journeys...can be...simply to a quiet place in our hearts.” Indeed it should. (Emphases added.) It is to this simplicity of faith that the Lord Jesus Christ calls his own as he explained, at the beginning of the Christian era, to the Samaritan woman he met at Jacob’s Well (a pre-Christ pilgrimage site for a sect of Judaism). In response to her challenge of “Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship,” Jesus replied: “Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what...But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” True (i.e. conscientious) Christians believe Him--and not human religious traditions that seek to venerate mere places as, properly speaking, objects worthy of adoration, or worship. National Geographic fittingly focused on an incongruity “in Syria [where] Muslims and Christians worship together at ancient Christian shrines thought to cure infertility...” The magazine reports how “...full of hope, supplicants travel great distances to touch a holy rock or a brass plate.” Every year, best estimates state there are 300 million faith-tourism travellers around the world, generating USD 18 billion in revenue. The Christian per cent of the number are represented in Thomas, one of Jesus’ 12 Disciples who doubted the word of the Lord and insisted rather on something palpable and got--from a saddened but understanding Lord-a stinging rebuke, instead of a blessing in return. The abuse is pointedly poignant in Nigeria, with church leadership playing a game of ‘what’s-goodfor-the-goose-is-also-good-for-the-gander’ in seeking government sponsorship to go on purported pilgrimages, to balance out scores and settlements being kept with ‘the people of the other religion’, a shameful scenario they don’t consider to be unworthy of the honour of the Christian God and His Christ. The Scriptures have been abused in trying to justify the pretentious practice by quoting, right out of context, from the Resurrection passage in the earliest Gospel account by Mark: “The angels said unto them...he is risen ... Come see the place where they
laid him...” while conveniently leaving out the fact that there’s no agreement among the various Christian communities of faith where the tomb in reference was situated – a powerful pointer to the tomb’s instructive irrelevance as a focus of devotion of any worth. Among the ranks of ‘pilgrims to the Holy land’, stretching over many centuries, starting in the 9th, have come the Crusaders –the most inimical witness against the Christian witness today – who turned renegade to their faith because of their selfprescribed quest of reclaiming pieces of ‘Holy Land’ real estate bounty from its latest occupiers. For the Christian pilgrimage on earth, the following passage from Micah represents the sane and binding Christian injunction to follow. It is devoid of the smell of an idolatrous past or a foolish future: “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” – What any Christian both can and is actually expected to do anywhere they may be located on earth. Any Christian that feels like going to Israel to see Biblical tourist destinations is free to do so using his personal resources. But we ask that we stop calling such trips ‘pilgrimages’ and government should hands off sponsoring such ‘Christian pilgrimages.’ The argument of ‘what’s-good-for-the-goose-isalso-good-for-the-gander’ while politically correct is morally and spiritually wrong.
SETUP* Africa in collaboration with Science Debate USA presents
“Nigeria, Meet the MDGs”: A Call for Presidential and Statewide Debates on Science and Our Future Can We Regain Our Competitive Edge? Toward A Science Agenda for Nigeria “Science must be the pivot upon which policies are based because even the Millennium Development Goals [MDGs] are science-based. There is a linear correlation between development and the level of science in a country.” -- Dr. Sunny Kuku, Member, Nigerian Academy of Science The Science Debate Challenge: “Given the many urgent scientific and technological challenges -- represented by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), set for 2015 -- facing Nigeria and Africa and indeed the world at large, the increasing need for accurate scientific information in political decision-making, and the vital role scientific innovation plays in spurring economic growth and competitiveness in the global marketplace, we call for public debates in which the Nigerian presidential and other candidates share their views on the issues of The Environment, Power and Energy, Health and Medicine, and Science and Technology Policy.” (Adapted from ScienceDebate.org) This initiative is proudly supported by Nigeria Association of Science Journalists (NASJ) and Café Scientifique Nigeria “...an appeal to the well-being of Nigeria as the world is overtaken by the global science revolution that is now driving our economy. Those who do not lead with foresight will be left behind and not enjoy the gains. The future is quite literally at stake here.” – Shawn Otto, Science Debate co-founder To get the Contenders to step up to The ScienceDebate Podium, sign the petition today! Go to: www.facebook.com/sciencedebateNG www.setupafrica.org You can also submit Questions for consideration as well as comments and otherwise. Nigeria Convener: Adeleke “Mai Nasara” Adeyemi – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Mobile: +2348023920443 (Text only) NASJ rep: Onche Odeh – Email: email@example.com
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International Visitors Leadership Programme holds Roundtable on the Nigerian Electoral Process Uche Izayah
he United States International Visitors Leadership Programme (IVLP) held a roundtable on the Nigerian Electoral Process at the Afe Babalola Auditorium, University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos. Some of the speakers at the occasion included Senator Joy Emordi, who chaired the event; popular Lawyer and political activist, Mr. Femi Falana; Mr. Matthew Trumbull, Vice-Consul, US Consulate General, Lagos; Dr. Adekunle Ogunmola, INEC Resident Electoral commissioner for Lagos State; Prof. O. Akintola, a notable Muslim Cleric and founder Muslim Rights Concern and Rev. George Ashiru, Convener of the Lagos Town Hall meeting. The event was a meeting of minds for various stakeholders in the electoral process; the political class, electorate, government agencies, NGO’s, the press and security organisations. The issues discussed ranged from INEC’s readiness to conduct credible elections, to voter registration and community action to protect voters and their votes. First to speak was Senator Emordi; her speech set the tone for the day by identifying the sanctity of votes as the most important facet of the democratic process. Following her was Mr. Femi Falana Esq. who in his usual manner delighted the audience with details of events leading up to the declaration of Mr. Kayode Fayemi as the rightful governor of Ekiti state. Perhaps the highpoint of his speech was his scathing rebuke of the Nigerian elite for their political apathy. An inspiring aspect of the meeting was a speech by Mr. Taiwo Adewale, an Alumnus of IVLP and one of three Nigerians who met with President Obama in 2010. According to Mr. Adewale, Obama expressed deep disappointment with most political leaders in Africa and as a result his administration had turned its attention to the young people in the hope that they would provide the leadership to build a different Africa over the next fifty years. On his part, Mr. Matthew Trumbull, talked about how elections are conducted in his hometown of Toledo in Ohio. He explained that the goals of their elections were that those who had the right to vote, did vote, and that votes were counted. He also highlighted how various election workers worked with one another to ensure that election goals were met. The representative of the INEC chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, Dr. Adekunle Ogunmola, asked the audience not to trust the INEC chairman or any of the INEC staff until they have delivered on their promise to the Nigerian people. Dr. Ogunmola startled the audience with his revelation that INEC had uncovered 87 ways in which elections could be rigged. According to Dr. Ogunmola, part of INEC’s response to the problem of election rigging will be to make all voter registration units also serve as polling units. In addition, all INEC ad hoc staff will be completely traceable, because the commission will be in full control of recruitment and compile a list of ad hoc staff. Moreover, all payments to ad hoc staff will be made to individuals’ bank accounts
Toyin & Deji Wed in Style
ove was definitely in the air as Oluwatoyin, the daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Jacob Aigbogun Jeremiah and Adedeji, the son of Elder & Mrs. Adeleye Elijah Oloyede were joined in Holy Matrimony. The church service took place at Trinity House, Victoria Island, Lagos and the colourful Red & White reception took place at The Incubator, Victoria Island, Lagos. The lucky couple expressed their joy and gratitude to God as they danced happily together. The occasion was graced by numerous family, friends and well wishers who prayed that God would grant them a blissful and fruitful marriage. MARCH 2011
Uk Based Nigerian Author, Darey Wealth Launches Book on Entrepreneurship
t an event attended by leaders from the educational sector, the business community and the media as well as other industries, the award winning UK based entrepreneurial education consultant, Darey Wealth Odunuga received accolades for the timeliness of her Youth Empowerment project and her new book’s robust content.
Speaking at the launching of the book titled Chronicles of an Entrepreneur, Mr. Dimeji Matseun, a Telecommunications businessman and the Chairman of the event described the book as the signs of the change that is taking place across the globe. According to Dimeji, “Darey Wealth is a beacon of hope for African women and entrepreneurs in general. That this book is coming at a time where another young person named Mark Zukerberg has just been named TIME Magazine Person of the year is instructive of the fact that young people are taking over in doing great things across the globe and Nigeria must give more opportunities to her young citizens by making the necessary investment in the educational sector.” Also speaking at the event, Alhaji Lai Mohammed (The Action Congress National Publicity Secretary) represented by his wife, Mrs. Lai Mohammed launched the book with N250, 000 and called on Corporate bodies and the government to support the author’s project on youth entrepreneurial education as it presents an opportunity for human capacity development in the country. Chronicles of an Entrepreneur tells the story of an inspired Nigerian Entrepreneur based in the UK; a tale on quest, getting trained, and achieving your dreams, it models in a down to earth fashion the different elements that will inspire anyone that wants to explore new opportunities or start their own business on an International Platform and beyond. The book is a project to encourage Human Capacity Building for Youth Empowerment. Darey Wealth O. is an award winning UK based Serial Entrepreneur, Educator, Training & Development Consultant, Publisher and PR Executive. She is also the CEO/Creative Director of “The Strides Company” which houses its collective brands such as Strides Media, Strides Business Academy, Strides Training & Development and Strides Consulting with offices in the UK, U.S.A and Nigeria. With an initial Bachelors degree in Economics, Darey went on to become “a seasoned Masters Graduate of Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation from the School of Business, University of Essex, United Kingdom.” The book reviewer, Mrs. Ini Onuk, Executive Secretary of Women in Business and Management in Nigeria commended the efforts of Darey Wealth and stated: “Darey’s book and project success in England and in Nigeria is a confirmation to the fact that when a woman truly focuses her mind on achieving anything of worth, she can achieve it and prove a strong point to the world and pessimists on women empowerment.” In attendance at the book launch were: Prof. Ezeldin Mukhtar Abdurahman (Vice-Chancellor, Kaduna State University,) Mrs. Folashade Erogbogbo (Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education Lagos State), Hajia Uwani Yahya (Director, National Open University, Abuja), Honourable Lola Akande (Member, Lagos State House of Assembly) and Ini Onuk (The Executive Secretary of WIMBIZ) amongst other dignitaries.
GSM Revolution in Nigeria: 10 years After The Good, The Bad and the Silly… Tola Majolagbe
he world is fast becoming a global village and a necessary tool for this process is communication, of which telecommunication is a key element. Development in the telecommunications industry all over the world is very rapid as one innovation replaces another in a matter of weeks. A major breakthrough is the wireless telephone system, which comes in either fixed wireless lines or the Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM)
GSM is a cellular network, which means that mobile phones connect to it by searching for cells in the immediate vicinity. There are five different cell sizes in a GSM network—macro, micro, pico, femto and umbrella cells. The coverage area of each cell varies according to the implementation environment. The development of GSM was prompted by the need to provide seamless telecommunications throughout Europe. In the early 1980s, analogue mobile telephony was growing rapidly and operators found it increasingly difficult to interconnect the various networks in Europe as each implementation of the analogue service was fundamentally different making internetworking a serious challenge. To address this, a study group called ‘Group Special Mobile’ (where GSM got its name) was formed and was tasked to provide a standardized system for mobile telephony. Out of this group (and seven years later), the GSM standard was realized. In January 1992, the first GSM network, OY Radioing AB in Finland went on air.
Photograph by George Osodi
Today, GSM covers billions of users on thousands of networks all over the world, and is the fastest growing technology of all time. GSM mobile networks have been established in Europe, the North America, South America, Asia, Africa and Australasia, woven together by international roaming agreements and a common bond called the “Memorandum of Understanding” (MoU) which defines the GSM standards and the different phases of its world-wide implementation. Nigeria and GSM: Sociological, Economic and Technological implications The GSM technology is 10 years in Nigeria this year and looking back to what life used to be for all of us before the GSM evolution in Nigeria; it gives one a clear understanding of the positive impact GSM has on Nigerians. The way we used to communicate and do businesses have changed tremendously, the life of the common people has also been touched in different ways; the technology cuts across every facet of life. The GSM revolution in Nigeria started with ECONET Wireless Nigeria Limited (later changed to V-mobile then Celtel to Zain and now Airtel) which was one of the winners of GSM licenses in Nigeria, a Zimbabwean based company with strong ties in South Africa. Then came Mobile Telecommunications Network Nigeria limited (MTN) which led Africa into a new age of economic developments using telecommunications as the spring board. Globacom and Etisalat followed later. Mtel, the government owned GSM company, which started with Econet and MTN has fallen by the wayside. Now in Nigeria we have Airtel, MTN, Globacom, and Etisalat.
GSM mobile communication in Nigeria has had direct and indirect impact on the populace, the corporate world and the society at large. The introduction of GSM for example has had a significant impact on crime reduction as it has been noted that crime detection and reporting to law enforcement agencies has improved. In fact, a particular GSM operator provides a service that helps trace stolen vehicles in the country. This service has led to the recovery of many stolen cars. Accessibility to phone services ensures quick calls to security operations when the need arises as well as informing fire stations during fire incidents to save live and properties.
in Nigeria, and one of the biggest gains of the GSM revolution. If you have ever visited the Computer Village, located in Ikeja, Lagos, said to be the largest phone market in Africa, you will understand the magnitude of this particular sub sector of the GSM business. The impact is also felt in the way businesses are done these days, as it has reduced the risk and cost of traveling long distances, since one can be in his house and actually attend to his business using his mobile phone. It has made all of us ubiquitous.
Job creation and employment is one of the good things that GSM has also brought to us; the sector is the highest sector that has employed both skilled and unskilled manpower in recent times. A great number of people have been given employment in the GSM companies where they make a living and are useful to their families. The technology has facilitated economic development providing easy and effective communication needed to stimulate and promote trade between Nigeria and its foreign partners. Even at home, it plays a significant role in communicating government programmes to the populace. Above all, it has encouraged investment which in the long run promotes employment opportunities. Apart from direct employment, jobs have been created, where many people are self reliant doing their own GSM businesses, such as call centre services and the sale of recharge cards to GSM users. Looking around the cities, towns and even villages, one will hardly walk about two poles without seeing a call center characterized by the use of umbrellas, kiosks and even shops painted with the colours of the mobile service providers. It is easy to start because it requires little startup capital, in fact all you need is your umbrella as a shade, a stool, a table and your handset loaded with calling credit of any amount say N1000, and you have started. This has provided a means of livelihood for many people who would have been unemployed; some have also learnt the technical aspect of the business by repairing and fixing of mobile phones in their repair shops. Mobile phones are quickly becoming an affordable, germane, and accessible tool to improve the livelihoods of individuals and groups in developing countries. The rapid spread of mobiles has been aided by pre-pay options that allow users to control their spending. The number of mobile users is often much higher than the actual number of phones, as many people allow family and friends to use their phones. Community phone shops allow many more people to gain access to telecommunications. Increased mobile connectivity improves access to information. Knowledge of latest prices in different markets, for example, can improve price transparency for small farmers and fishermen who can cut out the middlemen and gain direct access to markets. Sales of GSM phones and its accessories are also big business, which are considered very profitable here
Ernest Ndukwe, former Executive Chairman Nigeria Communications Commission
Corporate organizations like the banks for example have integrated GSM technology into their banking operations known as Mobile banking where a customer has full access to his or her account using his mobile phone. Examination bodies and educational institutions have also employed this technology where candidates check their results on their mobile phones. The Internet can also be accessed from the mobile phone and other value added services like picture messaging, music downloads etc, giving the users a beautiful experience. The mobile providers have also stimulated the media, marketing and advertising industry providing educational facilities, AIDS awareness campaign, ICT labs, hospitals and sponsorship of several events, including the Nigerian Football Premiership League where a huge amount of money is set aside for the development of Nigerian football. One of the providers also has a Foundation setup to attend to its corporate social responsibility initiatives. With many service providers coming on board and expansion of network services even among the existing services providers, things can only get better. It is therefore expected that access will be extended to more rural communities in Nigeria and in the not distant future the whole country will have been covered. The GSM technology has made the lives of Nigerians better and our social life has also being impacted on, relationships with friends, relatives and loved ones are kept alive through phones calls and short message service. We are still expecting more from these networks and hopefully they would be able to integrate their services to become friendly to every user regardless of class.
The Nigerian GSM Revolution: A Perspective
By Gabriel Oyevesho Akinlade-Daniel
igeria joined the rest of the world in acquiring the Global System for Mobile Telecommunication, popularly known as GSM in August 2001 and this changed the face of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in Nigeria. Licenses were issued in February 2001. It was indeed a defining moment in the history of Nigeria after several years of waiting to join the world in the acquisition of this very important means of communication. Before this historic breakthrough, Nigeria’s telecommunication industry had been in a sorry state characterized by obsolete infrastructures, non-availability of telephone lines, epileptic service delivery, inefficiency and corruption. However, the deregulation of the telecommunications sector led to the introduction of major Global System of Mobile Communications (GSM), mobile phone providers MTN Nigeria, Econet (now Airtel), Globacom, MTel and now Etisalat and this has created healthy rivalry amongst them. Since the GSM launch, mobile telephony has rapidly become the most popular method of voice communication in Nigeria. Growth has been so rapid that Nigeria has been rightly described in various fora as “one of the fastest growing GSM markets in the world”. The combined activities of Nigeria’s telecoms providers i.e. GSM, PTOs, telephony and VSAT operators and NCC’s regulatory efforts has led to increased competition and availability of a wide range of voice, data and internet applications and services. The improvement in the telecom situation in Nigeria has made significant impact in all sectors – Politics, Economy, Social and Educational. The telecommunication boom in Nigeria today has resulted into greater usage of Internet technology, growth and availability of cybercafés, increased internet provision by ISP and PTOs, increased communication services (e.g. mobile telephony, e-mail etc), reduction of internet costs, online information gathering and research, e-learning, internet business opportunities, online advertising opportunities as well as developments in e-banking. Growth has been phenomenal because of the size of Nigeria and Nigerians who have been starved of such access for years. It will be recalled that a few years ago, “cyber café” was a strange word in the Nigerian lexicon but thank God that today cyber cafés exist in virtually every neighborhood especially in the urban centers. However, because the cost of ICT is still relatively high for most individuals in Nigeria, the cybercafé has significantly improved our accessibility to the Internet. This is particularly significant as the ITU publication, states: “if information is power, then the internet must be the easiest way of empowering those that have traditionally been left behind.”
Ten years on, the statistics of telecommunication usage in Nigeria are quite impressive and Nigeria has left the infamous company of countries with the lowest “teledensity” in the world. Consequently, with millions of telephone lines today, the telecommunications sector in Nigeria has really performed creditably. • GSM revolution has brought changes in people’s lifestyle • Today mobile phones have become a powerful tool for business, relationships, security, entertainment and fun. • Business transactions now get sorted out over the phone and within minutes. • People no longer have to make avoidable trips from one part of the town/country to the other to keep appointments with clients or prospects • In fact with mobile phones, one can actually keep track of the proceedings of a business meeting. • For entertainment and fun, there seems to be no limit to what people can do with their phones • As a result of the change GSM has brought to Nigeria, phone manufacturers for the Nigerian market are outdoing each other to offer better ring tones and other accessories like multimedia, camera, video recorders/players, hi-fi audio players, etc. • Advertising and Media, as well as Construction, have also benefitted from GSM revolution aside investments in sports, events and entertainment sponsorships • Another industry that has benefited from the GSM revolution is the banking industry. In addition to sales relationships between banks and the GSM Operators, some banks were very active in providing funds for the mobile companies to expand their networks The facts are there for all to see. There has been substantial improvement in access to telecom facilities and unprecedented growth in the telecoms network. Is it right to say we have arrived at the Promised Land? Certainly not! In view of Nigeria’s size and requirements of telecommunications infrastructure needed, it is still grossly inadequate. One believes however that with the opening up of the telecoms space further, dramatic growth is expected as service and reliability demands increase. Therefore, in-depth penetration and qualitative infrastructure growth is critical. Undoubtedly, mobile phones have changed the way we live, for good, and at times for bad, given the growing trend of scam calls, 419 and other crimes committed via mobile networks. Though GSM has had positive impact on Nigerians, it has also had negative implications. In the area of safety and security, GSM has saved so many lives, yet it has caused so many deaths. Rosy as the picture
of GSM is, there are still some acute impediments to the growth and development of GSM in Nigeria. These impediments are directly or indirectly proportional to the satisfaction customers are deriving from GSM services. • Quality of service (network and customer service quality). While availability has grown, this has not been matched by quality of service. It is not enough to have cheap simcards and low cost bandwidth. Efficiency and accessibility of telecoms service is very important • Poor electricity supply. Power generation is one of the major challenges GSM operators are facing in Nigeria. It is indeed a debilitating challenge. • Another factor is multiple taxations on the GSM service provider by the various tiers of government • Incessant and unreasonable demands by host communities, which has led to vandalisation of communication gadgets and sometimes death of staff. • Today high cost is still a barrier. But more should be done to bring down call tariffs and rates to have transformatory effect. The aim should be low cost Internet and phone service. Also infuriating is poor service delivery by the service providers. For instance call drops and comments such as ‘please call back’, ‘this call cannot be completed’ and all other infuriating comment and network failures. These are not very complimentary especially when these things are done and they still take money off you. Despite these few ups and downs in the telecommunication and the GSM sector, it is very obvious that the coming of the GSM has totally changed the perceptions of Nigerians and helped to bury completely a statement credited to the current Senate President, Senator David Mark some years ago when as Minister for Communications during the despotic rule of the Evil Genius and Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida said that telephones are not for the poor. But we thank God that both the poor and the rich can now afford a GSM phone even our old mothers in the village! The GSM revolution has done well for Nigerians and we only hope and wait anxiously for further improvements and that day when the cost of airtime will drop as low as ten naira per minute. I will say bravo to the GSM operators in Nigeria because despite the harsh operating environment and the epileptic supply of electricity, they have done well. I can only say well done and thank you! Akinlade-Daniel is the Pastor-in-Charge of RCCG, Gate of Heaven Parish, Orile-Iganmu, Lagos. E-MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mo Ibrahim – Africa’s leading GSM proponent
r. Mo Ibrahim (born in 1946) is a Sudanese born British international communications expert. He was the founder of Celtel International and one of Africa’s most successful business leaders. Dr. Ibrahim is a global expert in mobile communications with a distinguished academic and business career. In 1998, he founded MSI Cellular Investments, which was later renamed Celtel International. The company now operates in 15 African countries, under licenses that cover more than a third of the continent’s population. The company has invested more than $750m in Africa, helping to bring the benefits of mobile communications to millions of people across the continent. In 2005, Celtel was sold to MTC Kuwait for $3.4bn, making it one of Africa’s most successful companies ever. Dr. Ibrahim holds a B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Alexandria, Egypt, an M.Sc. in Electronics and Electrical Engineering from the University of Bradford, and PhD in Mobile Communications from the University of Birmingham. He is a member of the Africa Regional Advisory Board of the London Business School. In 2008, he was named Britain’s most influential black person. He has wealth beyond the comprehension of his family and peers. The Mo Ibrahim Foundation which he set up, is, he said, trying to re-brand Africa. The award for Achievement in African Leadership offers a prize of $5m (£3.1m) to former leaders who have promoted good governance, with $200,000 (£123,000) per year for the rest of their lives.
Mobile phones link villages in Nigeria. Jamilah Tangaza
he challenge of broadcasting in Northern Nigeria is getting tougher as the traditionally popular radio listening gives way to GSM mobile phones and the internet. We decided to meet this challenge by giving hard-to-reach audiences mobile phones so they can send in reports about themselves. There are 85 million mobile telephone subscribers in Nigeria today, in a population of over 140 million, while use of the internet - particularly in urban areas - is on the increase. BBC Hausa is now a multimedia broadcaster, using radio, online and mobile. To help us deliver the best for our audience, we looked at how they were changing the way they live their lives and their increasingly sophisticated approach to media. A road show we undertook touring 22 areas earlier this year helped and by the end of it we knew we needed a strategy which actively collaborated with our audience and helped them to network. The result is Labarinku A Tafinku (Your News in Your Palms) which we have rolled out across six northern Ni-
geria villages including Daba, Fadibara and Sayori. And we have literally put BBC Hausa in their hands by giving the villagers mobile phones. The villagers use the mobiles to send stories direct to us. Their pictures, via mobile, are used on bbchausa.com and on BBC Hausa’s Facebook page. And we are already seeing results. Our editorial content from Nigeria has significantly increased and we are seeing closer relationships being forged by the communities themselves - with BBC Hausa being the moderator for much of the conversation. It’s a radical departure from how BBC Hausa has served its audience over many generations, but by tapping into how our audience wants to communicate we are making sure BBC Hausa remains a relevant and essential part of Nigerian life. My hope now is that we can partner with more villages and that by working with technology we can deliver more innovations in the future. Jamilah Tangaza is the Head of BBC Hausa Service
Life & Society FAMILY
Caring for your Smile Titilope Oyelade
ften times I have heard and seen what people go through having pains in their teeth depriving many from smiling or laughing publicly or in a pose for pictures. A beautiful smile starts with great teeth, but genetics can create crooked teeth, under or overbites or even soft enamel prone to cavities. Teeth may become chipped, abscessed or stained. Procedures that once horrified our parents are now done easily and with little fuss: root canals, bonding, white fillings and even tooth replacements are simple dental procedures. Taking care of your teeth means more than brushing with a good toothbrush twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste, and visiting the dentist twice a year but those are the basics for caring for your smile. As we get older, problems with bad teeth and gums start to show in terms of yellowing, chipping or sensitivity. With age, teeth lose their whiteness and begin to yellow. Strong, healthy teeth help you look your best. If you don’t take care for your teeth, it won’t be long before cavities and unhealthy gums make your mouth very, very sore. Eating meals will be difficult and you won’t feel like smiling much either. One sure-fire way to take years off your appearance is by whitening your teeth with a home or professional whitener. Many toothpastes claim to be “whitening”, but when you read the label, you’ll see the only active ingredient is fluoride. Fluoride is necessary for preventing cavities, but it doesn’t do anything for
whiter teeth. Other over-thecounter “whitening” products include baking soda and peroxide. Baking soda wisdom works by friction: it polishes stains from teeth. But, if your enamel is thin in places, baking soda can wear it further, exposing the dentin layer beneath the enamel. When that happens, you wind up with a brown spot or pit in the tooth where enamel tends to wear away naturally and is weak. Whitening toothpastes can’t fix worn enamel: it takes a trip to the dentist to replace the missing layer with bonding. If your gums bleed when you brush your teeth, you could be on the way towards some very severe situations that have been proven to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, and more. If your gums are swollen, or bleed, then your entire circulatory system is open to the attack of every form of bacteria that is present in your mouth. Symptoms such as swollen or bleeding gums are warning signs that our bodies give us so that we can take action to prevent the underlying cause from progressing beyond control. Many women will find that problems with their gums and oral health occur during the times of puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. Hormone increases during these times can increase the flow of blood to the gums, which can make them red, swollen, and tender. Some women are more likely to see swollen, bleeding gums prior to each menstrual period with the symptoms subsiding once the period has begun. During pregnancy, swollen and bleeding gums typically begin around the third month and lasts through the eighth. The most uncommon of these hormonal causes takes place during menopause, in which women frequently complain of a dryer sensation in the mouth that can result in swelling, soreness, and bleeding. Tips for Dental Care - Use fluoride, which strengthens tooth enamel and helps prevent bacteria in plaque from causing cavities. Some drinking water are fluoridated, and toothpastes and mouth rinses with the Nigerian Dental Association seal contain proper amount of
fluoride. - Eat a balanced diet that includes fruit and vegetables, cereals, dairy product, and meat. Calcium is essential for strong teeth and bones. Good source includes milk, cheese, yoghurt, etc. - Eat balanced diet that includes vegetables and fruits, cereals, dairy product, and meat. Calcium is essential for strong teeth and bones. Good source include milk, cheese, yoghurt etc. - Don’t chew on hard substances like ice and pop corn kernels and don’t grind your teeth. This habit can cause damage to the enamel. - Cigarette and chewing tobacco can stain your teeth and contribute to gum disease or even cause oral cancer. Excessive amount of red wine, coffee and tea can as well stain your teeth. - See your dentist every six months for a general check up and cleaning. - Replace that old toothbrush! – dentists recommend replacing a toothbrush every three to four months because worn bristles may not clean teeth and gums effectively. So if your current brush has seen better days, make a change. Look for a brush that has dual bristles to remove bacteria plague between teeth at the gum line. No matter how old you are, you need to take care of your teeth and mouth. When your mouth is healthy, you can eat the foods you need for good nutrition. You will also feel better about smiling, talking, and laughing. Teeth are meant to last a lifetime. By taking good care of your teeth and gums, you can protect them for many years. Especially for this season
Life & Society moment you touch the foot, so that the effect is light and springy. 6. Stroke around the ankle with your fingertips, as you stroke up toward the leg and gently as you glide back. Finish by stroking the foot as you did at the beginning.
The Magic Touch of Self Massage Tola Majolagbe
assages can be relaxing, especially at the end of a hectic stressful workday. The pace of the modern life adds to pent up stress and tension like never before and you might often feel at your wits end. Well, a good massage at the hands of a professional definitely sounds good. However, the problem might be that you do not find the time or the opportunity to visit a good masseur. If this is the case, you might consider a self massage How to Self-Massage You can easily learn to massage yourself. Use selfmassage to energize yourself before school or work in the morning, or to unwind in the evening. You do not need to undress, but you must be comfortable. Use massage oil if you are massaging on bare skin. Sit in a massage chair or on the floor, or lie down with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Shoulders 1. Stroke your right shoulder with your left hand. Starting at the base of your skull, stroke down the side of your neck, over your shoulder and down your arm to the elbow. Glide back to your neck and repeat at least three times. Then do the other side. 2. Make circular pressures with your fingertips on either side of the spine. Work up the neck and around the base of the skull. Then squeeze and release the flesh on each shoulder and at the top of your arms. 3. Loosely clench your left hand into a fist and gently
pound your right shoulder. Keep your wrist flexible. This can be very invigorating if you are tired. Repeat on the other side. 4. Finish by stroking smoothly with both hands. Start with your hands on the side of your face and glide them gently down under your chin. Slide your hands past each other at the front of the neck, so that each hand is on the opposite shoulder. Stroke gently over your shoulders, down your arms and off at the fingertips. Repeat as often as you like. This hypnotic stroke can relieve headaches and tension. Feet 1. Put one hand on the top of your foot and the other under the sole. Stroke smoothly from your toes to your ankles. Glide your hands back to your toes and repeat. 2. Support your foot with one hand and work on each toe individually. Squeeze each toe firmly, and gently stretch with a gentle pull. 3. With one thumb on top of the other, do a line of firm pressures down the center of the sole and lines on either side. Then, with one thumb, do circular pressures on the arch and ball. 4. Support your foot with one hand and make the other into a loose fist. Do knuckling movements all over the sole by rippling your fingers around in small circular movements. 5. Still holding your foot with one hand, hack the sole with your other hand. Flick your hand away the
Hands 1. Stroke the back of your hand, pushing firmly up toward the wrist and gliding back gently. Then squeeze the hand all over, pressing it between your palm and your fingers. 2. Squeeze each finger and make circular pressures over the joints with your thumb. Then hold the finger at its base and pull it gently to stretch it, sliding your grip up the finger and off the tip. 3. Stroke between the tendons on the back of the hand with your thumb. Stroke in the furrow to the wrists, doing four strokes in each furrow. 4. Turn your hand over and support the back with your fingers. Do firm circular and static pressures with your thumb, working all over the palm and around the wrist. 5. Finish the massage by stroking the palm of your hand from the fingers to the wrist. Push into it with the heel of your other hand, then glide gently back and repeat. Abdomen 1. This massage is ideal for menstrual pain. Start by stroking clockwise around your abdomen with one hand following the other in a circle, using the whole surface of your hands. 2. Knead all over your abdomen with your fingers and thumbs. Then roll onto your side to knead your hips and bottom. Turn onto your back and stroke around your abdomen again. 3. To wake yourself up after a massage, pummel your hips and bottom vigorously. Stand up and with loosely clenched fists, pummel the area very quickly. Flick your hands away as soon as you strike the skin.
Life & Society
Safety on Board
ave you ever noticed how as soon as a plane touches down and seemingly comes to a stop, almost everybody (at least in the economy or coach cabin) seem to literarily spring out from their seats and immediately start to bring out their stowed carryon luggage ...even before the seatbelt sign goes off? Yes, I noticed it too and I initially thought it was a typically Nigerian thing, but soon discovered to my amazement that regardless of the colour of your skin or the geographical region you come from, most people do it! You know I mentioned earlier that the major culprits are usually those seated in the economy cabin? And then I begin to wonder.... could it be that they are simply in such a rush (as most of us usually are) to get off the plane and don’t want to delay a moment longer??? But hang on... they still have to wait for the first class and business class passengers to disembark first!!! So why put yourself, as well as other passengers at risk? If the seat belt sign has not gone off, then it simply means it is not yet safe for you to stand up! The plane for all you know may not have yet reached its final stop, it may still jerk forward a little, and a sudden movement like that can bring some of those carryon luggage (which by now would have been tossed up and down during the duration of the flight and probably would have shifted from their original position) tumbling down on and seri16
ously hurting you and (or) those around you. Another pretty amusing one is when you get on the plane and after the aircraft doors have been shut and you’re politely asked to switch off your mobile phones, you still hear people happily chatting away on their mobile phones and also still hear all manner of ring tones competing with one another. In reality, it would not be so amusing if only we were fully aware of the danger it poses. Some people have argued that the electromagnetic field emitted by the phone is not strong enough to significantly affect the aircraft’s own radar readings. However, I believe it is better to be safe than sorry.... or don’t you? Here is wishing everyone journey mercies in this year 2011. Remember, flying is still said to be the safest mode of transportation... so, happy flying!!! Tolu is a travel consultant, extraordinaire, with a wealth of experience of over seven years in the travel and tourism industry. She is a graduate of the University of Ibadan with a B.Sc in Physiology and is currently the Managing Director of Victory Travels and Tours Limited.
Life & Society
For African orphans, sure mercies come as LittleDrops Adeleke “Mai Nasara” Adeyemi
harles Duze (pronounced dóo•zay) could not believe his eyes: Children just like him--some even younger—were rifling through trashcans behind his high school cafeteria, lucky-dipping for food! It was when he was enrolled at Federal Government College, Enugu, in Eastern Nigeria. Long after Nigeria’s Civil War ended, early in the ‘70s, ‘Coal City’, as the town of his alma mater is known, bore scars of the internecine feud that left many families in tatters. A generation later, their inheritors were yet to recover lost grounds. “Seeing this, day after day, unlocked something in me,” Charles recalls. It triggered an epiphany. “That was when I developed a real understanding and grew a passion for the plight of orphans.” There had been previous encounters pointing him to his calling. It’s all been coming back as memories of his parents taking him on visits to orphanages and motherless babies’ homes in Benin City, tucked away in Nigeria’s Midwest, where he spent part of his childhood, among other missions of mercy. He on his own continued the pilgrimage to orphanages in Enugu. After leaving Nigeria for the United States, Charles, against all odds completed both first and second degrees and landed a job with Microsoft in Seattle, Washington. His thought was to wait to become wealthy before starting a non-profit, but soon reckoned, “unless I win the lottery, becoming wealthy is way in the future for me!” But the calling couldn’t wait. In 2005, with very little money and still lots of school loans to pay off, Charles Duze started LittleDrops Orphanage Fund. His philosophy: “Little drops of help add up. To start, you don’t need a million dollars.” Lucky Charles, he met and married a woman also keen on the vision: Nkiru. She joined in the trenches, saving orphaned lives from the ravages of time and the elements. Before the pair came together, Charles had reached out to friends and co-workers to join his cause of ensuring all orphans and vulnerable children on the African continent have access to food, shelter, clean water, clothes, education, healthcare and other basic necessities of life; taking care of their present needs for a healthy childhood. Charles Duze envisioned a second component: Working to ensure that these children have a fair chance at a successful future so that they can one day stand on their own and contribute to society.
from the time, ideas and generosity of volunteers. “It’s all part of fiscal responsibility for us,” Charles explains, “to ensure that at least 90% of all donations make it to the children who need it so much. Volunteers are so important to our work.”
Charles Duze The vanguard volunteer, he took up driving LittleDrops’ online fundraising campaigns with vehicles such as their growing Facebook group; developing and updating LittleDropsOrphanageFund.org, their various blogs; creating promotional materials such as flyers, brochures, wristbands and t-shirts and promoting events in such as way that they turn out successful. LittleDrops is an all-volunteer basis non-profit organisation. Hence one major issue Charles Duze has had to deal with is identifying and keeping open lines of communication with legitimate orphanages in Africa. This was a big challenge because of difficulties with information infrastructure there. Many of the homes had little or no access to telephones or the internet. He soon hit on a homegrown solution: ask his parents in Nigeria to liaise with the orphanages there. The same idea worked for other places. Volunteers who had family or friends in those countries got them liaising with the orphanages. And whenever they travel to these countries, the volunteers visit the homes. That way LittleDrops gets extensive onsite verification without attendant expenses. And soon little drops of help trickling in begin to coalesce into ocean-spanning bailout for vulnerable children. To date, volunteers remain critical to the work of LittleDrops. For instance, their wow Website was built entirely
This no-frills model of doing non-profit, popularised by a Microsoft alumnus, John Wood (Room to Read), is now the toast of the corporate world. The business community is eager to see excellent results as turnover, with goodwill showing up on the bottom line as visible impact. For potential sponsors, it’s more than a mantra that doing good is good for business. John Wood’s widely celebrated intervention in the education sub-sector in the developing world is what Charles Duze is taking on in cheerful strides on yet another critical social front as innovative orphan empowerment programs and lines of action. Wearing a gentle, sunny smile Charles points to the similarity in operating system of both LittleDrops and Room to Read as “something that runs in the Microsoft family!” Indeed. From the Microsoft Campus in Redmond, Washington, LittleDrops has leapt onto the front page as an outstanding example of doing non-profit right. It made a big impression at the company’s Non-profit Fair recently held to take stock of the abundant volunteer spirit resident in Microsoft’s employees. It is Charles Duze’s concrete conviction that orphans are people, too – with voices that deserve to be heard. This is why LittleDrops does fund-raising enthusiastically around innovative ideas like “Express Your Dreams” contest. LittleDrops’ objects of attention can bank on such opportunities to showcase their aspirations creatively in art and writing, to open a window into their lives through which present and prospective supporters can get to appreciate them and their views of the world. It’s a great way to connect to the world of the children of Africa. For LittleDrops, it is a way to help correct the perception of the adult population about vulnerable children. An orphan is way beyond a statistic; she exists on a very personal and individual level. On the LittleDrops Website two hundred orphans, so far, have submitted essays and artworks on their dreams, passions and role models; they “now invite YOU to journey into their world to READ, VIEW, VOTE and HELP give breath to their dreams.” The invitation had a democratic imperative. Although voting is now closed, enlistment into the cause continues: “Your vote could help some orphans and/ or their homes win prizes,” the LittleDrops Web site invites. “We believe we can find 25,000 people who will care enough to listen to their stories.”
His infectious passion paid off (and still does) as a good number pitched in their support. One of them Ikenna Ekeh, joined as a volunteer way back in early 2006, “to make an impact in my own little way,” he says today. “Not just to lend a hand once every now and then... I could go further and use my God-given talents more to support the cause.”
Living & St yle
FASHION BEAUTY FOOD HOMECARE GADGETS CARS LEISURE
Fashion 101 for Plus Size Women Tola Majolagbe
eing Plus size is not a punishment and there is no need to feel shy or embarrassed about it anymore. True that your body curves go a little bit out of proportion but an bright person must deal with it. You can look at a few things which you need to follow while selecting a new dress for yourself and pick those things up for a new makeover that can make you look stylish and flattering. Dressing appropriately can do wonders to your figure; you can easily hide those few extra ounces by getting yourself clothes that highlight your flattering areas and take away attention from those you do not want make prominent and look beautiful and trendy in the process. By trendy, it does not mean that you have to buy extremely costly designer wear or something, but a careful investment in right kind of clothes is what is needed. The first thing to do is to be friendly with yourself. If you would keep on disgracing yourself, you would look dull even if you are not. Then wear what you love to wear but keep a control over it. If you think that micro mini is what you love then start hating it. Graceful cuts and good fabrics can enhance your cloth wear to a great level which is why correct se-
lection is important. You must not be afraid of using black and darker colours, black looks good on people who have more weight and it tends to make you look slimmer 1. For babes with a rounded behind: If you have a voluptuous behind, be happy because they have become the latest must have asset. Ditch the baggies and don’t be afraid to wear tight skirts and flaunt them! Wear side-zipping, loose-fitting slacks; the lower waistband makes the rear appear half the size. Please make sure to test the slacks by sitting down in them, exposure is not pleasant and will defeat the purpose! Wear flared skirts; these will cling to the backside but at the same time will not hug the thighs, giving a sexy rounded S-shape to the bum. Wear fitted dresses; one word: control. Wear tailored jackets that flare over the butt; these will balance the butt, while giving a feminine appeal. Never wear jackets that end at the butt or high-waisted pants, these will only amplify a big booty. In addition, please, remember that any panty line is awful. 2. For Bellied Babes Wear a hemmed shirttail; these cover the tummy at the front while lifting at the side creating a curvaceous effect. Wear ruched tops; the fabric will look natural instead of enhancing bulges. Wear low-waisted dresses and skirts; these will cling to the hips instead of the belly. Wear flat fronted side zipping pants; holds in the tummy with no bulking. Wear fitted jackets; these cinch in with a toning effect. Never wear hipsters; they are far too low for belly control. Make sure tops hang from the belly, not emphasizes it, like a cropped top or one that is too long. Don’t wear shiny, clingy fabrics and never wear tight belts. 3. For Babes with Bearing/Grandma Arms: The hardest body part to cover is definitely the arms. Most women have fine, fleshy upper arms, not a set of guns to be displayed. For sleek looking arms: Wear three-quarter length sleeves; these will tighten upper arms and display elegantly bejeweled wrists, stay with delicate bracelets. Wear floating cuffs; the flimsy fabric adds delicacy and wear fluted sleeves; the wideness of the cuff balances out the entire arm. Remember to wear sleeves even when it is hot.
There are plenty of fabrics that are made for free flowing air. Never wear capped sleeves as they only exaggerate big arms. Small prints are best; they cover a multitude of perceived flaws.. Finding a balance between loose and form fitting is the key. A blouse that hugs the bust and flows around the arms and waist is one such example. When you stumble upon clothing that looks good on you, stick with it! If you bought a gorgeous blouse that is perfect for your full figure then buy a couple more in other colours. The same goes for pants and skirts. A plus size wardrobe can often consist mostly of the same basic elements if you accessorize well with different jewelry, handbags, hats, shoes, and belts. Besides good fashion sense, keep a track of your exercise and diet routine to shed weight gradually, before you know it, you’ll have a traffic-stopping new look! Start loving yourself and people would love to see you. So get you own fashion sense and simply rock on.
Living & Style
Home Odour Removal
Scrunching up your nose in distaste? Get to the root of the stinky problem. Adeola Adegboyega
A professional dry or wet cleaning usually works or you can leave the pieces outside in the sun. The more airflow around them, the better. Too many people seal their houses too well, to keep in the heat or air conditioning. The smells you don’t want stay inside too. For a lingering kitchen smell, do any particular room fresheners or sprays work? They’re all about the same. They mask the odor with a stronger, nicer fragrance for a while. How about candles? Candles are a terrible way of dealing with a household odor. The black smoke builds up over time. It gets into your ductwork, it leaves residue on the walls, baseboards, everywhere. And the residue is oily — the stronger the candle smells, the oilier the wax. The residue yellows your carpets, curtains, and upholstery. What happens when, say, a mouse dies somewhere in the house? It’s awful, and it can last for months while the carcass decomposes. If you can find and get rid of the body, clean the spot with a Lysol disinfectant or a mixture of half water, half chlorine bleach. Make sure you wear rubber gloves, and don’t get your face near the spot. If you can’t find the body, or if it’s a really nasty mess, you need to call in professionals to deal with it.
ad smells can be a nuisance especially when you have tried everything to get rid of them. Here are a few things you need to know:
What odours are hardest to clean? Urine, milk, baby formula, gravy, blood, vomit and feces. They really adhere to fibers, and pet urine will soak everything, including floorboards. If the animal pees on the sofa, you could get the cushions professionally cleaned. Or get new cushions. What should I do first after a spill? Blot up as much of the smelly mess as you can right away. While you’re blotting the upholstery, put a plastic liner or a garbage bag between the cushion and the fabric, if that’s possible, so you don’t push the contaminant into the cushion. Then flush with cold water as best you can. Blot and flush again. Cold water doesn’t set stains as much as hot water. Or use a portable spot cleaner or wet/dry vacuum. If there’s still a residual odor, use a half-vinegar, half-water solution and rinse again. 20
What if the accident is on the carpet? Can a professional cleaner get the odor out? Sometimes. But you should get a good professional cleaning every 12 to 18 months anyway, to restore the color and remove surface dirt. Don’t believe a cleaning service that says they can deodorize. They can’t. You have to remove the source of the problem, even if that sometimes means putting in a new patch of carpet. Is that true of moldy patches, too? Do they need to be taken out and replaced? You don’t want to mess with mold. Some people are highly allergic, and it can be a microbial hazard. If it’s in your rug, that means it’s probably in your walls and floors, too. You need to have a professional analyze the situation. It may be no big deal, but you need to be sure. How about the musty mothball smell on furniture and fabrics left in the pantry too long?
Living & Style
Chicken Fried Rice
hicken fried rice is a popular choice at mealtimes, both with kids and adults. But most homemade versions of fried rice don’t taste nearly as good as those made in a restaurant. If you’ve found this to be the case, what you may be lacking are a few fried rice tips (included in this recipe). Make this dish as spicy or mild as you like, according to how much chili you want to add (it can also be omitted, especially if you’re feeding kids). A super dish to eat on its own, this chicken fried rice recipe also makes a good basic accompaniment to other recipes. Ingredients: • 4 cups cooked rice, preferably several days old (SERVES 2) • 1/2 to 1 cup cooked chicken or turkey, OR raw chicken, cut into very small pieces Oyelade • Titilope 1/4 cup chicken stock • 3 cloves garlic, minced • 1 minced green or red chili, OR 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. dried crushed chili • 2 Tbsp. fish sauce (plus more to taste) • 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil • 1/2 cup frozen peas • 1 egg • 3 spring (green) onions, finely sliced
1/2 cup fresh basil OR coriander/cilantro
Preparation: Tip: it’s best to use “old” rice for this recipe. If using newly-cooked rice, put it in a large bowl and let it sit uncovered in the refrigerator for a few hours to dry it out. 1. First, prepare cold rice by drizzling over 1 Tbsp. of the oil. Use your fingers to mix the oil in with the rice and separate the rice grains, removing any clumps. 2. Place remaining oil in a large frying pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add garlic and chili. Stir-fry until fragrant (30 seconds to 1 minute). 3. Add chicken plus 2 Tbsp. stock. Stir-fry enough to thoroughly warm the meat if cooked. If raw, stir fry until meat is well cooked (3-5 minutes). Add remaining stock, as necessary, to prevent the pan from becoming dry and to keep ingredients sizzling. 4. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, push ingredients aside and crack the egg into the middle of the wok/pan. Stir quickly to cook and break up the egg (like making scrambled eggs). 5. When egg is cooked, add the rice plus fish sauce. Stir fry, keeping the heat medium-high. Do not add any more stock/liquid at this point, or your
rice will become soggy. You want it hot and dry and light-textured. 6. Add frozen peas and continue to stir-fry another 2-3 minutes, or until you can hear the rice “popping”. Cooking Tip: If you find the rice is sticking, push the rice aside and add a little more oil to the bottom of the pan - this will make the rice “shine”, like restaurant quality fried rice. 7. Do a taste-test for saltiness. If not salty or flavorful enough, add more fish sauce. If too salty for your taste (this will depend on the stock you used), add up to 1 Tbsp. fresh-squeezed lime juice. 8. Sprinkle with spring onion and basil or coriander, and serve piping hot from the wok/pan. Thai chili sauce can be served on the side. Enjoy!
Living & Style
t was fun, ‘Panda Monium’ and glitz at the launch of one of China’s environmental friendly and five star rated brands, Panda Monium, a new entrant into the Nigerian automobile industry and one of the very best from Geely. The ride appeals to the young at heart and is very affordable. In celebrating the success of the largest automobile company in the world, Hyra Motors, the trend setters of good and quality automobiles in Nigeria presented Panda Monium to the general public recently at The Get Arena, Oniru Estate, Lekki. According to the Managing Director of Hyra Motors, Mr Seyi Oyinlola, Panda Monium cars are different, unique in their own ways and are only to be sold in Green countries. Bringing it down to Nigeria is a big deal! This new entrant, which is one of the safest mini cars has an engine of 1.3 litres and can go as far as 100,000 kilometres with a three year warranty. It is definitely one of the best with the quality anyone would desire in a car as posh and classy as Panda Monium. The headlamps look like that of a Panda with four glams and an AVS. With an outstanding interior space, the driving experience is far beyond imagination. Its design concept containing the traditional Chinese culture, within the compact car, a great space usage is achieved. The steering wheel is soft in texture and has a comfort-
able sense of holding. Besides, it can be adjusted into a customized position, thus providing favourable operating comfort for different customers. The front suspension is McPherson independent suspension with an auxiliary-frame, which is rarely equipped in compact cars. As the fitting for luxury cars and highend SUV, the auxiliary-frame can enhance the rigidity of the suspension and operating performance, insulate the vibration from road surface, and bring driving comfort.
The headrest of the rear seat can be adjusted to ensure a comfortable sitting experience while also giving a great protection. The car is also equipped with child protection lock. When it is locked, the back door can’t be opened from inside and can only be opened from outside, thus ensuring the child’s safety It goes for N1, 290, 000 at Hyra Motors.
And here comes PANDAMONIUM!
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5) The battle for talent: The biggest competitive advantage of any company in the future is going to be people. Often CEOs donâ€™t know the scope of talent available to them within their own company. This is a source of frustration for many. Courtesy Shama Kabani
Cloud Computing –
Latest Buzzword or a Glimpse of the Future? What you should
know about Franchise Business
Instant Messengers (Blackberry Messenger, Yahoo, Windows Live, Nimbuzz, Meebo, 2GO, eBuddy etc) we use to communicate on the go are typical examples of Cloud Computing services.
It’s as a result of the fact that the physical layer of the OSI (Open Systems Interconnect) model has been abstracted. In plain sense for instance, it means an Airtel subscriber should not be concerned about where the server serving him/her is located but his/her focus should be geared towards the service that’s been delivered. Neither should a Gmail user bother about where Google server is located because it’s completely unimportant. This generation is a serviced generation. Everything is now being offered as a service and the benefits of being serviced is too indispensable to avoid.
loud Computing has steadily been growing in popularity in the IT industry since early 2007. In non technical terms, I would define a CLOUD as a (C)OMMON (L)OCATION- INDEPENDENT (O) NLINE (U)TILITY on (D)EMAND SERVICE. In recent times, I’ve been engaged in discussions on Social Networks most especially on Facebook as regards Cloud Computing because I’ve been a cloud evangelist a little over a year now and I’m dismayed by the pessimism a lot of Nigerian techies posit in these discusses. First and foremost, there have been myriad variations on the definition of the Cloud. Everyone has a different perspective and understanding of the technology and the misconceptions surrounding the subject matter was obvious when Steven Ballmer, Microsoft CEO had problems communicating his company’s cloud strategy & infrastructure, Microsoft Windows Azure to a select group of Clevel executives last November. The vagueness surrounding this ‘phenomenon’ is largely attributed to what I call the ‘hype cycle’. Since February 2007, Cloud Computing has been a buzzword for enterprises and Governments that are looking forward to saving costs and reducing their energy usage and carbon footprints. For my non techie audience, Cloud Computing is basically an outsourced, pay-as-you-go, on-demand and a somewhere on the Internet experience that is always offered as a service. Even if you are not a good technology adopter or in technical parlance a ‘digital immigrant’, you would be surprised at how much you interface with the ‘Cloud’. The mobile phones we possess, the email addresses (Yahoo!, Windows Hotmail, Google Mail etc) we have, the
From a technical perspective, Cloud Computing is divided into 3 major tiers namely: 1. Software as a Service (SaaS): This is basically what everyone already has in form of Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, Wordpress, the various search engines, Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter etc. 2. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): This is an offering Amazon pioneered as the grand-daddy with the Elastic Compute 2 (EC2). Developers and system administrators obtain general compute, storage, queuing, and other resources and run their applications with the fewest limitations. This is the most powerful type of cloud in that virtually any application and any configuration that is fit for the Internet can be mapped to this type of service. Microsoft’s Cloud Infrastructure is known as Windows Azure. 3. Platform as a Service (PaaS): This is the newest entry where an application platform is offered to developers in the cloud. Developers write their application to a more or less open specification and then upload their code into the cloud.
lion users and secondly www.traffic.com.ng which is still in its Beta Phase and after completion would offer descriptive traffic report with GPS Coordinates of every nook and Jude Chukwuemeka cranny of Nigeria. All you have to do as an end-user is to plug into the cloud and enjoy these services. The odds are good that within the next five years, the popularity of Cloud Computing within the enterprise and government would grow significantly. Yet Cloud Computing alone is not the answer. The key to achieving great success is for enterprises and governments to use efficient software to integrate their existing on- premises infrastructure with the Cloud. For a more detailed understanding of Cloud Computing, sign up for the largest Cloud Computing event in Africa this Summer in Lagos, Nigeria and secure your company and agency’s future in the Cloud at The African Summer School on Cloud Computing, Cloud Identity and Virtualization Technologies on www.SSWorldSeries.com
Highlighting all of these, the benefits of Cloud Computing to enterprises, individuals and Governments cannot be over-emphasized. Cloud Computing in every facet frees up budgets handcuffed by IT expenses. Instead of purchasing software licenses for new employees and locations, businesses simply add accounts to expand computing capacity. Governments would benefit from it because it pools all disparate sectors as a whole and it would ensure openness, accountability and prudence. For instance, the Nigerian Government can create a cloud where citizens pay their tenement, water and electricity bills on a central platform. The Nigerian Police Force can create a Cloud Infrastructure we would name in this instance, The Nigeria Intellipedia® that would have sub cloud systems like The Police Reporting Software® which advertently takes away statements from being on paper to a central database and makes crime management a less cumbersome issue. In moving with the times and trends, some young Nigerian entrepreneurs are creating overtly ambitious private Cloud infrastructures, which is beginning to generate positive ripples. First is the Naija Info Bank ® which when completed would be the largest Human Resources database in Sub-Saharan Africa with a capacity of over 80 mil-
Ubong Udoh holds over 8 years of progressive responsible experience in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) including overseeing and developing distributed and centralized ICT infrastructure and mission critical systems in international controlled environments. He is the CEO and Principal Consultant of SYSPERA, a firm with three focal points Technology, Consulting and Outsourcing. He is the Founder and Lead Senior Research fellow at Technology Corps Africa, an African ICT nonprofit where he leads research on public policy issues, copyright and e-democracy. He is a fellow of the Wireless Internet Institute, a professional trainer of ICT professionals with 12 professional certifications and a Microsoft Ambassador on Internet Safety, Privacy and Cybersecurity.
Change Your Mode – a Job can become the Job
t some point in our career or professional lives, we lose the excitement, interest and enthusiasm in our chosen line of discipline, vocation or profession for various reasons. • You might be overworked and demoralized because it just doesn’t seem as if you are growing or getting better. Technically, this might be the case since you don’t have anything to show for it on the career and development growth ladder of the organization. Another year has passed making it the third, fourth and in some extreme cases, fifth time! Your name again! is omitted, in the promotion list. • You are in the job for security reasons. As the bread winner of the family (irrespective of the gender these days), you can’t afford to be out of work. That is suicidal! • You might, at the beginning of your working career, or at one point in your life, seen a career counselor who gave you a standardized test. The results clearly showed that your skills and interest or experience fit your career or a particular line of discipline. The test results logically makes sense and so you probably aligned with the expert’s advice while reassuring yourself from time to time that you are on the right track, since anyway the test results say so. At a certain point some people get dissatisfied and lose the zeal to move on. You feel trapped and you want to do something about it but you just don’t know how to go about it. Fear, uncertainty and doubt creeps in and paralyses the thoughts of making a move. Many people end up not taking action. Most times, for reasons which are not farfetched, people worry whether their next job will be any better and if they will still get paid their current salary or get paid at all. For some people, they just don’t have the time or energy to look for another one. Going through series of interviews, trying to showcase and sell your skills can be a tedious task. The big question is “how do I get back that lost passion, energy, confidence and belief in my career or find the courage to move to another”? For people who have been out of work and are being tagged rusty or inexperienced, how do they rebuild confidence in their skills and themselves? Firstly, you need to change your mindset and perspective of your present status, situation or circumstance. Dr Mensah Otabil in his book titled Pathways of Success (21 Sure Steps on the Way to the Top) said change your mindset, perspective and change your destiny for good. Try and visualize your life, success and future and you would see yourself demonstrating
it. Get back on track, don’t get derailed, rather stay focused and driven by purpose. Switch from the ‘am being used gear to the am useful mode.’ Gradually, you build back that confidence. Confidence gingers excitement. Excitement is borne out of enthusiasm and interest. The cumulative result of this synergy is passion. Dr Otabil says passion is like a virus, very infectious. It infects every area of your life with hope, optimism and changes your environment. Get help from a mentor coach. Mentors share knowledge and experience that are hard for the protégé to grasp on their own. Great individuals throughout history, at one time or the other, have served as ap-
prentices. Every successful person has a mentor. The focus of a mentoring relationship is in the expertise of the mentor. A mentor provides the wisdom of a lifetime minus the pain of acquiring it. You have what it takes and you deserve to enjoy your career. After all, you have worked for it. Set the motion, rebrand yourself and MOVE ON………………. Have a wonderful and successful career. Folake Oluwole is a corporate and career coach and the CEO of GTD LTD (i.e. GETTING THINGS DONE LTD), a consulting firm based in Lagos, Nigeria. She connects with people and organizations in order to inculcate a passion for the vision of the organization. For more information, call 08083179384 or email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Active Listening Skills -
Hear What People Are Really Saying
istening is one of the most important skills you can have. How well you listen has a major impact on your job effectiveness, and on the quality of your relationships with others.
Good communication skills require a high level of self-awareness. By understanding your personal style of communicating, you will go a long way towards creating good and lasting impressions with others.
We listen to obtain information. We listen to understand. We listen for enjoyment. We listen to learn.
The way to become a better listener is to practice “active listening”. This is where you make a conscious effort to hear not only the words that another person is saying but, more importantly, to try and understand the total message being sent. In order to do this you must pay attention to the other person very carefully. You cannot allow yourself to become distracted by what else may be going on around you, or by forming counter arguments that you’ll make when the other person stops speaking. Nor can you allow yourself to lose focus on what the other person is saying. All of these barriers contribute to a lack of listening and understanding.
Given all this listening we do, you would think we’d be good at it! In fact we’re not. Depending on the study being quoted, we remember a dismal 25-50% of what we hear. That means that when you talk to your boss, colleagues, customers or spouse for 10 minutes, they only really hear 2½-5 minutes of the conversation. Turn it around and it reveals that when you are receiving directions or being presented with information, you aren’t hearing the whole message either. You hope the important parts are captured in your 25- 50%, but what if they’re not? Clearly, listening is a skill that we can all benefit from improving. By becoming a better listener, you will improve your productivity, as well as your ability to influence, persuade negotiate. What’s more, you’ll avoid conflict and misunderstandings – all necessary for workplace success.
To enhance your listening skills, you need to let the other person know that you are listening to what he or she is saying. To understand the importance of this, ask yourself if you’ve ever been engaged in a conversation when you wondered if the other person was listening to what you were saying. You wonder if your message is getting across, or if it’s even worthwhile to continue speaking. It feels like talking to a brick wall and it’s something you want to avoid. Acknowledgement can be something as simple as a nod of the head or a simple “uh huh.” You aren’t necessarily agreeing with the person, you are simply indicating that you are listening. Using body language and other signs to acknowledge you are listening also reminds you to pay attention and not let your mind wander. You should also try to respond to the speaker in a way that will both encourage him or her to continue speaking, so that you can get the information you need. While nodding and “uh huhing” says you’re interested, an occasional question or comment to recap what has been said communicates that you understand the message as well. Becoming an Active Listener There are five key elements of active listening. They all help you ensure that you hear the other person, and that the other person knows you are hearing what they are saying. 1. Pay attention. Give the speaker your undivided attention and acknowledge the message. Recognize that what is not said also speaks loudly. o Look at the speaker directly. o Put aside distracting thoughts. Don’t mentally prepare a rebuttal! o Avoid being distracted by environ-
mental factors. o “Listen” to the speaker’s body language. o Refrain from side conversations when listening in a group setting. 2. Show that you are listening. Use your own body language and gestures to convey your attention. o Nod occasionally. o Smile and use other facial expressions. o Note your posture and make sure it is open and inviting. o Encourage the speaker to continue with small verbal comments like yes, and uh huh. 3. Provide feedback. Our personal filters, assumptions, judgments, and beliefs can distort what we hear. As a listener, your role is to understand what is being said. This may require you to reflect what is being said and ask questions. o Reflect what has been said by paraphrasing. “What I’m hearing is…” and “Sounds like you are saying…” are great ways to reflect back. o Ask questions to clarify certain points. “What do you mean when you say…” “Is this what you mean?” o Summarize the speaker’s comments periodically. Tip: If you find yourself responding emotionally to what someone said, say so, and ask for more information: “I may not be understanding you correctly, and I find myself taking what you said personally. What I thought you just said is XXX; is that what you meant?” 4. Defer judgment. Interrupting is a waste of time. It frustrates the speaker and limits full understanding of the message. o Allow the speaker to finish. o Don’t interrupt with counter-arguments. 5. Respond Appropriately. Active listening is a model for respect and understanding. You are gaining information and perspective. You add nothing by attacking the speaker or otherwise putting him or her down. o Be candid, open, and honest in your response. o Assert your opinions respectfully. o Treat the other person as he or she would want to be treated. Adebowale Jeff Johnson, a Human Resource Consultant is the founder/ CEO Jeff Johnson Business Solutions and Jeff Johnson Business School. He is also a member, Board of Director, Grace House Worship Centre. Prior to starting his own business, he has worked with firms like Phillips Consulting Limited, SoftSkills Management Consultants, People Prime Limited, and SIAO. He has spoken at several university campuses and is currently writing a paper to develop quantitative analysis and decision making with the use of data to develop business model that will enhance organizational performance.
books movies music theatre photography exhibitions architecture
Ade Plumptre Behind The Lens
eeting him in a minute gives the impression he’s not a friendly person but after a chat that lasted about an hour, we saw the real and down to earth talented photographer. Ade Plumptre has eyes for details. According to him, he loves things done, set up and put in a particular order, which he says has been a part of his life from childhood. Enjoy the excerpts below in an interview he had with Taiye Tunkarimu & Tola Awoyemi.
His Background Right from childhood, Ade Plumptre has always loved order, when things are not the way it should be, it causes a problem for him. “I learnt photography from an architect and architects keep details and everything has to be in order.” There are certain principles of Photography because I mentor a lot of people and teach people. The first thing is to understand these principles and guidelines and as you grow you can break the rules! Never break the rule all in the name of creativity, when you become a professional, then you can break the rule. Tell us about your self “I was born into a Christian family (old school), my mum was an S .U, and my parents instilled certain values in us. We travelled a lot because my father was a military officer and also a medical consultant. We were out of the country and in many states, even though I grew up from a Christian family, I was a military brat, went to military school, Jos, did my National Youth Service Corps in Port-Harcourt, worked in the Financial Sector and then decided to be a photographer while I went to hustle with my cousin who was an architect” Was Photography a passion or you just stumbled on it? “I remember my father giving me a camera when I was in secondary school and it was fun taking pictures but as I grew, I find out that passions are things that you develop, I have heard a lot of artistes telling their stories and saying they are into their artistry because of passion, I tell them to come down to earth and be realistic. We all know that it’s because of poverty. I was never a 9am – 5pm person; I love to do my work and get it done and have time for myself. As we all know when you work on salary it’s never like that, even when you have accomplished your task, your boss still wants you around, and I never believed in it so I went to hustle with my cousin who is an architect and also a photographer. The rest is history. I enjoy waking up, taking photographs, meeting clients and getting my job done. It’s wonderful! Once in a while I do creative stuff, Fashion and Style for magazines and portrait of people around. What has been your greatest challenge and how have you managed it? “There are many challenges not one not two, one major challenge is getting good quality pictures. I thank God am opportune; I travel and make money so am able to buy good equipment. When I travel abroad, some of my colleagues wonder at the kind of cameras and equipments I buy, while they go out to hire or rent cameras, Lights, Studio Space, and pay on credit for over 12 months”. There was a time I wanted to buy a camera worth 2000 pounds, the shop attendant wanted to call the police because am a Nigerian and I didn’t have a credit card or an account. It’s the money I made and saved with a friend in the United Kingdom and when I had enough, I travelled to buy it because it is what I use to work and come out with good quality pictures. I am an event photographer; I do a lot of Marketing Strategy and Portraiture. I have enjoyed working with M-Net South-Africa, when you work with people outside; it pays more because they understand your worth and where you are coming from. When I started, it was a little bit rough, but generally, I face the challenges every other business person goes through. I tell people that if you know what you are doing and you have a passion for it, you will succeed. Initially it could be hard getting clients and people’s acceptance, yes! you don’t expect it to be smooth, it’s all part of business, you need to build yourself from somewhere, I had to start from somewhere, there were jobs I had to
Arts & Culture take then that now I wouldn’t take, there were friends I had to hang out with that I have discarded because they are not adding value to my life! What do you plan to accomplish professional and personally in the next five years? I won’t lie to you ooo, I want my daughter to go to the best university in the world. When I work, I work for my family, that’s the reason I have made my house so comfortable that I have my studio just around me. It’s so bad that my only social gathering is church and I find it hard to go out. I have Cable Television, my wife and my daughter around so if I need to know anything about the world, my cable television and internet solves it! So basically I just want us to grow together and as we get older, I pray that the things I desire from God come through for me because there are lots of things I need but more of the spiritual because we only scratch the surface. We only know the God that heals us, provides for us and all that. Photography puts bread on my table, that’s what I use to feed my family! His view on Christians and knowledge All over the world, only a few Christians are doing well! Information is very crucial, the Bible says my people perish for lack of knowledge, the Bible is not referring to Bible knowledge, it is referring to basic understanding and the quest for information. When you go to Dubai, we shout eh eh eh, are they Christians? NO! But they understand that knowledge and know how to harness it. How do you relax? If am not working, I watch football or am in front of the television but unfortunately Arsenal is making me cry but am not the kind of person that sticks to a club only when its smooth sailing, whether or not we are losing, I still remain a Gunner!
Arts & Culture Events Diary
Have your arts and culture events publicised on this page. For your book launch or presentation, arts exhibitions, music releases, film shows, theatre presentations etc. Send details to email@example.com or call 01-4358330 MARCH 2011
Parent’s Section Money Matters Most parents do not talk to their children about money. This is sometimes because parents underestimate the importance of this issue. Some parents feel uneasy when they have to discuss money with their children. Another set of parents believe the children are way too young and some just never get round to it. This is really quite interesting if we realize that money management is a skill that is useful throughout life regardless of the individual’s level of wealth. There have been some very wealthy people who have gone through atrocious amounts of money in unbelievably short periods due to bad or a complete lack of money management skills.
television and so on. There are an enormous amount of goods targeted specifically at children. Children in their naiveté believe they must have whatever it is whether a new toy, a new game and so on. They need to learn the difference between want and need. The question you need to teach them to ask is “Do I need it?” or “Do I want it?” Two sides Children usually see only one side of parent’s finances. They only see you spend money, buying goods or services. They do not see the budgeting side of things. They do not see how long you have to plan or what you have to give up before you spend. You might want to introduce this to them at the level they can handle.
There are a few concepts that might help you get a start on teaching your child about managing money.
Bargain Hunters Teach your child to source for a bargain. Show them when shopping how two things offering the same thing can cost a whole lot much. When they want something ask them to search for cheaper alternatives. Let them show you that they have searched for the best value for money
Advertising This hits them everywhere- on the road, on the
Interest Show how your money can grow. Loan a small amount
Schools can teach addition and subtraction of money. They can teach simple interest and compound interest but money management is more about values and beliefs and this is best taught at home.
of money from your child and tell your child that you will pay a little over the original amount for the time you borrowed the money. That is the basic of how interest rates can help money grow. Conversely as your child borrows money let her pay you interest over the money. As she watches interest accrued eating out at the money she will see how money can just stream out. Play games Good old monopoly is very helpful in learning the essentials of money management. Another excellent game to try is the game of life. It shows just how life works and how money can go if not well managed. It shows how things can go wrong if you tie up all your money in long term assets without maintaining short term assets and a good liquidity ratio. Budget Teach your child to budget. That is plan how much you have and what you will spend it on.
Children’s Section It is very important you learn about money and how to manage it Your parents might seem like they have a lot of money but they probably have enough to feed you, pay your school fees, buy you clothes and other things because they manage their money well. It is important you learn how to manage your money. Even if feel your pocket money is very little and not enough to do anything. You can actually plan with the little you have. Save up Decide to save some of your pocket money regularly if you want to get something. Money can grow a little at a time. If you learn to put something away regularly, it becomes a habit and your money keeps adding up. Work for it Even if your parents say that game you want is way too expensive. You can save a little and negotiate with your parents for ways to earn extra money. Try doing extra chores around the house. Talk to your parents about what you are trying to save up for and ask if there are chores they will be willing to pay you for. Do not just expect to be paid for doing some chores. Neither should you demand to be paid. This can get your parents very cross and get you into trouble. If your parents know beforehand what you are trying to do they will be sure to assist you.
Tayo Olarewaju is the Director of Delightsome Land School, a nursery and primary school in Victoria Island Lagos. She studied Accounting, Educational Leadership and Management. She is passionate about children, enjoys reading and writing and is learning to stay away from chocolate biscuits. She is married with 3 stars and a dog named scratch. If you would like to be a part of the all stars team send your name, date of birth and phone number to 08033527272 or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org
PreSchooler activities for Preschool Children from Age 2-5
i Str aight L
Draw boxes around all the objects made with straight lines below.
Say the word ant
. Ant starts with an A sound.
Finish the shapes below using straight lines
Say the name of each picture. Circle all of the pictures that begin with an A sound. Copyright 2010-2011 Education.com
Created by :
World of Colours Older toddlers/preschoolers may be beginning to get excited about colours they see around them. If yours seem interested, play colour games asking your toddler to find toys of different colours. Ask your toddler to see if they can choose a red toy to go with a red car. • Point out colours in books; look for ‘six red things’ or ‘a yellow duck’ on a page for example. • Go on a ‘colour walk’. Begin by showing your toddler something that is the colour you’ll be hunting for. Then as you walk, point out things of the colour you’ve chosen such as a blue door or a red bus. • On your walk, ask your toddler to spot things of the colour you’ve chosen. On your way back, for example, you could ask him if he remembers where the ‘blue door’ was, or any other colour objects you’ve pointed out.
Energetic Games Active games are good to play with more than one toddler. Two year olds are full of energy, so it’s good to have ideas for active rough and tumble games up your sleeve. These games will also help improve your toddler’s coordination. • Ask your child to copy what you do. Keep your actions simple so they are easy to follow, such as putting your arms in the air, jumping on the spot or twirling around. • Set up obstacles such as chairs or cushions and show your toddler how to race around them • Play tag or hide and seek with your toddler or with other adults and their toddlers.
Sports UEFA Champions League Special: Some Interesting Crackers Kunle Michael
he UEFA Champions league is one football competition where excitements, surprises and the traditions of football are never lacking and form the bedrocks and expectations. As usual, the boys are separated from the men and the draws promise to reignite old rivalries and also produce avenues for pay back times by some teams for the bitter pills of defeat tasted in the hands of their opponents in past matches. Below are some fixtures and players to watch out for in upcoming matches: AC MILAN VS TOTTENHAN HOTSPUR First timers Tottenhan will lock horns with the second most successful team in the competition AC Milan. Statistics show that Italian teams do not have impressive records against English teams. Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea have confirmed their superiorities over Italian teams in the past. Though AC Milan are the favorites to go through, Tottenhams’ pace, power and long passes style of play could spell doom for AC Milan if they cannot dictate the pace of the encounters. A very tough cracker is predicted but because of experience and tradition AC Milan are still favorites to qualify. Nevertheless, both teams made impeccable additions that are paying off for them. Players to watch out for: TOTTENHAM - Rafael Van Davaart, Garreth Bale, Steven Pienaar, Aaron Lenon AC MILAN - Zlatan Ibrahimovich, Robinho, Clearance Seedorf, Alexandre Pato
in the hands of Barcelona was a 4-1 return leg played in Camp Nou after the highly interesting and energy draining 2-2 draw at Emirate Stadium, where Arsenal came from 2 goals down to draw level, thanks to a Theo Walcoh individual effort and a Fabregas penalty. For Barcelona, they will be all out to prove and confirm their superiorities over the Gunners. The Gunners known for springing up surprises when least expected will be seeking revenge against arguably the best team in the world for the defeats and pains inflicted on them in their last two encounters. Players to watch out for: ARSENAL FC - ROBIN Van Persie, Francesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri, Alex Song, Theo Walcoh BARCELONA FC - Lionel Messi, Adrea Iniesta, Xavi Hernadez, David Villa, Pedro AS ROMA VS SHAKHTAR DONETSK Shakhtar came top of their group against all expectations in a dramatic fashion by winning the group with highly commendable 15 points, 3 more than Arsenal who were the favorites to top the group. With a high number of Brazilian players on the roster, Shakhtar FC plays free opportunities. Shakhtar have 60% chances to egg past the Italian giants AS Roma. Players to watch out for: AS ROMA - Marco Borriello, Francesco Totti, Mirko Vucinic SHKHTAR DONETSK - Luis Adriano, Eduardo Da Silva
VALENCIA VS SCHALKE 04 The highly rated Valencia FC will battle for a place in the quarter finals with a relatively modest clubside from Germany, Schalke. German clubs are known for causing major upsets in this championship. Valencia must play with utmost caution if they must scale through the huddle of this unpredicted and dangerous German machine. Valencia has 60% chance of going through. Players to watch out for: VALENCIA FC - Alarcon Suarez Isco, Sanchez Albelda, Miguel Ricardo Costa SCHALKE - Gonzalez Raul, Mario Gavranovic, Jose Manuel Jurado
FC COPENHAGEN VS CHELSEA FC This could be a one sided affair. With the array of Champions’ league experienced players in the Chelsea squad; Copenhagen might just be a walk over for them. Nevertheless, surprises and upsets are part and parcel of the round leather game. Chelsea should be on red alert in order not be victims of a big and major upset of this tournament. Players to watch out for: FC COPENHAGEN - Williams Kvist(Captain), Bryan Oviedo, Mortem Nordstand CHELSEA FC - Didier Drogba, Florent Malouda, Frank Lampard, Michael Essien
ARSENAL FC VS BARCELONA FC Unarguably the two most entertaining teams in the world known for their passing and pressing style of play, they will have old scores to settle and points to prove when they clash in what promises of be one of the games to watch out for. Barcelona were better than the Gunners in their last two encounters. The first was in the 2006 final played in Paris, the Catalans thrashed the North London side 2 goals to 1. The second defeat suffered by Arsenal
OLYMPIC LYON VS REAL MADRID This is a battle between two familiar foes. Olympique de Lyon has had the better of Real Madrid in recent encounters. With the world’s best football manager, who is universally known and revered for breaking a jinx in charge of the Los Blancos, Jose Mourinho will be leading Madrid to take their pound of flash this time around. Real Madrid with the
highest points in all the group stages matches has 60% chances of securing one of the quarter final places. Players to watch out for: OLYMIC LYON - Yoann Gourcuff, Tuolalan Jeremy, Alexandre Lacazette REAL MADRID - Cristiano Ronaldo, Angel di Maria, Mesut Ozil, Ricardo Kaka, Gonzalo Higuin INTER MILAN VS BAYERN MUNICH These two teams met in the final of last year’s competition with the Mourinho tutored Inter Milan triumphing over Bayern 2-0. Since the departure of the Special One to Real Madrid, the European champions have not played to their full potentials; same thing is applicable to the German Champions. The Germans will be out to avenge last season’s defeat suffered in the hands of the most successful team in Europe last season in what will be a 50-50 affair. Players to watch out for: INTER MILAN - Wesley Sneijder, Samuel Eto’o, Diego Milito, Estebam Cambiasso, Julio Cesar BAYERN MUNICH – Mario Gomez, Frank Ribery, Arjen Robben, Hamit Altintop, Bastian Schweinsteiger. OLYMPIC MARSEILLE VS MANCHESTER UNITED. 1993 European Champions Olympic Marseille will have a massive mountain to climb against the traditional and 3 times European champions, Manchester United. Unless the unexpected happens, Manchester United has a 70% chance of securing the quarter final ticket at the expense of the French champions. Players to watch out for: OLYMPIC MARSILLE – Loic Remy, Andrew Ayew, Steve Mandanda, Taye Taiwo MANCHESTER UNITED - Ryan Ciggs, Wyne Rooney, Dimitar Babatov, Javier Hernadez
Insights for Christian Living
Help for Single Parents with Teenagers Mark Gregston
ne of the toughest roles anyone can have in today’s culture is that of a single parent. It’s hard enough to rear a child—especially a teenager—with two parents; but with one the burdens and pressures and problems multiply. My hat is off to every single parent. But more than praise for the difficulty of their task, I know from talking to so many of them that they need someone to walk with them and encourage them. In almost every case, a single parent is walking down a road they didn’t plan to be on. They started with two parents, but something happened—death, divorce, abandonment—and now they are struggling to fill two roles that their children desperately need. They are trying to do an already difficult task without all of the resources they need. (If you know a single parent, go to them and find ways to encourage them. They won’t always know how to ask for the help they need, so take the initiative yourself.) Practical Steps There aren’t any easy answers. There isn’t a magic verse of Scripture that will fix all your problems. There isn’t one “cure all” that will remove all of the challenges that a single parent faces. But there are some practical steps that can offer help and hope in this very difficult job. 1) Hold firm to what you believe. Set rules and boundaries for your child and establish the consequences ahead of time. Don’t make the mistake of giving up on those standards because you are tired or discouraged. It is quite common for the other parent who is gone not to be supportive of your efforts as a parent—hold firm anyhow. Don’t allow that discouragement and the lack of positive feedback and support to make you give up. 2) Don’t be too lenient. Yes, your teens are missing something by not having both parents in their lives. You will not make things better by allowing that to be their excuse to get away with damaging and destructive behaviour. You can’t “make it up to them” by letting them use your sympathy for them as a “get out jail free” card that allows them to do whatever they want. 3) Don’t lose sight of the value of time. One of the biggest impacts of single parenting is the economic impact. Most single parent families have a harder time making ends meet. I understand that you will have to work, per-
haps longer and harder than before. But spending one on one time with your teens, asking them questions and letting them ask you questions is more important in this setting than ever before. Make time for your kids. 4) Find a source of input and encouragement. In a twoparent home, each parent gets feedback and input from the other. Ideas can be exchanged and one can pick up the slack of the other or fill in when one needs a rest. In the absence of that, find a group or an individual that understands your situation and can give you encouragement and good advice on the extra challenges you face as a single parent. Find someone — an extended family member or a sitter — to fill in for you once or twice a week, to give you time away to recharge your batteries. And don’t forget to take time to pray and meditate on God’s Word on a daily basis. My friend Michael Card likens single parenting to a wilderness experiences. He says, “When you’re out there alone and isolated, it can be a little scary not knowing where you are or where to go. But when you’re out there with your kids, it’s terrifying. They are looking to you for guidance and direction, and though you would desperately like for someone to have kept you out of that situation in the first place, you have to be the leader and make sure they make it out safe and sound.”
children. Are you looking to God to give you strength, or are you trying to go it alone? You may be familiar with the story of Eric Liddell which was told in the move Chariots of Fire. Liddell, the son of Scottish missionaries, was one of the premier track runners in the world. He refused to run the 100 meter dash in the 1924 Olympics because the qualifying race was held on a Sunday. Though the 100 was his best event, a few days later Liddell won the gold medal in the 400 meter dash–a race he hadn’t prepared to run. Clutched in his hand he had a note given him by an American runner with the words “Them that honour Me I will honour” (1 Samuel 2:30) written on it. Whatever you do, don’t give up! The effort is worth the cost, and your children will be far better off because you loved them enough to do what was right and best for them. Mark Gregston, a teen behaviour expert with over 30 years experience is the Founder and Executive Director of Heartlight Ministries, a Christian residential counselling program for struggling teenagers, located in East Texas USA. He hosts the “Parenting Today’s Teens” radio program heard on over 2,500 radio outlets in the United States.
But Michael also offers this hope for parents caught up in wilderness experiences, “Times in the wilderness can teach us to trust in God. The origin of the word ‘worship’ is worth-ship. So, people who go through those experiences in the wilderness come to learn His worth and therefore they learn to truly worship and trust Him even more.” I find that so true. Though most of us don’t voluntarily choose wilderness experiences (like being a single parent), they can be times of great growth both in our relationship with God and with our
Dabar - Insights for Christian Living The Dabar column is about Christian living. This column is going to deal with real life issues that Christians face in day to day living and the Biblical perspective on these issues with a real life approach to such situations. We will also use this column as a forum to discuss issues affecting Christianity as a whole. As such, letters with issues which can be discussed should be sent to email@example.com. Issues to be discussed in the column will be chosen from letters sent in by you our readers. We look forward to hearing from you so we can start treating these issues from next month. Thank you. 34
4D Experience in Bangalore Adenike Fagade
n ethnic festival on Saturday caused a change in plan for me and my friends. We met at Garuda mall, Koramangala, planning to watch a Hollywood movie. But we were compelled to switch plans because there were no English movies showing; only Bollywood and Kanada movies, except for The Town, directed by Ben Affleck, and that was only going to be shown later that night. So what to do? We strolled around the mall seeking other activities to engage in. We had choices of going into the scary house, lounging in Sikandar bar or moving out to another mall to check if we might be lucky to find an English movie showing. Just then, a guy approached us and handed us a handbill with a caption that reads ‘Now begins...4D experience in Bangalore’, further talking about a 4D theatre. We turned to discover that the hall was right behind us on the same floor. ‘Let’s do this’, Ugo, member of my small group quipped excitedly. Chris eyed him cynically and said ‘no. We are not kids to sit around and watch some boring cartoon.’ I stared at both of them wondering what’s in a 4D video. I assumed that everything was already done in 3D! For a while, we stood contemplating on other possible activities but after finding none ideal, we settled for the ‘4D experience’. We
purchased our tickets (which cost nearly more than a regular movie ticket) with Ugo sponsoring, being his suggestion afterall! Each of us was handed a pair of eye shades as we entered the theatre. We sat in the first row of seats in anticipation. The screen came up shortly afterwards and the adventure began. It was like being taken around in a roller coaster, moving in a field and into various tunnels. There’s a multi-sensory experience with special effects that virtually immerses you in the film, making you forget your real environment. One of these is a pair of eye shades that you are given to put on. There are also physical effects built into the theatre itself and simulated in the 4D films. They include interactive motion seats programmed to sway you in synchronization with the on-screen action, face blasts, laser lighting, leg ticklers bubbles, rain, smoke, smell of explosives, thunder and other sounds. Though lasting for only twenty minutes, my experience of the 4D film was relishing. I was grateful to Ugo for suggesting it after all. I found it even more interesting and insightful delving into the world of this thrilling excitement chatting with a friend who is studying animation in Bangalore. For simple
comprehension, 4D is the art of combining digital projection, a high definition animated 3D film and unique special effects that move an object around its own image and there is an added depth in shadows and viewers’ perception of light on the object. The shadow that is cast from light hitting a 4D object is one that is 3D making the object seem to have more sides. Avatar, by James Cameron, is one of the movies that have been transited into a 4D film. Others include Shrek, Journey to the Centre of the Earth etcetera. Words are not enough to describe 4D to anyone; experiencing it is just ideal! I look forward to the day a 4D theatre will be built in Nigeria and all I can do now is to recommend a 4D movie for the daring ones out there. It is worth seeing, at least. Adenike Fagade is currently studying Psychology combined with journalism at the University of Bangalore, India. Her hobbies include reading, drawing, writing, photography, singing, traveling. She is the founder of Positive Development Foundation, a non-profit making organization that works to promote positive lifestyle among young people by means of modern technologies
Nigerian leadership problems can be traced to society’s inequality Jeremy Weate
he failure of leadership in Nigeria is so all pervasive and endemic it begs further analysis. Why do Nigerian leaders fail their constituents or members so consistently, in politics, in commerce and elsewhere? Why does almost every young hopeful end up being such a tawdry disappointment? It cannot simply be on account of a repetitious failure of personality, or a renewed shortfall of moral fibre. An individualistic explanation cannot suffice. But why then is leadership in Nigeria such a seemingly insurmountable challenge? Of the main routes into the seemingly impenetrable forest in search of the clearing of truth, one opportune path we might take is an examination of the master-slave relationship that is alive and well in Nigeria. Lordship and bondage is the hidden seam running through all strata of Nigerian society. Of course, in the North, slavery has never entirely faded away; historically, the ‘abolition’ of the Saharan slave trade came much later (the early 20th century in certain areas) than in the Bights of Benin and Biafra. There were no British patrols of the Sahara equivalent to the ships that captured slaves setting out on the Middle Passage and dumped their cargo to fend for themselves in Sierra Leone. Indeed, some emirates still have what might considered as slaves who live in the palace compound – an echo of the formalized and seemingly ineradicable inter-generational slavery among the hausa in the Niger Republic, where at least 8 percent
of the population are slaves. Outside of the North, slavery often takes a more concealed form. To a foreigner, it can be distressing and embarrassing to glimpse. The quickest way to witness it is by observing how domestic staff (maids, househelps, drivers etc.) are treated by their employers. Apart from salaries, which, even when they are paid on time, guarantee a life of poverty, the verbal abuse can be so intense, it becomes a form of physical and psychological abuse. Sometimes, those who help run the house are treated as untouchables. They must eat from different plates, use separate cutlery and drink from separate glasses. I have met house helps who are allotted one day’s holiday a year. I have witnessed meguards being kicked and beaten. It is reminiscent of the treatment of Philipinos domestic staff in Saudi Arabia and Dubai. It seems to me that this state of affairs is often regarded as the natural order of things: some are born to own and control a household; others are born to clean it up in perpetuity. The pampered children of the elite are brought up with a sense that there are lesser humans among them. Other children are brought up with little sense of a destiny beyond the bondage of a life Sisyphus would recognise: the forever undone task of keeping the compound starched and clean. It is this entrenched view of how a society should run itself
that ruins many organisations in Nigeria. Those made to feel like underdogs will do their best to subvert the system and ensure it never quite works. How can those treated like house helps give their best? The battle at the higher levels to come out on top is intense. As soon as one edges one pay- grade above one’s peers, the licence to disparage and abuse is granted. In corporate Lagos, it is, of course, theajebutters, with their often hastily acquired British (or sometimes American) accents, who return home to become the new overlords and overladies of Ikoyi. There is little chance in this culture for models of inspirational participatory leadership to emerge. The oga who rolls up his or her shirtsleeves to ensure the work gets done is laughed at. Those on the shop floor unconsciously require a leader who plays to the feudal baron role as expected – a sort of organisational Stockholm syndrome. This is how a society based on patronage and obsequiousness reproduces itself from generation to generation. Until the “problem of leadership” is unpacked, and trite formulations are discarded in favour of unflinchingly honest analysis, it’s hard to see how highly efficient and productive value-enhancing organisations can flourish in Nigeria; it’s also hard to imagine that Nigeria will get the political leadership it so badly needs. The way those who work for us are treated is the form that leadership takes. Jeremy Weate blogs at Casava Republic and Naijablog.
Irons in the Fire! George Ashiru
“People say I’ve got my hands in too many things...keeping time with paupers just as well as kings. I tossed my head unto the silver cloud...and then I sigh...got to keep my Irons In the Fire”- Teena Marie.
t the time I was born, in the 1960s, Nigeria was in political crisis. The parliamentary democracy left by the English was wobbling. Thereafter, the technically flawed military coup of Majors Ifeajuna and Nzeogwu, both Igbos from Eastern Nigeria and their colleagues, inadvertently thrust power in the hands of Major General Aguiyi Ironsi, also from the East, in 1966. The coup left Prime Minister Tafawa Balawa, and Northern Nigeria premier Ahmadu Bello, and several others of Northern extraction dead. That ignited a Northern officers’ counter-coup a year later that brought in a young Colonel Jacob (Yakubu) Gowon to power in Nigeria. These were preceded by the civilian crises in the Federal Government of Tafawa Balewa. Everywhere, in Nigeria, there was instability, with the South-west as the major theatre of chaos. The drum beats of war was sounded in the Eastern parts by Colonel Ojukwu, who opposed the new federal leadership of Colonel Gowon, and the loss of lives and properties of mainly Igbos in Northern Nigeria, during the 1967 coup that brought Gowon to power. Meanwhile, there were riots in other parts of the country; especially Tivland; Yorubaland in the South-West was regarded as the “wild west”, with the political imbroglio involving premier Akintola and the giant of Yoruba politics, Chief Awolowo. The leadership of the new Nigeria was simply unable to hold the country together as a homogeneous country after all efforts to wrestle political control from the British. Between 1962 and 1965, chaos had enveloped the political system of Nigeria. In 1962, the hallowed Western House of Assembly was in disarray. This provided the opportunity to declare a state of emergency and nullify, for a period, the premiership of Chief Ladoke Akintola. At this same period, the effective leadership of the political party controlling the western region, the Action Group, were incarcerated. The federal and western regional elections of 1964 and 1965 ignited the explosion of the simmering volcano of intractable political crisis. The man at the top of the heap, Prime
Minister Tafawa Balewa, misread the situation as tribally or regionally fuelled, and thought it was expedient to be neutral. At this time, my father, was a player in the West Africa Student’s Union. Meanwhile, the young and small Nigerian Army was getting restive. The British trained senior officers seemed to be more professional in their attitude ignored the political situation and concentrated on hobnobbing with the political leaders for favourable positioning at the very top. But the junior officers, many with university
education, and a keener eye for trends and a passion for systematic application of military power were defining a more political attitude in the rank and file. The bolder ones hatched the semi-professional coup de tat - a singular event that changed Nigeria’s future for ever. Since January 15, 1966, Nigerians started becoming experts at recognising how many stars made one military man a general, and another colonel. My first notable talent, as a young boy, was in Fine Arts. I became an expert in drawing General Jacob Gowon in full military regalia by the time I was a few years old. America was also in crisis at this time. There were cultural crises arising from the civil rights movements engaging America to correct the anomalies of racial segregation, in fact and form. Cassius Clay was on his way to becoming the most popular person in the world, as a boxer, and was preparing to jettison his Faith to become a radical, black Muslim under “Prophet Elijah Mohammed”. This singular act, which saw him accept-
ing a name given by this Elijah Muhammad Ali, would also unleash terror against him, by the same murderers of his mentor, Malcolm X. The war against Vietnam had peaked, and America was losing technically. Even if they were to wipe out 1 million Viets, their own loss of 55,000 soldiers was more than their middle-class nation could stomach. Instead, the average young American led by actress Jane Fonda, was into the new-age philosophies of self help and Asian mystical religion. It was profitable to “Make love, not war” and to have group orgies and peace rallies. John Lennon would survive the Beatles as a cultural icon. American cowboy movies were infiltrating every nation in the world, and the struggle to colonise the moon and terrestrial space was on between the Soviets and America. In Britain, the “Great” having been made nonsense of, Caribbean migrants had continued flooding into the hallowed streets of London. Nigerians were having the first generation of dual-citizen babies in hospitals all over England, curiously avoiding Scotland and Wales. The rest of Europe had stabilised after the manic self destruction of the 2nd European Civil War, which they had extended to other parts of the world, in an incorrigible attempt to cause worldwide chaos. Most of Asia was resolutely Third World, using the popular parlance. The rest of Africa was either at war, becoming sovereign nations or under white minority rule. While Elvis Presley ruled in America, the Beatles made world conquest a priority from their Liverpool factories. Yet, Indian and Hong Kong made Chinese movies entertained the rest of the world. Honda and Suzuki were competent making little motorbikes and generators that were popular in Africa. All in all, it did not appear that Armageddon was going to happen on earth, despite the pockets of armed and unarmed conflicts here and there. In South Africa, the “Madiba”, Nelson Mandela had been caught, tried spuriously, and jailed for what was to be 27 years. The American civil rights movement had peaked in their struggles, and the 1964 Civil Rights Act rewarded the tenacious marches of Martin Luther King
Podium Jr and his associates. Man walked on the moon and nuclear as well as space technology became objects of strife rather than human accomplishments. In Nigeria, the streets of Lagos were beautiful and the Marina was quite picturesque. The real estate high rises were not yet there in the 1960s. The weather patterns were nicer, because the ozone was not so depleted. In the interior of the country, many towns lived in the shadow of Lagos but closer to nature and greatly enhanced by the rich culture and traditions of our peoples. The average Nigerian was not touched by the political instability at the regional and national levels, and took solace and strength from the traditional institutions. The Sultan of Sokoto had more power than any Prime Minister, as did the Obas of Lagos, Ife, Benin, Ijebu and Oyo. The people would listen first to their Kings before they did political leaders. My infancy was not threatened by the contagious madness of the political world. I was a precocious child, the first male offspring of my parents. My education was sheer complexity; from lowly public schools to expensive foreign education, more than 20 institutions in all. I have thus been enriched by a multitude of cultures, religions, peoples and attitudes and this has given me insights and experiences beyond my years, and consequently, a quite complex personality modulated only by the steady hands of my maternal grandmother. A mystery within an enigma. At once a Tom Sawyer and David Copperfield. Aloof, reserved, sometimes snobbish, and yet adventurous, amorous and humanistic. I soon got tired of explaining my nuances to the continuous melee of strangers that came into my life, preferring the mystery to the exposition. I had the love of my family, and that seemed enough. I spent most of my childhood away from home, in the dreary loneliness of several boarding schools. Today, my reluctance to form attachments and the need for independence is borne from these childhood experiences. I was born sandwiched between two royal families in Ijebuland. It happened that we were often referred to as ‘children of the one armed King’: a direct reference to the immediate past Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Adesanya, a maternal great grandparent. As it were, the succeeding King, Oba Adetona is my maternal grandmother’s nephew. The royal family immediately to follow Adetona’s family in order of precedence to the throne, would be the Subomi-Balogun dynasty. This family came from Princess Ashiru-Balogun - my father’s cousin. Thus, from both parents, and across three of the four royal households in Ijebuland, I and my sisters were directly connected. As a child, I spent weekends and holidays in the Awujale’s Palace in Ijebu Ode, and came to be really fond of Oba Adetona. From this connection, I came to learn and understand first hand, Ijebu history and traditions. My research would confirm that, it is no empty declaration that the Ijebus as part of Yoruba stock, were of the ancient Nubian race - the last, black Pharaohs of lower Egypt. No mean feat that Awujale has a palace in Cairo today. Going even further, they, as part of the black race, were from the Canaanites - Noah’s descendants. Awujale Adetona is not reputed to love the rigidities of ancient traditions. During my adolescence he lived in a simple palace. I loved to visit his household and play around with his second child, Princess Tutu. She was quite maternal, and would come visit me at the board-
ing school that I then attended and feed me with Pronto and other sweet confectioneries. The Oba himself, was, and is still very accommodating. His principled stand on many issues date back from his youth. My grandmother told us of the times that he had stood against the traditional high chiefs and priests over aspects of his individual interpretation of tradition. Considering my many close encounters with him, I was not surprised that many, many years later, he would grace my wedding as the very first individual to arrive at the Church premises. Nowadays, he tells me every time we meet, to recover his personal expenses on me from my absent father. I have had precious few things to ask of him, but he has never refused any request. And he has never forgotten my grandmother’s fostering care so many decades before his coronation as King. Despite all these royal connections, I experienced a normal childhood. I witnessed my parents struggle to establish themselves in life. I learned to hunt and fish, and to sell bread and provisions to passers-by around my family house. While living with my maternal grandmother in Lagos, I learned to sell bottled cold water and retail alcohol. I learned to lift cartons of beer and soft drinks and to go on sales trips around Lagos. Indeed, I was being prepared for financial independence and business success. I grew up accepting that sometimes I had to use a pit latrine, and enjoy the company of large green flies. I got accustomed to going to the bushes to ‘spend a penny’ by using itchy leaves to wipe my backside. I walked long distances to school, and got used to the continued absence of my parents while I moved from one boarding school to another.
ishing accuracy. I am extremely happy for the experiences of my youth. I feel qualified to tell my story. I thank my God for being alive today...and raising my children...and doing God’s work...and caring about my nation. I’ve got to keep my Irons in The Fire.
I grew up to see my father buy his first car, a Volkswagen beetle, which he could not drive. I saw firsthand, everything my parents had to do to make a living. I was not born with a silver-spoon in my mouth; I had to learn to use a breakable aluminium spoon to feed. I saw my parents battle one economic and spiritual war after another. I witnessed my father waltz his way into a prison experience, because of some problems where he worked. I saw the agony of my mother, taking his food to meet him, me in tow. And at that young age, I saw guns being brandished at hardened criminals. I remember vividly seeing one of my younger sisters, at age three, falling down from a first floor balcony to a cold hard concrete floor some twelve feet below. She survived without a scratch. It is amazing the things young minds can record and recollect. I can remember events happening in my life since the age of three with aston-
George Ashiru MARCH 2011
Random Musings with Ayodeji Jeremiah
Building Organisations founded on People Inspiration for most people is not found in balance sheets but in a search for meaning. “You don’t build a business – you build people- and then people build the business” and support human dignity, and put fairness and justice high on the corporate agenda.
ome say that a company’s people are its main source of sustainable competitive advantage. For many companies, it is their only source. Employees’ innovation and determination create and build new products, their enthusiasm and insight deliver outstanding customer care, and their knowledge and wisdom solve seemingly intractable problems. The realisation of this simple fact has had a profound effect on the nature of organisations.
Companies see a shift from financial and technological capital to human capital, which in turn affects the way those organisations are designed and work, is created. This shift takes us to a basic philosophical question: “If people are at the heart of competitive advantage, how are they different from financial or technological capital?” It is an important question because it informs the debate about how we can create organisations in which people are excited, motivated and inspired. People are not simply passive recipients of data from outside. Rather, we actively engage with life. As individuals and collectively, we strive to create meaning. We yearn to be part of something significant and to achieve things that are consistent with our sense of self. Work plays a crucial part in creating this meaning. We seek meaning in our work; try to understand the purpose of the organisation and select companies with the same values as our own. Building shareholder value may meet the needs of investors, but it does little to excite or inspire those who have invested their personal human capital in an organisation. We are not simply machines, programmed to deliver results in a rational and predetermined way. We have hopes and fears, we laugh, cry and dream. The emotional side of the organisation involves trust and commitment, inspiration and exhilaration. Organisations that can justifiably lay claim to having a soul are those that acknowledge 38
Articulating broad strategic goals is important, but creating the energy, determination and inspiration to deliver these goals is what separates great companies from the also-rans. Companies that are adept at putting people at the centre of their corporate purpose engage in a specific set of processes. People become engaged through discussion and the application of imagination, not through looking at policy statements. The creation of a shared vision lies at the heart of a peoplecentred strategy. It should not be a oneoff activity, but a way of thinking and conversing, of creating excitement, of building a shared agenda. It involves hard conversations about what is important and how collective dreams can become a reality. Dreaming is necessary, but not sufficient. If a company wishes to move from the rhetoric of aspiration to the reality of delivering, it must look openly at the capabilities of the business and its people and must measure the gap separating vision from reality. Without such insights, which may be painful, plans are unlikely to succeed. Organisations certainly understand their financial base and products, but rarely do they monitor or acknowledge the human capital of
the business. They do not have their finger on the pulse of “emotional capital”, employees’ level of commitment, excitement and inspiration. They fail to understand the “social capital” which is the depth and breadth of networks and propensity for knowledge-sharing. And they do not monitor “intellectual capital”, the means of creating and accumulating valuable knowledge. Most companies model what they perceive as their key assets, such as financial assets or structural assets. However, few model that human side of the business, the behaviours, knowledge, values, processes and structures.
Everyone communication who wants to and relationship skills.
understand ways to improve their
This course will help participants
Teachers levels of student engaged time.
Corporateand Employees children with knowledge, skills and
and children with knowledge, skills and
Strategies for Effective Use of Time
Why should people be interested in Time Everyone who wants to Management? have better Signs of Time Wasting
What is Time Management?
Team Leads &
Powerful Ideas to keep your Customers
Suggestions to build Customer Loyalty and
Customers; Rules for Selling to a Sceptic;
function, strategies for team building and characteristics of effective teams.
programmes and activities. The workshop School Heads
writing, speaking and vocabulary related Parents;
This workshop will cover phonics, reading, Teachers;
9. Presenting a Professional
programmes and activities. The workshop School Heads
Departmental Heads in
different types of teams, how teams
writing, speaking and vocabulary related Parents;
Use of Jewellery, Makeup and Perfumes.
Service and Client
Sales Staff; Customer
making an excellent
Anyone interested in
jobs after a long time.
job market and
getting started in the
employment, those just
For everyone seeking
Small Business Owners
Client Relations staff;
Customer Service and
Anyone interested in
Senior and Busy
personal environment, Beauty Tips and
The course will cover dressing, office and
coming back. different types of teams, how teams Departmental Heads in 8. The TIPS (Training in The workshop is designed to provide basic confidence in manners and etiquette for the function, strategies for team building and Companies, Churches Professional & Soft Skills) guidelines and soft skills in career 21st century. characteristics of effective teams. and NGOs. Workshop development and advancement 5. Reading This &workshop will cover phonics, reading, Teachers; This course provides an insight into & Phonics Workshop Team Leads
This course provides an insight into
that instruct and impact adults, teenagers 4. Building Effective Teams
21st century. Teenagers;
Entertaining & Educational etiquette classes Adults; confidence in manners and etiquette for the
The purpose of this course is to train
Nursery, Primary and teachers on strategies to use to gain Secondary School Secondarycontrol School of the classroom and have6.higher Teachers Effective Use of Time
Targeted Participants will also focus on how to help children with Nursery, Primary and reading difficulties.
Techniques for Setting Priorities Corporate Employees 7. Providing Great Customer relationship skills. relationships with Topics will include Expanding your Scope 3. Poise & Etiquette Skills Entertaining & Educational etiquette classes Adults; Service of Customer Service; Improving your others. that instruct and impact adults, teenagers Teenagers; Customer Service; Managing Upset
understand ways to improve their
This course will help participants
levels of student engaged time.
2. Interpersonal &
control of the classroom and have higher
teachers on strategies to use to gain
The purpose of this course is to train
Description & Objectives
1. Classroom Management
Description & Objectives
All courses are available at affordable prices from N7, 500.00 per participant. You can book for a course either individually or in collaboration with others (group bookings) at anytime. Courses are available on an individual basis. Group Bookings attract discounts of 10% for 2-5 participants, 15% for 6-10 participants and 20% for more than 10 participants. Call 01-4358330, 08026861642 to make a booking.
5. Reading & Phonics Workshop
4. Building Effective Teams
3. Poise & Etiquette Skills
2. Interpersonal &
1. Classroom Management
“The Mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher “The Mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” – Williamdemonstrates. A. Ward The great teacher inspires.” – William A. Ward
(A Service Brand of Verdure Consult Limited)
(Soft Skills Training Solutions & School Consultancy) (A Service Brand of Verdure Consult Limited) (Soft Skills Training Solutions & School Consultancy)