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TIMELESS Published Since April 2003

Vol. 9 No. 7

JULY 2011


Mandela: His 8 Lessons of Leadership As Mandela celebrates his 93rd birthday, the world’s greatest moral leader reflects on a lifetime of service and what the rest of us can learn from it.


Burn Calories without Sweating Viewpoint

“A” Level Goats! Business

Doing Business in Hard Paces

From the Editor-in-Chief is coming when, we will taunt our Chaldeans and say – you robbers at last justice has caught up with you. You have ruined many nations, now they can ruin you. Woe to you for getting rich by evil means, attempting to live beyond the reach of danger – verse 12, chapter 12, “Woe to you who build cities with money gained from murdering and robbery”.


he story of the Chaldeans in the book of Habakkuk (in the Bible) is almost a direct reference to the elite of Nigeria. Starting from chapter 1, verse 1, Habakkuk is complaining to the Lord, that he has been praying for a long time, without receiving an answer, that it does not seem as though the Lord is hearing, what is the Lord doing about all the evil and violence in the land - Is God not listening to our plea in Nigeria? In verse 5, chapter 1 the Lord replies and says ‘I am about to do something in your own life time that you will have to see to believe’ – Yes indeed, the word for the hour is that the Lord is about to work a new work in our lives, in our businesses, in our nation, in Nigeria. God further says that He is raising up an army - the Chaldeans, (a tribe of Jemites living between Babylon and the Persian Gulf), but surprisingly they are evil, wicked and destructive people. Perhaps the Lord has raised up the so called Nigerian elite and leadership as a punishment to a disobedient followership? Perhaps we, like the Israelites have requested for kings that would plunder us, and put us into bondage. Christians, Nigerians, the Lord is saying repent, turn back from those awful ways and turn to the Lord, so that He can fulfill the ultimate purpose of our lives. Nigeria is like a tree cut down, whose stump still lives to grow again. The Lord says in Habakkuk 2:6 “that the time

Learn to live moderately and trust in the Lord Almighty. How much good do you do to the rest of Nigeria with what you have anyway? Or do you not want to see Nigeria in glory, do you not want to again be proud to be a Nigerian to carry your green passport or are you one of those trying to sabotage God’s plan for Nigeria in this end times?

It is time that we, as people of Nigeria, change our attitude, our style, it is time that we said enough, we want change in Nigeria, we want a better economy, we want good caring leadership. It is you and me that have to do this. We have show that things can be done properly, that government can run smoothly without bribe, without corruption; we have to show excellence, and show that it is wrong, abnormal, immoral and spiritually bad to rule badly, encourage corruption, bribe and gross inefficiency. A friend of mine once asked me, when your government was rich, why didn’t your leaders invest in property and such things abroad? That’s what Kuwait did and is living on – I replied that our leaders did, but they did it in their personal names. I understand that there is a very expensive street in London where some prominent Nigerians own houses side by side.

Ituah Ighodalo

I think Nigerians especially our leaders and ex-leaders, and some of our so called big businessmen, those who are patronised by government should search their conscience – if there is any money (even in tax frauds or lack of income declaration) belonging to Nigeria in your possession, return it, sell that house or hand it over back to Nigerians, hand it back to God, sell those cars, that land, hand over back to Nigeria those foreign accounts, keep a small portion for your pension if you like, we don’t want you in penury but hand the rest back to whom it belongs, and don’t steal anymore.

JULY 2011




17 Society



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Vol. 9 No. 1





Ituah Ighodalo EDITOR

Ayodeji Jeremiah

...for the New Year As Selected by You - Our Readers

1. UNILAG Bookshop, Akoka 2. Edysyl Bookshops, Jibowu Str, Yaba & Kodesho Str, Ikeja 3. Royal Dividends Store 4. Iman Cosmetics, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi 5. Total Filling Station, Awolowo Rd, Ikoyi 6. Media Store RCCG Christ Church, Gbagada 7. MM1 & MM2 Local Airport 8. CCD Stores, Ogudu 9. Pharm Affairs, Ogudu 10. Cheeses Stores, Ogudu 11. Terra Kulture, Tiamuyi Savage, V.I 12. Prince Stores, Diya Street, Gbagada 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...”




Titilope Oyelade


rtain e t n on, e aud” and ne i t a m r o infor rimage f . Well d f o e g ourc stian pil e Ashiru s e l i g b erita on “Chr by Geor v a k. s ce dition ri e e co.u i . p p o a o e e sp h yah New . I love t r March ge@ a s r s u e u co h el eless Tim and trut re” in yo m i t to t fi ords men s in the dokwe w 0 30 n han item. t “Iro Betty U e r o ift not m ceive a g - s of


tter ll re in le onth wi d n m se can r every u o e Y r lett A sta


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MISSION STATEMENT To establish a well Structured, Educative and Informative Newsmagazine based on Sound Moral Values; providing Honest, Unbiased Reportage in Fairness to all.



Can Nigeria cure its Boko Haram disease?


he events of Tuesday June 16, 2011, when the Boko Haram sect of insurgents out of Borno State carried their war of attrition against the Nigerian state right inside the headquarters of the nation’s police force, have erased any doubt on the intractable nature of the security problem the band of Boko Haram guerrilla fighters poses.

Unless the matter gets the clinical attention it demands from the authorities, the disease may prove debilitating, rendering the state unable to attend to other even more pressing matters. In the end, it may eat so much into the fabric of state to unravel it. Boko Haram is a security quandary for leadership at all levels; it highlights its abject failure. Whatever “concrete measures” have so far been taken “to nip it in the bud”, these must now be seen to have failed woefully; this calls for their thorough review. The security challenges occasioned by the endless attacks by the group are bound to make the provenance state from where the disease broke out ungovernable; the whole Northeast region (particularly Borno, Bauchi, Kano and Gombe states) appears to be tottering on the brink of lawlessness. Maiduguri is fast becoming another Somalia, where outlaw groups have taken over and where no government exists. So far, the impact and presence of government can only be felt on the streets of the capital city where armed soldiers who have failed to contain the killings and terror have allegedly made a hobby out of terrorising innocent residents in the name of perfunctory searches for members of the sect. Sometimes, there are cases of alleged extortion perpetrated on the residents, where the economy has all but collapsed from the persistent onslaught by Boko Haram and resultant curfew imposition by government in response. In the beginning, it was possible to keep count of the number of people killed; now, the heightened frequency of the killings has so shot up that accurate tally is being kept anymore. The Boko Haram sect, who engaged security forces in a fire-fight in 2009 following sundry earlier skirmishes on the streets of Maiduguri, would probably have been successfully routed by now were it not for the extra-judicial killing of its leader, Mohammed Yusuf, along with dozens of his followers. Perhaps part of the 6


cure, if it is not too late to be effective, is the ongoing arraignment for their murder of two assistant commissioners of police along with 15 other police officers. In line with this, the family of the 70-year-old Baba Fugu, the father in-law of the late Boko Haram leader, Muhammed Yusuf, ought to be treated with fairness in the matter of their suit in court challenging the old man’s murder by the police. Whatever happened to the judgement of the court in their favour? Baba Fugu had reportedly presented himself to the state Police commissioner on being told that he was a wanted man. Instead of taking down his statement, the police took his life even though he was not known to have any relationship with the Boko Haram other than being Mr Yusuf’s fatherin-law. The history of Boko Haram is a testament to government’s inability to put in place effective measures for ensuring justice and egalitarianism. In the beginning, Muhammed Yusuf was reportedly encouraged and bankrolled by former Borno State governor Ali Modu Sheriff, who wanted to use the group’s numerical leverage for political gains. To this end, we are calling for Mr Sheriff to be compelled to appear for interrogation by the newly constituted commission of inquiry set up by the Federal Government. It has been alleged that Boko Haram financier, the late Buji Foi (also summarily executed by the police), as Mr Sheriff’s commissioner of religious affairs, was possibly his stooge within the sect. Indeed, the extra-judicial killings have led to allegations that, given the haste with which they were carried out, certain persons along the corridors of power had something to hide. The commission of inquiry set up by the

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federal government to investigate the uprising was said to have returned a verdict of guilty on former Governor Ali Sheriff and the then Commissioner of police. Why has government not made its content public? Can the Freedom of Information Act be invoked to make this happen? Therefore, there is an urgent and compelling need to prosecute Mr Sheriff if indeed he is found guilty. In fact, his appearance and possible subsequent prosecution will go a long way in assuaging the truly hurt feelings of the Boko Haram sect. The question must be asked: Could there have been a pact between Mr Sheri ff and the group, which the former reneged on, which has left the sect enraged?

The security approach adopted by security agencies, notably the police, is not only faulty but dastardly. As a retired policeman in Maiduguri once told reporters, ‘’The moment a shooting takes place in any neighbourhood, Operation Flush operatives rush to the scene and round up young men and claim that they have arrested the culprits. How can any gunman who committed an act hang around the scene of the crime to be arrested just like that?” As a result, many young men made scapegoats for the failure of the security agents to apprehend the real perpetrators of the killings end up radicalised. And so the Boko Haram cancer cells continue to ravage the body polity.

Cover Feature

Is there a more fruitful relationship between writer and subject than Richard Stengel and Nelson Mandela? The two men collaborated on the best-selling, critically-acclaimed Long Walk to Freedom, Mandela’s 630-page autobiography, which took Stengel two and a half years to write in the early 1990s. Stengel recorded the interviews and kept a diary while working on the book. In 2009, Stengel donated the 75 hours worth of interviews to the Nelson Mandela Foundation. And the 120,000-word diary gave birth to Mandela’s Way: Fifteen Lessons on Life, Love and Courage, which hit stores in March 2010. Mandela, whom Stengel considers a “father figure,” wrote the book’s preface. Theirs is a personal bond. So personal, in fact, that Mandela is a godfather to Gabriel, now 12, the older of Stengel’s two sons. And it was while working on Mandela’s autobiography when Stengel met his wife, Mary Pfaff, then a photographer for Agence France-Presse. Pfaff photographed Mandela on the day of his release after 27 years in prison. “Madiba” -- Mandela’s clan name, is a title that Stengel, helped popularize.

Mandela: His 8 Lessons of Leadership

As Mandela celebrates his 93rd birthday, the world’s greatest moral leader reflects on a lifetime of service and what the rest of us can learn from it. Richard Stengel, TIME Magazine Managing Editor shares with us in this article (edited excerpts.)

cover feature


elson Mandela has made enough trouble for several lifetimes. He liberated a country from a system of violent prejudice and helped unite white and black, oppressor and oppressed, in a way that had never been done before. In the 1990s I worked with Mandela for almost two years on his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom. After all that time spent in his company, I felt a terrible sense of withdrawal when the book was done; it was like the sun going out of one’s life. Mandela is the closest thing the world has to a secular saint, but he would be the first to admit that he is something far more pedestrian: a politician. He overthrew apartheid and created a non-racial democratic South Africa by knowing precisely when and how to transition between his roles as warrior, martyr, diplomat and statesman. Uncomfortable with abstract philosophical concepts, he would often say to me that an issue “was not a question of principle; it was a question of tactics.” He is a master tactician. Mandela is no longer comfortable with inquiries or favours. He’s fearful that he may not be able to summon what people expect when they visit a living deity, and vain enough to care that they not think him diminished. But the world has never needed Mandela’s gifts, as a tactician, as an activist and, yet, as a politician, more, as he showed two years ago when he rose to condemn the savagery of Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe. I’ve always thought of what you are about to read as Madiba’s Rules (Madiba, his clan him is what everyone close to him calls him), and they are cobbled together from observing him up close and from afar. They are mostly practical. Many of them stem directly from his personal experience. All of them are calibrated to cause the best kind of trouble: the trouble that forces us to ask how we can make the world a better place.



No 1 - Courage is not the absence of fear; it’s inspiring others to move beyond it In 1994, during the presidential-election campaign, Mandela got on a tiny propeller plane to fly down to the killing fields of Natal and give a speech to his Zulu supporters. I agreed to meet him at the airport, where we would continue our work after his speech. When the plane was 20 minutes from landing, one of its engines failed. Some on the plane began to panic. The only thing that calmed them was looking at Mandela, who quietly read his newspaper as if he were a commuter on his morning train to the office. The airport prepared for an emergency landing, and the pilot managed to land the planed safely. When Mandela and I got in the backseat of his bulletproof BMW that would take us to the rally, he turned to me and said, “Man, I was terrified up there!” Mandela was often afraid during his time underground, during the Rivonia trial that led to his imprisonment, during his time on Robben Island. “Of course I was afraid!” he would tell me later. It would have been irrational, he suggested, not to be. “I can’t pretend that I’m brave and that I can beat the whole world.” But as a leader, you cannot let people know. “You must put up a front.” And that’s precisely what he learned to do: pretend and, through the act of appearing fearless, inspire others. It was a pantomime Mandela perfected on Robben Island, where there was much to fear. Prisoners who were with him said watching Mandela walk across the courtyard, upright and proud, was enough to keep them going for days. He knew that he was a model for others, and that gave him the strength to triumph over his own fear.

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No 2 - Lead from the front but don’t leave your base behind Mandela is cagey. In 1985 he was operated on for an enlarged prostate. When he was returned to prison, he was separated from his colleagues and friends for the first time in 21 years. They protested. But as his longtime friend Ahmed Kathrada recalls, he said to them, “Wait a minute, chaps. Some good may come of this.” The good that came of it was that Mandela on his own launched negotiations with the apartheid government. This was anathema to the African National Congress (ANC). After decades of saying “prisoners cannot negotiate” and after advocating an armed struggle that would bring the government to its knees, he decided that the time was right to begin to talk to his oppressors. When he initiated his negotiations with the government in 1985, there were many who though he had lost it. “We thought he was selling out,” says Cyril Ramaphosa, then the powerful and fiery leader of the National Union of Mineworkers. “I went to see him to tell him, what are you doing? It was an unbelievable initiative. He took a massive risk.” Mandela launched a campaign to persuade the ANC that his was the correct course. His reputation was on the line. He went to each of his comrades in prison, Kathrada remembers, and explained what he was doing. Slowly and deliberately, he brought them along. “You take your support base along with you,” says Ramaphosa, who was secretary-general of the ANC and is now a business mogul. “Once you arrive at the beachhead, then you allow the people to move on. He is not a bubble gum leader, chew it now and throw it away.” For Mandela, refusing to negotiate was about

cover feature tactics, not principles. Throughout his life, he has always made that distinction. His unwavering principle, the overthrow of apartheid and the achievement of one man, one vote was immutable, but almost anything that helped him get to that goal he regarded as a tactic. He is the most pragmatic of idealists. “He’s a historical man,” says Ramaphosa. “He was thinking way ahead of us. He has posterity in mind: How will they view what we’ve done?” Prison gave him the ability to take the long view. It had to: there was no other view possible. He was thinking in terms of not days and weeks but decades. He knew history was on his side, that the result was inevitable; it was just a question of how soon and how it would be achieved. “Things will be better in the long run,” he sometimes said. He always played for the long run. No 3 - Lead from the back and let others believe they are in front Mandela loved to reminisce about his boyhood and his lazy afternoons herding cattle. “You know,” he would say, “you can only lead them from behind.” He would then raise his eyebrows to make sure I got the analogy.

Thabo Mbeki and others around the dining room table or sometimes in a circle in his driveway. Some of his colleagues would shout at him to move faster, to be more radical and Mandela would simply listen. When he finally did speak at those meetings, he slowly and methodically summarised everyone’s points of view and then unfurled his own thoughts, subtly steering the decision in the direction he wanted without imposing it. The trick of leadership is allowing yourself to be led too. “It is wise,” he said, “to persuade people to do things and make them think it was their own idea.” No 4 - Know your enemy and learn about his favourite sport As far back as the 1960s Mandela began studying Afrikaans the language of the white South Africans who created apartheid. His comrades in the ANC teased him about it, but he wanted to understand the Afrikaner’s worldview; he knew that one day he would be fighting them or negotiating with them, and either way, his destiny was tied to theirs.

As a boy, Mandela was greatly influenced by Jongintaba, the tribal king who raised him. When Jongintaba had meetings of his court, the men gathered in a circle, and only after all had spoken did the king begin to speak. The chief’s job, Mandela said, was not to tell people what to do but to form a consensus. “Don’t enter the debate too early,” he used to say.

This was strategic in two senses: by speaking his opponents’ language, he might understand their strengths and weaknesses and formulate tactics accordingly. But he would also be ingratiating himself with his enemy. Everyone from ordinary jailers to P.W. Botha was impressed by Mandela’s willingness to speak Afrikaans and his knowledge of Afrikaner history. He even brushed up on his knowledge of rugby, the Afrikaners’ beloved sport, so he would be able to compare notes on teams and players.

During the time I worked with Mandela, he often called meetings of his kitchen cabinet at his home in Houghton, a lovely old suburb of Johannesburg. He would gather half a dozen men, Ramaphosa,

Mandela understood that blacks and Afrikaners had something fundamental in common: Afrikaners believed themselves to be Africans as deeply as blacks did. He knew, too, that Afrikaners

had been the victims of prejudice themselves: the British government and the white English settlers looked down on them. Afrikaners suffered from a cultural inferiority complex almost as much as blacks did. Mandela was a lawyer, and in prison he helped the warders with their legal problems. They were far less educated and worldly than he, and it was extraordinary to them that a black man was willing and able to help them. These were “the most ruthless and brutal of the apartheid regime’s characters,” says Allister Sparks, the great South African historian, and he “realised that even the worse and crudest could be negotiated with.” No 5 - Keep your friends close and your rivals even closer Many of the guests Mandela invited to the house he built in Qunu were people whom, he intimated to me, he did not wholly trust. He had them to dinner; he called to consult with them; he flattered them and gave them gifts. Mandela is a man of invincible charm and he has often used that charm to even greater effect on his rivals than on his allies. On Robben Island, Mandela would always include in his brain trust men he neither liked nor relied on. One person he became close to was Chris Hani, the fiery chief of staff of the ANC’s military wing. There were some who thought Hani was conspiring against Mandela, but Mandela cozied up to him. “It wasn’t just Hani,” says Ramaphosa. “It was also the big industrialists, the mining families, the opposition. He would pick up the phone and call them on their birthdays. He would go to family funerals. He saw it as an opportunity.” When Mandela emerged from prison, he famously included his jailers among his friends and put leaders who had kept him in

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cover feature prison in his first Cabinet. Yet I well knew that he despised some of these men. There were times when, like so many people of great charm, he allowed himself to be charmed. Mandela initially developed a quick rapport with South African President F.W. de Klerk, which is why he later felt so betrayed when De Klerk attacked him in public. Mandela believed that embracing his rivals was a way of controlling them: they were more dangerous on their own than within his circle of influence. He cherished loyalty, but he was never obsessed by it. After all, he used to say, “People act in their own interest.” It was simply a fact of human nature, not a flaw or a defect. The flip side of being an optimist and he is one is trusting people too much. But Mandela recognised that the way to deal with those he didn’t trust was to neutralise them with charm. No 6 - Appearances matter and remember to smile When Mandela was a poor law student in Johannesburg wearing his one threadbare suit, he was taken to see Walter Sisulu. Sisulu was a real estate agent and a young leader of the ANC. Mandela saw a sophisticated and successful black man whom he could emulate. Sisulu saw the future. Sisulu once told me that his great quest in the 1950s was to turn the ANC into a mass movement; and then one day, he recalled with a smile, “a mass leader walked into my office.” Mandela was tall and handsome, an amateur boxer who carried himself with the regal air of a chief’s son. And he had a smile that was like the sun coming out on a cloudy day. We sometimes forget the historical correlation between leadership and physicality. George Washington was the tallest and probably the strongest man in every room he entered. Size and strength have more to do with DNA than with leadership manuals, but Mandela understood how his appearance could advance his cause. As leader of the ANC’s underground military wing, he insisted that he be photographed in the proper fatigues and with a beard, and throughout his career he has been concerned about dressing appropriately for his position. George Bizos, his lawyer, remembers that he first met Mandela at an Indian tailor’s shop in the 1950s and that Mandela was the first black South African he had ever seen being fitted for a suit. Now Mandela’s uniform is a series of exuberant print shirts that declare him the joyous grandfather of modern



Africa. When Mandela was running for the presidency in 1994, he knew that symbols mattered as much as substance. He was never a great public speaker, and people often tuned out what he was saying after the first few minutes. But it was the iconography that people understood. When he was on a platform, he would always do the toyitoyi, the township dance that was an emblem of the struggle. But more important was that dazzling, beatific, all-inclusive smile. For white South Africans, the smile symbolised Mandela’s lack of bitterness and suggested that he was sympathetic to them. To black voters, it said, ‘I am the happy warrior, and we will triumph.’ The ubiquitous ANC election poster was simply his smiling face. “The smile,” says Ramaphoda, “was the message.” After he emerged from prison, people would say, over and over, it is amazing that he is not bitter. There are a thousand things Nelson Mandela was bitter about, but knew that more than anything else, he had to project the exact opposite emotion. He always said, “Forget the past” – but I knew he never did. No. 7 - Nothing is black or white When we began our series of interviews, I would often ask Mandela questions like this one: ‘When you decided to suspend the armed struggle, was it because you realised you did not have the strength to overthrow the government or because you knew you could win over international opinion by choosing nonviolence?’ He would then give me a curious glance and say, “Why not both?” I did start asking smarter questions, but the message was clear: Life is never either/ or. Decisions are complex, and there are always competing factors. To look for simple explanations is the bias of the human brain, but it doesn’t correspond to reality. Nothing is ever as straightforward as it appears. Mandela is comfortable with contradiction. As a politician, he was a pragmatist who saw the world as infinitely nuanced. Much of this, I believe, came from living as a black man under an apartheid system that offered a daily regimen of excruciating and debilitating moral choices: do I defer to the white boss to get the job I want and avoid a punishment? Do I carry my pass? As a statesman, Mandela was uncommonly loyal to Muammar Gaddafi and Fidel Castro. They had helped the ANC when the U.S. still branded Mandela as a terrorist. When I asked him about

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Gaddafi and Castro, he suggested that Americans tend to see things in black and white, and he would upbraid me for my lack of nuance. Every problem has many causes. While he was indisputably and clearly against apartheid, the causes of apartheid were complex. They were historical, sociological and psychological. Mandela’s calculus was always, what is the end that I seek, and what is the most practical way to get there? No. 8 - Quitting is leading too In 1993, Mandela asked me if I knew of any countries where the minimum voting age was under 18. I did some research and presented him with a rather undistinguished list: Indonesia, Cuba, Nicaragua, North Korea and Iran. He nodded and uttered his highest praise: “Very good, very good.” Two weeks later, Mandela went on South African television and proposed that the voting age be lowered to 14. “He tried to sell us the idea,” recalls Ramaphosa, “but he was the only [supporter]. And he had to face the reality that it would not win the day. He accepted it with great humility. He doesn’t sulk. That was also a lesson in leadership.” Knowing how to abandon a failed idea, task or relationship is often the most difficult kind of decision a leader has to make. In many ways, Mandela’s greatest legacy as President of South Africa is the way he chose to leave it. When he was elected in 1994, Mandela probably could have pressed to be President for life and there were many who felt that in return for his years in prison, that was the least South Africa could do. In the history of Africa, there have been only a handful of democratically elected leaders who willingly stood down from office. Mandela was determined to set a precedent for all who followed him not only in South Africa but across the rest of the continent. He would be the antiMugabe, the man who gave birth to his country and refused to hold it hostage. “His job was to set the course,” says Ramaphosa, “not to steer the ship.” He knows that leaders lead as much by what they choose not to do as what they do. Ultimately, the key to understanding Mandela is those 27 years in prison. The man who walked onto Robben Island in 1964 was emotional, headstrong, easily stung. The man who emerged was balanced and disciplined. He is not and never has been introspective. I often asked him how the man who emerged from prison differed from the wilful young man who had entered it. He hated this question. Finally, in exasperation one day, he said, “I came out mature.” There is nothing so rare or so valuable as a mature man.


Governor Babatunde Fashola’s Inauguration in Lagos As he begins his second term in office, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), canvassed a resolve by the people to become champions of a consensus of best practices as a means to achieve prosperity, economic growth and global competitiveness in the State. Speaking at his inaugural dinner, Governor Fashola, said that governance and best practices seen in the countries that the nation seeks to emulate were not achieved by accident but by an agreement between the leaders and the led. Citing the example of the 2011 General Elections, he noted that the free and fair as well as credible nature of the exercise in Lagos were not achieved by accident but by the consensus of the people, especially the elite, to ensure that the votes counted. “We got here by a consensus which was forged after the flawed election of 2007. That consensus was not led by the majority of the members of our society, which includes a lot of under privileged members of our society; on the contrary, leadership for it and the process that delivered it were initiated by the Nigerian elite, financed by them and nurtured for four

years with the singular objective of ensuring that every vote counted and that every eligible voter had one vote”, the Governor said. Governor Fashola maintained that even if Nigeria has not achieved the perfect election, if such a thing exists, it was certainly not debatable that the country has moved away progressively from where it was in 2007; in terms of electoral process adding, “we can only get better if we maintain that consensus in subsequent elections”. “As a Government, we intend to take the lead by organizing ourselves better, scheduling appointments, and doing our best to keep to time in order to give you the most optimum service that is possible during the mandate of four years which approximates to just 35,000 hours”, the Governor said. To Lagosians, he said, “We expect that you will give us your co-operation at all times and be graceful enough to understand and appreciate the need for us to do what we do. The consensus will come by all of us taking ownership of all public assets like roads, drainages, street lights,

traffic lights, traffic signs. We will all benefit if we reach a consensus not to overload our roads by operating warehouses in residential areas that require us to bring heavy duty trucks to roads in estates built for personal cars. This will make the roads last longer”. Zeroing in on flooding, Governor Fashola, who reminded all that the predicted heavy rainfall in Lagos has begun, advised, “We will benefit and be spared the adverse effects of heavy rainfall if we protect drainages and resist the temptation to dump refuse into them. I believe we will be better for it if we resolve that it is our duty to ensure that no refuse is dumped in our drainage instead of expecting Government to spend our taxes to collect what we should never have dumped there in the first place”. Assuring Lagosians of his administration’s “unflinching commitment to continue to give you spartan service and make things better”, Governor Fashola urged civil society groups such as Residents’ Association to be “the platforms for community involvement to build that consensus of ownership and participation”.

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Pastor E. A. Adeboye Prays for Nigerian Artistes


hortly after he returned from a pastoral tour of Uganda, Ethiopia and Rwanda, Pastor Enoch Adeboye found time recently to hold a special prayer session with Nollywood actors, actresses and musicians. Venue was the Throne of Grace Headquarter parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God on Sunday the 5th of June 2011. The man of God prayed that God should advertise the artistes and make them great. He advised them that talent and hard work are very good but not enough to achieve success in life saying “You need divine intervention in anything you do especially in the entertainment industry.” He counseled the artistes that they should rather come to God for divine intervention. “If you put your trust in the devil he will disappoint you, but if you trust in the Lord He will bless you and protect you and prosper your ways.” Some of those in attendance were Justus Esiri, Mike Bamiloye and his wife, Wale Adenuga, Dele Odule, Akeem Alimi, Jide Kososko, Segun Arinze, Chief Kanran, Muyiwa Majekodunmi, Pastor Segun Adegbiji, and Evangelist Israel Ore Adewole amongst others.



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Mental Health Foundation: Mental Health, Nation Building, and achieving Millennium Development Goals


ental Health Foundation is a Non Governmental Organization based in Lagos, Nigeria that advocates massive awareness of the mental health of citizenry as it represents a vital integral element of every individual’s overall health and well being. They advocate against stigmatisation and solicit policy reform for the care of people living with mental disorders.

The Foundation in Collaboration with Development Information Center (A Joint Project of the World Bank and UNIC) organized a Workshop and Simulation Dialogue devoted to sensitizing and training of stakeholders and the populace tagged: The Place of Mental Health, in Nation Building, and achieving Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) at the United Nations Information Centre, Ikoyi, Lagos. The speaker at the event was Professor Vincent Anigbogu who gave a brilliant lecture on how the place of mental health is significant in nation building and reaching the Millennium Development Goals. Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Health, Lagos State, Dr. Femi Olugbile also gave a detailed lecture on the plans of the state government to support and implement the growth and awareness of Mental Health in Lagos and Nigeria as a whole. The CEO of Mental Health Foundation, Owoyemi Emmanuel, ended the programme on a note that, a mentally ill person is not only limited to the one with torn clothes, the beggars, penniless, rootless, homeless, those found under bridges, in uncompleted buildings or even wandering about faulting this view of mental illness, saying it is narrow, ‘There are many people that are mentally ill and not psychotic.’ The Mental Health Foundation works assiduously to help everyone prevent and overcome mental disorders, providing adequate information, education, encouragement, and support for people living with either mild or severe mental disorders alongside their family members. JULY 2011



Life & Society FAmily





Burning Calories without Sweating

When ‘communication’ is the gap!.

Growing evidence finds that too much sitting harms your heart’s health. Worse, that damage is not easily undone by jumping

I swept guilt aside and made my way to him, my little bundle of delight. The problem was I hardly heard his coos as my mind went through the sequence of the report I was working on...

Life & Society


re you planning a family holiday?? That’s great, as you most certainly deserve one, not to mention that you’ve earned it... with all your hard work! To ensure you make the most of that well deserved family holiday, there however are a number of things to consider when planning one, and they are as follows: Destination There are loads of interesting and fun places one can go to for a holiday, but depending on the age bracket of the people in your holiday party (group), some destination are less likely to be fun than others. For example, there is no use going on a hiking expedition, when you have a 2 year old toddler or a senior citizen with you... that may turn out to be a tad bit inconvenient. Travel Documents For the likes of us that happen to be Nigerian passport holders, who more often than not require an entry visa to a good number of destinations outside the shores of our great need to first, find out if you require an entry visa to your destination of choice, if so, then find out the visa requirements and then apply for one through the right channel, while fulfilling all the necessary visa requirements. It doesn’t hurt to also check that your International travel passport is still’ll be surprised what goes on at the airports. I know of someone that discovered his passport had expired on the day of travel.... at the airport!! Getting there For those of us that do not yet have our own private jets and still fly commercial, it is important that you book well ahead of time, and also ensure your flight connections are booked as you want them to be, so you don’t wind up sitting in the transit airport for over 15 hours, or even worse, overnight with no option of leaving the airport....believe me, it happens!

Family Holiday! Accommodation To be honest, it is not very ideal to stay over at a relations’ when you are on holiday, especially when you are about 3 or more in number. Depending on the duration of your trip, you may want to consider a hotel, or even a short let apartment (which gives you the feeling of home away from home). This helps to limit your restrictions and also gives you control over your own time. It is always advisable to book well ahead of time, so as to avoid the very common last minute rush, not to mention the disappointments that usually accompany last minute dot com plans. When you book ahead of time, you are more likely to land yourself a very good deal (discount).

Consult with your local travel agent to get one that suites you the most.

Holiday Itinerary It doesn’t hurt to have a planned holiday itinerary, it helps to organize your movement and it lends some sort of structure to your plans. You do not necessarily have to follow it to the ‘T’, but it can serve as a guideline and save you a lot of time, once at the desired destination. Most travel packages come with an outlined itinerary.

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.

Budget For those of us that are budget conscious, then the key word is ‘the earlier the better’, as you are more likely to score really good deals with your ticket and hotel reservations when you book well in advance. There are also different types of holiday packages to be considered to suite your individual budgets. Consult with your local travel agent to get the one that suits your cheque book...or mega vault, as the case may be! Enjoy your more than deserve one!

YMCA (1st Floor), 77 Awolowo Road, South West Ikoyi, Lagos Telephone- +234 1 4613580, 4613581, 0803246068, 08087185643,



JUNE 2011

Life & Society


ctivity is not just about “exercise,” it’s about moving your body more all day long. This type of light activity is essential, whether you’re a card-carrying couch potato or a marathon runner. Growing evidence finds that too much sitting harms your heart’s health. Worse, that damage is not easily undone by jumping on the elliptical trainer for 30 minutes in the morning if you spend the other 23 ½ hours sleeping and sitting. A recent study of 1,579 people found that people whose jobs require more than 6 hours of chair time a day are 68% more likely to wind up overweight than those who sit less. The solution: Stand more. By using these tips you’ll be in motion more all day long. That alone could be enough to help you shed stubborn kilos for good. 1. Limit yourself to one TV show: Watching TV is a great way to unwind. But when it comes to the tube, there’s such a thing as too much downtime. Watching TV burns only slightly more calories than sleeping. Harvard researchers have found that every 2 hours spent watching television increases the likelihood of obesity by 23% and raises your risk of developing diabetes by 14%. Trade 1 hour of TV time for one long walk, and you can slash your obesity risk by 24% and lower your risk of diabetes by 34%. 2. Step it up: There’s a reason an exercise machine called the Stair-Master exists: Taking the stairs is really, really good exercise! In one study, exercise scientists calculated that by taking just two more flights of stairs (up and down) each day, you could burn off 3 kilos in a year. Find excuses to make multiple trips between floors at work (using a restroom on another floor is one way) and at home. 3. Walk the halls at work: When you’re stuck for ideas at work, get up and walk the halls. Stand and stretch during phone calls. Twice a day, get up and walk to talk to a colleague instead of e-mailing. Researchers calculated that if you were to walk across your office building and back to talk to a coworker instead of spending the same 2 minutes e-mailing, you could spare yourself 5 kilos over 10 years - effectively avoiding the “midlife spread.” 4. Stand at your desk: Here’s a very simple move that every office worker can do: Stand up. Sitting at your desk for an hour burns 63 calories. Standing burns 127, twice as many. If

Titilope Oyelade

Burn Calories without Sweating you have a cordless phone, you might even be able to pace a bit, just to get the blood flowing even more. Many workplaces are now offering drafting-style tables and high chairs for office workers, which gives you the option of working on your feet most of the day and sitting down to take breaks (instead of the other way around - standing when you need a break). You’ll be surprised how much more energy you have when you spend your day on your feet rather than in your seat.

takeout place. Because you’re in charge of the ingredients, cook with metabolism-boosting ingredients. Limit takeout and delivery to two meals a week, tops.

5. Get on the ball: Sit on a large stability or Swiss ball while checking e-mail in the evening. It’s an easy way to engage all of your muscles for 15 to 20 minutes. You might even be inspired to do a few stretches and crunches after you log off. 6. Fire the maid and gardener: All those services that you hire to make your life easier can also end up making you heavier. Small daily tasks, like weeding the garden, mowing the lawn, trimming hedges, and cleaning house, can add up to an aerobic workout. In a 2-year study of 230 overweight and inactive men and women, researchers found that those who spent 30 minutes a day raking the lawn, taking the stairs, and walking from far spaces in parking lots achieved the same improvements in fitness, blood pressure, and body fat as those who went to the gym for vigorous exercise 20 to 60 minutes at a time, 5 days a week. 7. Prep yourself slim: Cooking is a great way to burn calories. Slicing, dicing, and braising burns twice as many, in fact, as calling your Chinese

JULY 2011



Life & Society

When ‘communication’ is the gap!. John Igbinovia use Twitter to say a few lines while alternating with Ubertwitter to send multiple tweets. That would save me considerable time. As I sorted that out on my Blackberry and added a few lines to my latest blogspot post, which I promptly pinged across several sites, making sure I had used the right meta tags, I made a mental note of the documents I had to work on for the day. The Wordpress editing would have to wait! I opened a few files and began to work…then looked at the time. 12 noon. I ran off to have breakfast though I wasn’t hungry at all as there were a few things to sort out on Technoratti – but I didn’t want my wife to get upset that I had not eaten all day…again. I grudgingly got into my breakfast then heard the cry of my baby. Gosh! It was 1pm and I was going to see him for the first time today.

The door opened and my wife walked in from work. Gosh, time had flown! Breakfast was on a tray next to me…cold She started to tell me about her day, but I had to cut her off to make a few crucial phone calls, and then reply to the messages on my phone and Yahoo and Hotmail and Gmail and Twitter and Facebook and…


he alarm went off on my Blackberry and I woke up to turn it off. The sun was streaming in through my window as my wife and I prepared for the day. I sat up in bed and started to go through my mail. A quick hug, while my fingers held a button on my PDA, and she was off, while I continued with the message I was working on earlier.

lost in Gmail somewhere along the line.

I got out of the bedroom and walked towards the study to start work for that day, making some tea as I went along. The nanny said good morning, and I replied without looking up as I got a fresh brew of coffee – and then realised I initially wanted to make tea, but I had gotten

Good. I had quite a lot to cover. I went through Facebook quickly, added a few lines to my page, then off I went to Reverbnation to sort out a few things. Drat it! I had almost forgotten to tweet! Now, should I use Snaptu or Twitter directly? Well, I decided I would



What I found extremely annoying was the fact that I still got spam on my yahoo account – the third yahoo account I had – but I guess that is just a hazard that comes with the terrain. As I logged onto Facebook and Hotmail, I looked at the time.

JULY 2011

My point? Most of the time we lie to ourselves about these ‘communication’ tools and ‘aids’ that rob us of relationships and actual communication. In other words, if you don’t put a clamp on this generally accepted addiction, it WILL destroy and ruin you AND the true relationships with the ones who truly matter – God, family and good friends! More articles at:

Living & St yle FASHION








he average man is not taught how to dress. He is not educated on what goes with what and what a ‘fashion no no’ is. Consequently he drifts by with oversized ill fitting suits, combining patterns and wild colours, looking like a fashion clown. The few that manage to put together a decent outfit are clueless about the ‘finishing touch’. Your personal image is important! Your clothes and the way you carry yourself determine whether people take you seriously, recognize your authority or do what you want. This cannot be over emphasized. Your ability and your experience cannot convey your image, your body language and the way you look over-rides your true capabilities; people base their first opinion on how you look. You cannot afford to dress ‘off’ or inappropriate. So let’s talk about what a man should own and also what he ought to know about style and coordination.

Adeola Adegboyega

Men’s Couture JULY 2011



Living & Style SUITS Gentlemen Puhleeze! Say a big fat NO to oversized suits and embrace the fitting ones. I am not talking about super-tight-can’t-raise-hands suits, I mean the ones that make you look gorgeous and draw attention to your build (if present) and accentuates your ‘hot’ features. To select a suit, please put the following things into consideration: Jacket Length should just cover the crotch and sit on the pants. It can hang 1-2 inches longer. Collar should fit snugly against back of neck. It should allow ¼ - ½ inch of shirt collar visible. The body of the jacket should not be overly tight but should allow for some play when the jacket is buttoned. A slight space on the back beside the armhole is fine, allowing for movement. Sleeve should come to the base of palm when arms are at your sides. Shirt cuffs should show ¼ - ½ inch. Pants should sit comfortably on the waist just above the hips. Pleats should not open. If pants are flat front, pockets must not gape (otherwise it’s too tight). Pant length should reach the heel in back or up to ½ inch shorter. Flat front pants should be finished with plaid bottoms. It is very common for arms to be different lengths. Sleeves should be tailored to fit each arm. The younger guys are treating suits more as an integral part of their wardrobe- pairing jackets or pants with less traditional elements for distinctly personal looks. However what works in financial services in major metropolitan areas is not going to fly out in the middle of nowhere. For instance, light blues, green, taupe and beiges one can get away with in the entertainment industry but might not work in financial services where dark solids pinstripes and subtle patterns still hold sway. Ok, now we have the suits sorted out. Let’s address the other issue: accessories. The shirts will come later, be patient.

NECK TIES are of three main types: skinny, slim and standard sizes. The skinny fit is a trendier option and is suited for slimmer silhouettes (If you are shrek-like, you may want to consider another option) and thinner suit lapels. Slim is the one that looks fabulous without the jacket and standard, well, standard is a more traditional and is the oldest one; your dad probably has one. An important factor to consider is to ensure that your tie has a dimple, you are not just well dressed but also stylish. Never stick the thin end or seam (end with the tag) of your tie into your shirt. Get a tie clip. If the knot is bulgy, you have probably tied the wrong method. Learn how to tie a necktie. The necktie knot is a major focal point for you and a bad looking knot will ruin the best and most expensive designer neck tie. Novelty ties have no business around the necks of business men. Bow ties are mainly for evening events, except you are a waiter do not wear bow ties to work. Cravats are for weddings not for the office. TIE CLIPS or Tie Bars are not only stylish but are also practical. Its main use is to keep the tie held firmly down to your shirt avoiding an unkempt appearance by a tie waving around. Plus, the small bling on the metallic bar adds the final finishing touch to your accessorised suit.

SOCKS should be slightly darker than trousers or match. Go for thin fabrics that can be properly ventilated. Remember hygiene. Never wear socks that have holes in them, not because your feet will suffer from the friction, it’s just plain wrong. White socks to work? Are you serious? Guys, please leave the white socks for the gym.

BELTS are leather bands that have a buckle at one end, primarily used to hold up a man’s pants. For men, belts are stylish and practical. Colour should always match the shoes. Buckle can be silver as it works best with navy, blue, black or grey while gold matches brown, olive or other earth colours. Silver buckles are considered dressier. You may want to coordinate the metal colour with your watch. Ornate belt buckles should under no circumstance be worn with a suit! 20


JULY 2011

Living & Style DRESS WATCH is an elegant looking Time piece. Nothing screams amateur like wearing a sports watch with a formal suit. The right watch can add aces to your outfit; the wrong watch can break it completely. Dress watches are either quartz or mechanical, very seldom digital. Stick with the silver chrome watch as it complements most suit colours. If you want to try leather, the colour (black or brown) should complement your belt and shoes. Wearing a red wristwatch strap with brown shoes is a fashion felony. Pocket watches should be appropriately carried in the man’s waistcoat. No waist coat? Strap on a wrist watch.

CUFFLINKS are only ever to be won with French cuffs (double cuffs). The cuffs are folded over and then buttoned with cufflinks studs. They should be partially visible when wearing a jacket. You can show off your personality and match colours with your suit or watch, or just go for designs that spark interest. I do not advice you go for cuff links made from fabric. Not only are they sometimes difficult to match, it radiates very little class. It is all about the bling in cuffs, the fabric just dulls! SHOES should be plain or patent leather. Except you are in the entertainment industries, you may want to tuck your suede away for a casual day. No animal leather (snake, crocodile, tiger, leopard) shoes allowed on a formal wear. You should go green; I don’t mean that literally. Wear solid shoes not something that makes you look like you just stepped out of bed on a Sunday morning, therefore no sneakers and loafers with your suits.

POCKET SQUARES are probably the simplest way of pushing your personal style to the next level. Should pick on colours in the tie, not be dead on match in pattern. The attention that a simple pocket square gets is exponential! However it should compliment what you are wearing not distract it. Loud colours and over the head patterns are not allowed. Women pay great attention to details and the pocket square is a prime example. A pocket square is not a handkerchief. DO NOT use it blow your nose, wipe your face or dry your tears. It is decorative!

COORDINATION So you’ve got all the best suits, shirts, shoes, ties and so on; but can you match them properly? To make a fashion statement, you should match them suitably and draw out the fabulousity in them. Dressing well is about mastering composition, just like painting a picture. The word Coordination comes from the Latin word ‘co’ + ‘ordin’ ‘order’ meaning ‘to arrange in order’. You can use each piece of your attire to create a portrait that can project an image ranging from dull to understated, to inspired to over the top. Basically four elements make a huge difference in your image: Pattern, Colour, Fabric Weight and Fabric Texture. Pattern can be cause for comedy or to give an interesting look. Colour can make your complexion look great or washed out. It can send messages like trustworthy or scream gaudy. Fabric texture can be crucial as to appropriateness of your attire for time or day, or time of the year. Ever seen a man sweating profusely in a suit? Trying to jazz up a formal wear ensemble which you think is boring is usually a mistake, resulting in loud, busy or other discord in classic attire. There CAN be too much matching. Too many patterns and you will assemble a clown. The strongest authoritative professional clothing is not pattern but a solid colour. That’s why men look so elegant and handsome in no pattern, high contrast and only two colour formal wear. It is the safest ensemble. Shirt + Tie+ Suit One of the rules for coordination of a suit, tie and dress shirt is “Two Plains One Fancy” meaning that of the three items- shirt, tie and suit- two of them should always be plain (solid) and the third should be fancy (pattern). For example, if you wear a solid suit and solid shirt, you should not wear a solid tie. Instead select a tie with a pattern. But if you wear a stripped shirt, you should wear a solid tie and solid suit with it. This is good advice when you are first building a wardrobe, but as you get adventurous you can start mixing patterns. A pin stripe suit, a stripe shirt and small patterned tie can look wonderful! You can mix two or more patterns

JULY 2011



Living & Style extension of the tie. One thought borne in mind is that the contrast between the pocket square and other clothing items like the shirt, suit and tie should not be too manifest. Thus a blue and pink pocket square could be worn with a blue or pink tie, but it is advisable that the blue or pink colours show a variance. With regards to fabric, if both the shirt and suit are made of silk, then it would be ok to don a tie and pocket square in the same fabric- silk. However the ultimate decision rests with the user. Some people prefer using a linen pocket square in situations like this so there is a break in the monotony of seeing only silk. I agree. The width of the coat’s lapels, size of the pocket square, fabric and folding technique govern the size of the visible proportion of the pocket square. As always the pocket square is tucked into the left breast pocket of the suit. Basically the theory is that too much visualisation distracts from the total look. Points of interest could be a watch, pocket square, neck tie, blazer buttons, cuff links, fashion glasses, anything that could draw attention to that item. Remember that in business, first impression is of the uttermost importance. Your Briefcase A briefcase is not only supposed to be practical, but it should also match and add a touch of sophistication to your outfit. When choosing a briefcase, here are a few things to consider:

just make sure that some of the colours in each match, and the patterns are not the same size or type. Bright strong patterns should be paired with subtle ones. Dark colours are more formal than light ones. Dark colours make you look slimmer than you actually are. Men with light complexions may opt for colours that are a touch of grey or faded, for instance powder blue shirts, darker men are safe with bright, crisp, clear, rich colours that pop out, like navy blue shirts. One of the three elements should be light and the other two dark. For instance, a charcoal suit (dark), white shirt (light) and red tie (dark) will do well for formal environment. The tie should always be darker than the shirt. A navy suit and white shirt works well with every skin colour. Heavier fabrics are worn during winter but if you are in the tropical side of the world, you may want to keep the fabric light to medium in weight (cotton, linen). These kinds create an impression of a slimmer body. You can use the quality and roughness or smoothness in fabrics to help coordinate your



attire and present the appropriate image. Smooth parallels give an impression of authority and power but you can be too smooth or slick projecting a cold, elusive, distrustful appearance. Rough textures parallel lighter colours, projecting an accessible and friendlier image. Silk ties are dressier than wool, smooth suit fabrics are dressier than tweed. You can contrast smooth with rough or match smooth with smooth, rough with rough. Think about the situation you are in and your image when you choose clothes. You don’t always want to project a powerful authority image. Sometimes you want to appear friendly, ‘let’s work together’ person. Pocket Square + Tie The pocket square is required to match the tie as far as colour is concerned; however, there should be a certain level of contrast. The key here is that the pocket square should complement the tie, rather than completely match it. This subtle difference ensures that the pocket square retains its unique personality and does not become an

JULY 2011

Size: If you chose a large briefcase, it will not imply that you are important, it would say “look everyone how much work I have to carry around” or “my laptop is too large that I need this huge bag to carry it around with me”. Choose a briefcase that is small and practical. Material: In most cases leather is the best choice. Aluminium and other metals were in style in the early 90s therefore they are out! There are really impressive leather options to choose from. Function: If it rains frequently where you stay, you should opt for water resistant briefcases Colour: Black leather is best if you wear black shoes and belt. If you have extra money to spend, also buy a brown one to match your brown shoes and belt. Adeola, a former Editorial Assistant with TIMELESS is a freelance writer and blogger who writes about beauty, food recipes, fashion, leisure, home care, relationships, health and well being for various publications. She earned a Bachelors degree of Science from the University of Lagos and is presently undergoing a Postgraduate Course in Journalism. She is a fashionista at heart, huge Broadway and Bollywood fan, enthused about the fun things in life and a sucker for shoes! She loves singing and acting but her love for writing trumps all other hobbies.

Business FINANCE






Seun Onanuga

Doing Business in Hard Paces Companies can send in their articles for publication on these pages. To participate call 01-4358330, SMS 08026861642 or email



ost entrepreneurs, if they had been pre-informed about the many ugly sides of the corporate world, would probably not have ventured there at all. And even if peradventure they were able to summon enough courage in spite of fear, they would have sought to be better equipped before setting out. But more often than not, many people, too naïve and ill-equipped, enter into business only to quit too soon because they went in with the wrong kind of mindset. Many times, people enter into business expecting that everything will always be rosy. They probably were told, “Get a good idea, package it well, sell it and all the money will come rolling in!” But no sooner had they begun their marketing plans than they realised that it was an entirely different ball game. There is no doubt that the best way to succeed in business is to approach it with the right mindset. The way you begin always determines the way you end. A notable proverb says to be forewarned is to be forearmed. Entering into the business world usually entails more than having enough capital, skills and competent staff, it entails working with a certain kind of mindset, especially in the face of stiff competition. When you enter into the business world with your idea, innovation, service or product, the first thing you need to do is to convince people to appreciate it and then buy it. This could sometimes be very difficult, but you will have to be persistent. People will always prove to be sceptical but your doggedness could convince them. If you must get customers to patronise you so that you can gain a fair share of the market then you must be ready to work really, really hard. One thing that could become a setback for you as a fresh entrepreneur is hurrying into business without much circumspection. Maybe you have been told, “When you enter into the business world, just stay focused and mind your own business,” or perhaps the business world has been described as a haven and you have already begun to develop an easy-easy mindset. Hey, you need to look again! You see those guys dressed up in suits, ties and well polished shoes who call themselves CEOs; you think they’re as cool as their attires portray them, don’t you? But believe me those guys are real soldiers; they are dogged, militant, and they think warfare in the most strategic manner. If you must have



an upper hand in business, you must be well equipped. Of course, this lesson may not apply to you if you just want to do business at a level where competition is minimal, but if you must take you business idea into the thickest regions of the market then you must do away with the idea of “minding your own business;” you must begin to mind other people’s businesses as well. When you enter into any competitive business environment, keep it at the back of your mind that you are in warfare. There are tens or hundreds of people who are competing with you for the same market. Normally, every industry feeds on capital and grows on market, and in the process of trying to increase the prospects of one company, some other companies may end up being affected adversely. This is a usual occurrence in business. I want to assume that you must have come across words like close down, pack up, liquidation, bankruptcy and so on? Where do you think all those words come from? They are really dreadful words and I guess you don’t want your company to experience such things. But the truth is these are the things that happen to companies all over the world year in, year out. Now, if you do not want your own organisation to experience any of those things, then you must understand early enough that you are in a battle field and not in a relaxation centre. If business is already becoming like paradise to you, then you need to readjust and begin to sit up tight. Those who experienced bankruptcy never thought it would happen to them. Many of them were probably at the most prosperous stages in their business when they suddenly came crashing down. The major reason for this is complacency, and that is why you have to always be on guard. When you enter into business prepare for disappointments as well. Things will not always work as expected but you must be persistent. Develop a never-say-die attitude. Go and find out about the history of the most successful corporations in the world. None of them achieved success on a platter of gold, and your case will not be different. You will also pass through the hard process. The only way you can succeed in a competitive environment is to remove all the rosy-rosy ideas that you have already conceived about business and put on the mindset of warfare. Develop attitudes of courage, zeal, persistence and determination.

JULY 2011

Seek to develop a competitive attitude and always remember that nothing can take the place of persistence. The next thing you need to do is to build an armoury around yourself. You need to acquire weapons for financial warfare. These are the things with which you will be able to record good success in business. When I say financial warfare, I do not mean planting bombs in other people’s companies or hiring armed men to assassinate your fellow CEOs. You should establish your company so well and promote your products and services so much that your customers will continue to remain loyal to you. Besides, the weapons of financial warfare are actually not supposed to be destructive; they are supposed to be constructive. They are simple and are not intended to generate crisis with the environment. Business wars are very essential for the economic and technological advancement of any country. The weapons of financial warfare include capital and technological superiority, secrecy, customisation, expansion, sponsorship and advertising and the use of disruptive technologies, and we will discuss them one after the other. Capital Accumulation Companies with huge capital base usually have an advantage over others because they have better opportunity to buy raw materials and machineries. They also have better opportunities for advertising and implementing certain new technologies that would enhance their level of productivity. There are thousands of giants companies all over the world today and all of them are ranked based on the size of their capital base. If you have a desire to compete globally, then you definitely have a lot of work to do. The richest CEO in the world today has a net worth of over $62 billion. That sounds quite unbeatable, and it’s likely you may not want to go through all the stress. The bottom line however, is that you should endeavour to always fortify your capital base by reinvesting constantly instead of mismanaging your profits. Technological Superiority Just as an army with more sophisticated weaponry usually stand a better chance of winning a war, a company with more sophisticated equipments, machineries and better technologies will also have an advantage over others. The world today is in a state of constant evolution. New and more effective ways of doing things are being introduced.

Business one litre of juice but if you decide to come up with a 30cl pack, you will be able gain the low income earners to yourChukwuemeka side. Your duty Jude is to therefore ensure that you are able to meet every consumer’s need by putting their differences into consideration. Expansion Expansion is another major strategy that giant companies use to conquer the business world. By establishing various branches of their companies all over the world, they make themselves open to earning income from all angles. If you also want to gain pre-eminence the business world, you have to do away with the ideas of operating from just one spot; you have to think of expansion. Have big dreams! Beginning from the city where you live, spread gradually through the different states within your country until you begin to go international. Advertisement Advertising is one of the most powerful tools in business today. The effect of adverts is such that they determine what should be accepted in the market and what should not. The most powerful companies in the world today spend huge millions of dollar on advertising. Apart from advertising, they also brand gift items and make them available for customers to pick freely and they sponsor major events. In so doing, they register their products and services in the minds of people.

This is why you have to always be in touch with technological trends. Making use of upto-the-minute technologies will make business activities faster, more efficient and more productive for you, and when customers see that you are faster and more efficient, they’ll come trooping in. Secrecy The most successful companies of today’s world have continued to remain on the cutting edge because they have secrets that are peculiar to their trademark. The reason why some food companies will do better than some others is that they employ the use of certain ingredients or equipments that others do not know about. The reason why some textile companies are more successful than others is that they make use of certain technologies that make their own fabrics last longer. Secrecy

is a keyword in business and CEOs hardly let out their companies’ secrets. If you also want to be on the cutting edge, then you need to discover your own secrets. Carry out research. Discover ideas, equipments or methods of production that can also make your products stand out from the rest. This is your sure way to becoming indomitable. Customisation Customisation is another very powerful weapon of financial warfare that will help you compete successfully, especially in the manufacturing and service sectors. Customisation, as opposed to standardisation, is a method of production in which the output is usually based on customer requirement. The principle of customisation is based on the fact that consumers are diverse with respect to age, sex, financial status and needs. For instance, not everybody can afford

Disruptive Technologies A disruptive technology is any idea or technology that renders previous ones obsolete. One of the reasons why some emerging companies find it easy to record success despite the presence of well established ones is that they make use of disruptive technologies. There could be times when you will find it quite difficult to penetrate the market. At such times, you should not give up. All you need to do is take out time to think. What new and more efficient concept or idea do you think you can come up it? That new idea will serve as your own time bomb. It will blow up every obstacle preventing you as soon as you release it. This explains why you need to always brainstorm as often as possible in order to generate new ideas. Seun Onanuga, an Engineering graduate of the University of Lagos and a published author is a former Editorial Assistant with Timeless.

JULY 2011




Does Your Passion Match Your Aspiration? Rosabeth Moss Kanter


eaders who create extraordinary new possibilities are passionate about their mission and tenacious in pursuit of it. Many people have good ideas, but many fewer are willing to put themselves on the line for them. Passion separates good intentions and opportunism from real accomplishments. Dr. Donald Berwick, my colleague and friend, was nominated last year by President Obama to head Medicare and Medicaid. Originally a paediatrician, Don Berwick passionately wanted to improve health outcomes for patients. He envisioned applying TQM (Total Quality Management) tools from manufacturing to health care. Entrenched interests with closed doors and minds didn’t deter him. Eventually, through the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, the small organization he founded, he reached thousands of hospitals, hundreds of thousands of practitioners, and millions of patients over two decades.

your aspirations, try these 12 questions. 1. Do I feel strongly about the need for this? 2. Does the idea fit my long-held beliefs, values, and convictions? 3. Have I dreamed about something like this for a long time? 4. Do I think that this is vital for the future of people I care about? 5. Do I get excited when I think about it, and convey excitement when I talk about it? 6. Am I convinced that this can be accomplished? 7. Am I willing to put my credibility on the line to promise action on it?

Don knew this would be a long journey against hardened resistance but never veered off course. Now, as the Administrator of the Centres for Medicare and Medicaid Services, he can guide an entire huge system — a high proportion of the U.S. economy — toward better health at lower cost, zero defects, and more lives saved. He exudes not just vision but personal passion for the cause.

8. Am I willing to spend time to sell it to others who might not understand or support it?

Energy entrepreneur and green innovator Jim Gordon is equally passionate about Cape Wind. For 10 years Gordon has been fighting to get the permits for America’s first offshore wind power generator and the world’s largest offshore wind farm. In May 2010, he got the final approval and with the approval, a new source of power for the most densely populated region of North America will happen because Jim Gordon’s passion matched his aspiration.

10. Am I willing to devote personal time, above and beyond organizational time, to see that this happens?

Are you the next Don Berwick or Jim Gordon? Or perhaps you’re more like the executive who interviewed for a staff member “to do my part to make the world a better place.”

12. Am I committed to seeing this through, over the long haul?

To determine whether your passion matches 26


success, but without it, the journey can’t even begin.

9. Can I make this the major focus of my activities?

11. Do I feel strongly enough to ignore negativity and fight for this?

Passing the passion test is doesn’t guarantee

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Rosabeth Moss Kanter holds the Ernest L. Arbuckle Professorship at Harvard Business School, where she specializes in strategy, innovation, and leadership for change. Her strategic and practical insights have guided leaders of large and small organizations worldwide for over 25 years, through teaching, writing, and direct consultation to major corporations and governments. The former Editor of Harvard Business Review (19891992), Professor Kanter has been repeatedly named to lists of the “50 most powerful women in the world” (Times of London), and the “50 most influential business thinkers in the world” (Accenture and Thinkers 50 research).

This edition we will be talking about Coping with Examinations. Children sometimes have difficulty coping with examinations and tests. Sometimes a child could start complaining of headaches or stomach upsets. At the extreme, the child might start to run a fever. These feelings of stress can be quite real. A child could be so anxious about coming tests or examinations that she can start to manifest her emotional state of unrest by being physically ill. Anyone can experience what is more commonly known as Exam Fever. Usually the fear of the examinations is based on the fear of failing. The fear of failing is heightened by the consequences of the failure. For children the consequences include parents’ recriminations and a loss of self esteem. It becomes important as a parent to assist your child in coping with the possible stress that can become associated with the examinations. Make a Timetable A good way to assist your child during this time is by making a revision timetable. This timetable should give your child plenty of time to revise all the subjects studied at school. Put up the timetable in a visible location. Work out your child’s schedule. All other activities including household chores should be reduced. Remember to leave times for breaks. Make Peace During the preparation period, ensure your child has some time to study daily. Work to make the time peaceful and quiet. Keep siblings away if they do not have examinations coming up as well. Prevent frequent interruptions. Keep your child away from background noises like the television or radio. Help your child to avoid incessant chatter.

the allocated time cracking a difficult question when there are easier ones that could guarantee good marks at the shortest time. Don’t Rush out Encourage your child to sit still and review the papers after finishing. One review can help to take care of a lot of errors especially mistakes in calculations and simple grammatical slips. Review with Friends A healthy analysis with friends after examinations is customary. However teach your child not to go into a question by question review. This can raise anxiety and may not be entirely useful. Enjoin your child to leave the marking and corrections to the teachers. Perspective Exams can leave your child or anyone for that matter feeling like the examination is the whole world. Sometimes the examination can seem at that point like it is the whole world. In some cases it literally can affect someone’s whole life. In reality at these ages, it rarely is the whole world. It is important for you to help your child put things in perspective. Remember to keep things in perspective too. Enjoy your child.

Be Early During exam periods do whatever it takes to beat the traffic. Try to ensure your child gets to school early, so your child is not feeling rushed. It is also a good idea to leave time enough for your child to be able to review his work and go through his books one last time before the examinations if he so desires. Start Early Help your child to start revisions early. This is a very helpful habit that is bound to reduce the feelings of pressure and anxiety. The Examinations are not looming close and the child is able to work without undue pressure. A great habit to help your child cultivate is constant revision and practise of all work from the beginning of term. Easy First A tried tested and trusted tip to teach your child is the “Deal with the easy question first” rule. Teach your child in all examinations to always answer the easy questions first. Encourage your child to skip the difficult questions and go back to the difficult questions later if time permits. That way your child does not waste does not waste all

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



JULY 2011



activities for Preschool Children from Age 2-5



Circle the pictures that start with the letter B.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 There are _____ bees around the hive.

Then _____ more bees fly to the hive.

Now there are ___ bees around the hive!








Counting Label 10 index cards with numerals 1-10 (or 10-20 whatever level suits your child). On the back of each card stick on the appropriate number of stickers, i.e., 6 stickers on back of the card labelled “6.” Provide a supply of counters that are small enough to barely cover the stickers. You can use transparent plastic bingo markers in different colours, but you could also use beads, beans etc. Have the child 1) place a card numeral side up, 2) count out the correct number of counters, 3) turn the card over and match up counters & stickers in one-to-one correspondence. This is a self checking activity. If the stickers and counters don’t match up something is wrong. He can repeat with additional cards until bored, or have a “rule” like “choose and do 4 cards then stop.”

Toothpick Punched Art. Layer a folded tea towel or face cloth, blank ½ sheet of black construction paper, ½ sheet of paper with simple “pattern” (heart, star, circle, square, etc.) drawn in heavy black marker (or print from computer). Layer so that towel is on table, pattern sheet is on top. Provide tooth pick and tell child to poke holes in the white pattern paper along the edges of the heart (circle, star, etc.). When done he’ll like to hold his black punched piece up to the window to see the shape he made. Put lots of pattern pieces, lots of black construction pages and one face cloth in the activity bag along with 2 wooden clothes pins to hold the “sandwich” together while the child worked. He’d pick a different shape each time. Display the results by taping the black punched pages on the sliding glass door (sun shines through the holes). JULY 2011



JULY 2011



God’s Love


Folake Oluwole

Insights for Christian Living


ast year December to be precise, I was invited by my youngest child’s school to speak briefly, in 15 minutes on the very broad but deep topic - Love. Love is probably one of the most over used descriptive word in relationships, especially in the Christian world. However, for us to understand and appreciate Love we need to go back to the source i.e. the origin of Love which is God’s Love. There are various descriptions of love such as • Affectionate Love which is a strong feeling of deep affection or care, usually towards a family member or friend. • Romantic Love - to show strong emotions towards someone usually the opposite sex. Ideally it should be the opposite sex. Am particularly emphatic about this point because of the “so called freedom of expression” which the western world has filtered into our supposedly valued culture, encouraging romantic relationships between individuals of the same gender. • Enjoyment Love – a strong feeling of pleasure or fun. • Compassionate Love – having a deep conviction to meet the needs of someone or group of people such as the less privileged. This brings me to the ultimate source of love which is God’s Love. It is a deep, strong not superficial or perceived or imagined type of love. God’s Love is real. Love basically is not static. It needs to be nurtured, developed and maintained just like any living thing. Love can die if not properly cared for. How do we show Love to God? Same way we teach our children to love us and in return

our children confirm or prove their love by being obedient to our teachings, by honouring us. We can confidently say that God’s Love is obedience to his teachings. Deuteronomy chapter 28 tells us all about obedience to God’s words and the rewards i.e. blessings if we are willing to do what we are asked or instructed to do. Trusting God is another way of showing God that we truly love him. How do you teach your child to trust you and God? By being consistent and faithful. As a parent you need to be consistent in your words, ways and actions. Our God is faithful and consistently constant in actions and words. Staying disciplined is another act of love towards our Heavenly Father. Discipline is the ability to manage one’s emotions, utterances and behaviour at all times. Our style of training and counselling should be corrective towards our children and others, just like our Father’s teachings and training are corrective.

giving up his only begotten son Jesus Christ, who paid the ultimate price on the cross of Calvary. This divine and unique, “out of this world” expression of love will not allow us to be consumed by the difficulties and challenges we face. Rather it prepares and propels us into our destinies. Above all, we can express genuine love for God by showing love for others in our immediate environment just as Christ loved the church. Unconditional love also known as Agape love is the greatest of all. The Bible tells us that even if we have all the knowledge of this world, or faith that moves mountains, we are nothing without the love of God. And we can find the perfect definition of God’s love in Corinthians 13.

Having confidence in the words of God, just as we are expected to have confidence in the values and teachings imparted on our children, is telling God and everyone else that you love God, and trust Him to perfect all concerning you and yours. You cannot love or show God’s love if you are not forgiving. Forgiveness is the willingness to stop feeling angry with somebody who has provoked, harmed or hurt your feelings. It’s also to stop feeling angry with oneself and most importantly, to forget the episode or experience as if it never happened. God has shown us the greatest love of all by

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 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.



JULY 2011


& Culture

books movies music theatre photography exhibitions architecture

Title: “KJB - The Book that Changed the World” Genre: Culture & Society Release Date: April, 2011 Studio: Lionsgate Format: DVD Ages: 12+ By Mai Nasara

KJB - The Book that Changed the World” is a 90-minute Drama Documentary about the translation of the King James Bible. Narrator John RhysDavies leads us back, through landmarks and relics, into a darker time to discover and savour a tale of saints and sinners, power and passion. The greatest translation of the Bible ever, it burst onto the stage to upstage things in a world and culture that would never remain the same again. According to Christiancinema. com, “This fantastic DVD features great c i n e m a t o g r a p h y, shots inside beautiful churches and in the country, re-enactments of events of the sixteenth century, a remarkable host in John Rhys-Davies with his booming voice, and the scholarly mini-lectures

of expert scholars. This intriguing documentary will inform and educate and each viewer will have a whole new appreciation of the King James Bible after viewing it.” There is simply so much history to learn here: the events leading up to the crowning of King James; various events of the time (rendered by expert scholars such as Dr. William Storrar, Professor Carl Trueman, Dr. Ashley Null, Professor William G. Naphy and others); about King James, the man who believed God guided him and who was born a Catholic but became a Protestant; the background of the making and printing of the Bible, as well as the story of a schism which nearly resulted in the loss of lives. The screenplay was written by Norman Stone (who is also director and producer) and Murray Watts. The film premiered in November 2010. John Rhys-Davies (known best for his role as Gimli the Dwarf in the “Lord of the Rings” Trilogy and in “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark”) is the narrator of the docudrama. King James was played by Andrew Rothney, outstanding in a play adaptation of one of the oldest pieces of literature in known existence, the “Epic of Gilgamesh”, a 4,000year old Sumerian tale. “KJB - The Book that Changed the World” is a fantastically beautiful and excellent film which demonstrates, in vivid Technicolor, the credibility and integrity of the Bible as the record of the veritable word of the God of the Judeo-Christian revelation.

JULY 2011




“A” Level Goats! Omololu Okuboyejo

Alake stretched his arms and yawned. He was fully awake now. Sun rays streamed in through the crack in the wooden panel above his head. He looked out through another opening to his right. It looked like the morning was far gone. He must have slept like a log. But of course; you couldn’t have eaten like he did yesterday and not be knocked out! Memories of the binge he had the previous day flooded his mind. A smile of contentment lit up his visage. It was great. Very much unlike the day before when he’d

had to work his butt off pounding the streets in search of even a bite. He’d never had such a breakthrough before in his life. What a miracle! What abundance of food! He had walked smack into it as he turned the corner of Main Street. And there was not a soul in sight to challenge him. He just settled down and feted himself to the most bounteous feast he’d ever had. The way he saw it, nothing should stop him from enjoying the same experience of sheer culinary delight today. He’ll take his time to stroll down there, no hurry, no worry. No one will disturb him. And he’ll just settle down

there again and fete himself. In fact, life could just go on like this forever. The thought made him to begin to salivate. Boy oh boy, he thought to himself, Alake got no worries. Too true, Alake has no worries – you see, Alake is just a goat, an ordinary goat! In WAEC parlance, the ordinary is shortened to “O” Level. So Alake is an “O” Level goat – because he lives to eat! Now are you like Alake, without purpose, seeking for what to eat, and therefore

an “A” Level goat? That’s what working to survive, working to make ends meet, even working to ‘make it’ makes a person: an “A” Level goat! Let’s face it, the pursuit of men is after money! Whether you aggrandize it as wealth or riches, it boils down to one thing: material possessions. After all, what do you use the money you make for? Is it not to acquire things? Things – whether high-falluting state of the earth technological innovations for further increase of your wealth or for pleasure, they are things, objects, irrespective of the value you place on them. So

you run up and down, wake up and set out for work as early as 5.30 in the wee hours of the day, toil and return home as late as 10 in the evening just so you can make some money to acquire things! Sounds pitiable, don’t you think? Or on the other hand, you lie, scheme, cheat, manipulate, dupe and even kill just so you can make some ‘quick’ bucks! And just so you can acquire things! More is the pity because most folks don’t get to have these things they so toil and struggle for! I often wonder how men so conveniently forget that a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions! It is quite possible that a sizeable chunk of humanity is ignorant of this timeless observation, so we can excuse their ignorant pursuit of money. Shall we also excuse the ignorance of men, of this timeless question as well: what shall it profit a man if he gains the whole wide world and loses his soul? The two unambiguously make it clear that money or its variants are not as important as men’s frenzied and frenetic pursuit of it would suggest. Placing Alake on the same scale with men in their pursuit of what to eat, what to buy or own, throws up a very disturbing parallel: both are devoid of purpose! And that’s most saddening. I mean, there’s got to be more to life than all the material things denominated in money that the sons of men run after! Don’t you think? Wouldn’t it be great discovering your purpose on planet earth? I wager that it’d be even greater fun fulfilling it. Did you say yes? Then welcome to this journey of discovery and transformation! Omololu Okuboyejo, an editorial consultant and publisher as well as a personal transformation coach can be contacted via: Tel. +234803 820 4157. Email:

JULY 2011




So, you want to change the world? Give her children room to read Adeleke Adeyemi

One vision for world change, 10 years of impact.” And he’s just getting started. Thirteen years after it all began, he’s still dreaming “in dozens of languages”. He would grin still, talking about his motivation for doing it. “It’s about meaning,” he’s likely to say. In April 1998, standing at a critical juncture in his life, after he had put in seven fast-paced, energy-driven years at Microsoft, he had something akin to a religious experience. It was an era when technology roared ahead silently, bearing galloping dividends on its patently profitable path. Working 24/7, he had 75 people reporting to him. Then a bug bit him, hard: an overriding need to “get away.” Then a handy travel brochure beamed out the beauty of the Annapurna circuit in the Himalayan country of Nepal. It seemed the ideal getaway. It proved to be the gateway into a new life. It had found him out. There on the hiking trail was where it happened. “I know, ‘epiphany’ is an overused word,” he offers gingerly. But it happened nonetheless that on the second day of his trek, “trudging through ShangriLa,” as he puts it so tellingly, he stumbled on a state of unacceptable poverty of what fits his definition of life; it immediately struck his open heart and registered in his bristling mind that this was the opportunity he had been looking for all his life. “[It] struck me…when the headmaster showed me their “library.” They had no desks, no chairs, no shelves—and no books. He then spoke a sentence that would forever change my adult life: ‘Perhaps, sir, you will someday come back with books.’ John didn’t know he would have to leave Microsoft to fill that request. Or that his quest would turn out to be globe-spanning: changing the world, one – reading – child at a time. But we should carry on from the beginning. And John says it best: “A very simple statement, but it hit me hard. I’d had the good fortune to grow up in a household that valued reading, and my own family had used education as a ticket out of poverty. I’d made a decent amount of money at a young age, and I thought, I can get 500 or 1,000 books and help give these kids an education.” Once he got back to the capital, Kathmandu, his first stop was a cybercafé. The e-mail he fired off to friends around the world packed arguably the most punch ever into a four-letter word: H-e-l-p. “I thought maybe we would get a couple of hundred books. But 3,000 arrived in the first month, and by



early [1999] the book drive was a wild success.” By then he had become Head of Business Development, calling the shots from Beijing, from where he oversaw Microsoft’s Greater China Region. “On the first anniversary of the trek, I went back with my 73-year-old father, my new unpaid volunteer and 3,000 books on the backs of six rented donkeys (on future trips, I’d upgrade to yaks: longhaired oxen native to these parts).” They toured 10 schools; the torrent of emotions was a tsunami. “When the kids saw the books, they started grabbing them wildly, it was like a mosh pit and they would then sit calmly reading to each other with these huge smiles on their faces. Nothing had ever felt better to me.” That night, John Wood, aged 35, sat down with his father around a question: “Is this enough? There are hundreds of thousands of villages across the world in this situation.” It was great to do 10 libraries, but wasn’t that a drop in the ocean? “I know there was something ticking inside me, telling me that Microsoft probably wasn’t my future.” Returning to Beijing, he could think of no better good to do himself than to quit. “I left one of the world’s best-known companies to start an organisation that had zero-brand recognition and no capital; just my passion and energy.” He began an organization – Room to Read – that started life working with rural communities in Nepal in 2000. Objective: To build schools and establish libraries in Nepal, or so John Wood had thought rather naïvely. The organisation’s geographic reach would expand rapidly as significant needs and opportunities came under the radar: Vietnam (2001; it brought about the change in name from the original ‘Books for Nepal’), Cambodia (2002) and India (2003). The devastating tsunami of December 2004 proved to be the catalyst John needed to take the work into Sri Lanka, to be followed soon by Laos. In 2006, expansion into Room to Read’s second continent was bottom up, literally. From South Africa, John and his team worked their way up in Africa to Zambia (2007). But it was back to Asia in 2008 when operations took off in Bangladesh; programmes commenced the following year. Next: incursions into Latin America.

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Room to Read’s philosophy is to intervene early in the lives of children, from the belief that education empowers people to improve socioeconomic conditions for their families, communities, countries and future generations. Through the opportunities that only education can provide, the objective is “to break the cycle of poverty, one child at a time”. John has woven together proven corporate business practices with a monocultural goal: to provide educational access to children in the developing world. His novel approach to non-profit management calls for indices like: scalable, measured, sustainable results; low-overhead, allowing maximum investment in educational infrastructure; challenge grants; fostering community ownership and sustainability, and strong local staff and partnerships for creating culturally relevant programmes, listed below: • School Room: partnering with villages to build schools. • Reading Room: establishing bi-lingual libraries and fill them with donated English books and local language books purchased in-country or self-published, creating a colorful space with posters, games, furniture, and flooring. • Local Language Publishing: sourcing new content from local writers and illustrators and publishing high-quality local language children’s books to distribute throughout our networks. John Wood: “Because we want kids to be able to read and write in their mother tongues [as well as] in English.” • Computer Labs: unlocking opportunity inherent in technology, with life-changing potential for students. Computers provide core job skills and pre-vocational training in Information Technology for disadvantaged, at-risk youth populations. What’s more, computer use helps reduce drop-out rates by providing an incentive for students to stay in school. • Girls’ Education: funding long-term girls’ scholarships for young girls who would otherwise not have access to an education. Room to Read’s sometime overall goal is to help 10 million children gain an education. “That’s the key to breaking the cycle of poverty. Education is a hand up, not a handout. We’ve built an organisation that applies business principles to philanthropy, including the principle of scale. If a business opens an outlet every time it sees an opportunity, why can’t an education organisation?” To build schools, Room to Read uses volunteer but requisite parental labour. It’s rather very straightfor-

Podium ward: “If you want a school in your village we’ll help you, but you have to roll up your sleeves and dig the foundation and carry the cement yourself.” Incredibly data- and performance-driven, Room to Read has so far constructed (from scratch) some 1,442 schools, established over 11,246 libraries, published 553 new local language children’s titles representing over 4.1million books, donated over 9.4 million English language children’s books, funded 10,590 long-term girls’ scholarships, set up hundreds of computer and language labs. Since inception in 2000, Room to Read has directly impacted the lives of over 5.1 million children in the developing world!

has been selected for several honours, including the Draper Richards Foundation Fellowship, the Young Global Leader award from the World Economic Forum, and Time Magazine’s Asia’s Heroes Award. (A Room to Read Board Member, Dambisa Moyo, a Zambian, has been on TIME Magazine’s World’s Most Influential People list.) Expansion plans are always in view for Room to Read. But then the statistics are no less glaring: more than 770 million illiterate adults in the world, two-thirds of whom are women and girls; over 100 million children not currently enrolled in primary school and millions of others not currently in secondary school and, according to UNESCO, over 250 million more will never have the opportunity

what a lot of people go through. I was prosperous, but what was the purpose? As a kid, I always wanted to have money, but once I had more than enough, I had to figure out what to do with my good fortune. I was searching for meaning. Room to Read has brought that.” In August, 2006 John Wood released a memoir, Leaving Microsoft to Change the World: An Entrepreneur’s Odyssey to Educate the World’s Children. Described by early Room to Read supporter Marc Andreessen (cofounder of Internet pioneer Netscape Communications) as “a spellbinding tale of...transformation....[John’s story] is one-third business saga, one-third world travelogue, and one-third human drama—a 100% great book by a 100% great guy”, it was chosen by as one of the Top Ten Business Narratives of the year. Although John is happy with what has been accomplished so far, he cannot keep from complaining: “But it’s just the tip of the iceberg! There are 100 million children worldwide not enrolled in primary school, and nearly 800 million illiterate people in the developing world. I’d like to catalyze the biggest build-out of educational infrastructure in the history of the developing world. The human spirit and this amazing device called the brain will allow people to break the cycle of poverty, within one generation, if kids grow up with books and schools. In the greatest era of wealth creation in human history, can’t we reach deep, and give those kids that amazing opportunity?” When infotech icon Steve Jobs went in quest of the fellow—John Sculley—he was sure he needed to re-turn his Apple cart onto the path of sustainable and galloping success, he would not have imagined that another of the tribe would come to bite the trick rhetoric he so successfully used as bait.

Hiring at Room to Read is decidedly local; staffs work with a vested interest in their nation’s educational progress. Empowered, they then make key programmatic decisions within their country. Already familiar with the language, conditions, customs, they understand the governmental factor and specific needs of the educational system and can therefore work to ensure the crafting of new solutions to existing problems. Room to Read’s work has been acknowledged with several distinguished awards. These include The Fast Company/Monitor Group Social Capitalist Award, the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, and the Sand Hill Group Foundation’s Social Entrepreneurship Award. In addition to these organisational awards, Founder and CEO John Wood

to attend secondary school. Room to Read therefore sees its educational programmes as meeting an emergency on a global scale. It combines, with textbook precision, the best of private and public sector management in order to become the global educational development organisation of choice. Room to Read’s leadership team comprises veterans of highly respected corporations like Goldman Sachs, Gap, Microsoft and Unilever, along with former managers from CARE, The Nature Conservancy and the World Health Organisation; they have worked in overseas locations as far apart as Kuwait and Mongolia and South Korea. Meanwhile, the poser remains: ‘Why did he do it?’ Hear John: “When I started out, I was going through

However, instead of “sugared water” that’s applicable to the high-flying president of Pepsico Corporation, it’s Microsoft and ‘branded codes’ for John Wood. But the question, gloriously rhetorical in all its dare, remains the same: “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling…or do you want a chance to change the world?” The world just had to make room for a marathon runner consummate corporate player. Microsoft’s famed Campus had become too cramped and John’s zeal, driven by knowledge of his niche, was turning his attention him elsewhere. Perhaps we can get him to stop globe-trotting long enough to make room on the mantelpiece in his rented bachelor’s apartment for a little “karmic payback”: a Nobel Peace Prize pendant, in due recognition of the vision that enabled him build a room big enough for a Third World-spanning army of new reading children ready (and eager) for the everyday chore of changing the world.

JULY 2011



Random Musings with Ayodeji Jeremiah


ome years ago, there was lot of brouhaha over the consecration of a homosexual bishop (I refuse to call them ‘gay’ because there is nothing gay about homosexuality) in the Anglican Communion of the United States. With the exception of the Coalition of African Bishops of that church, there was not what you might call effective opposition to the installation of the bishop in question. Opposition from the headquarters of the church in England was feeble and somewhat guarded. Nowadays, there is no big deal it seems about homosexual priests. Twenty years ago, something like that would not have been thought of not to even talk of it now actually happening. Nowadays, it is common to regularly boot out of office politicians who are considered hostile and inimical to the interests of the homosexual community in Europe and the United States. Homosexual rights are now considered same as civil rights. It is argued generally that homosexuals cannot help themselves because that’s just the way they are and were born. If we are to bring the issue of genetics into every abnormal behaviour (because there is nothing normal about two members of the same sex having a sexual relationship), then maybe there is also a gene for paedophilia, one for stealing, one for adultery, one for pride, one for anger, and one for fornication and for every kind of immorality that you can think of. Homosexuality (or lesbianism) is wrong. Period. It is against the natural framework that God has put in place. It goes against the grain of humanity. It is not something new. It has always been with us. In the Bible, we read the story of the visitors (they were actually angels) that went to visit Lot, Abraham’s nephew. The men of Sodom and Gomorrah went up to Lot and told him to bring his visitors out that they might sleep with them. Lot begged them and even went on to offer them his own two daughters. They refused. Not long afterward, Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed (Genesis 19:1-24). Paul in his epistle to the Romans (Romans 1:18-32)



talks of men exchanging natural relations for the unnatural. What has however happened over the years is that something that used to be looked upon with scorn, something that used to be condemned is now seen as no big deal. People now openly profess to be homosexuals. It is now a fad. They even went on to invent a new name for it. Homosexuals or lesbians are now called gays. Calling someone a homosexual nowadays is like calling an African-American a ‘nigger’. You know African-Americans used to be called black Americans but the word black was considered offensive. That is exactly how it is now with homosexuals. It’s just the same way that atheists don’t want to be called or known as atheists but proposed to be called and known as ‘bright’. I do not have any problem with anyone being an atheist or a homosexual but to now castigate me for opposing your position which I believe to be fundamentally morally flawed and being called politically incorrect and going ahead to use the instrument of state to oppose me is going too far and out of the question. Some years ago, atheists in England took out adverts on buses to canvass support for their position on an issue. Now if that is not proselytizing, then tell me what is. The church is generally ‘dead’ in Europe. Church attendances have not only dropped but it is now unfashionable for you to call yourself a Christian Evangelical or Born-Again Christian in Europe. In a special study by Time magazine some years ago on the issue of Godliness by people in Europe, one could perceive a certain amount of cynicism by people on the issues of Godliness and immorality. The number of French who say they attend church regularly has shrunk to 7.7%. Nearly 90% of Italians call themselves Catholics but less than 30% say they go to mass regularly. In Spain, only 14% of young Spaniards attend church, a 50% decline in less than four years. Churches in Europe have been closing down for decades. It is generally believed that people in Africa and Latin America go to church and believe in God because they are jobless and because of the downturn in their economies. But research and polls have also shown that Latin American and African people tend to have higher indexes of happiness and satisfaction which has got nothing to do with their financial situations but more with their trust in God. Should prosperity, success and good health now be reasons why one should forget about God? Affluent societies in Europe now generally believe

JULY 2011

that religion is something that should be left in the back burners while secularism should be promoted. But even less affluent European countries such as the old communist regions and Eastern European bloc are also experiencing this lethargy in religion. Some years ago when Turkey, an Islamic country and a future member of the European Union wanted to introduce legislation making adultery a punishable offence, it was generally viewed by members of the E.U. as a violation of human rights. Adultery is no more called ‘adultery’ but rather ‘having an affair’. But the truth of the matter is that even in the Christian religion which most of these E.U. countries practise and profess, adultery is a sin that carries with it its own consequences. It is now generally okay to have a few flings on the side. After all, married life can be so boring and monotonous? We have had cases of husbands infecting their wives with sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS. Women too now engage in adultery (not that that is new), some for financial purposes and some even with the consent of their husbands because of economic advantages. Fornication is now called premarital sex. All over the world, organisations and countries are providing huge sums of money to combat the HIV/ AIDS scourge which has now become the world’s most threatening disease. About 90% of all AIDS cases are sexually transmitted. No vaccine or cure has been found for AIDS yet. The drugs used for treating patients are very expensive. Meanwhile malaria still kills 2 million children annually in Africa. Provision of nets treated with insecticides would go a long way in reducing incidences of malaria in Africa. If the same amount of money being spent on HIV/AIDS was spent on malaria, then malaria would have been taken care of since. We can say the same of polio and guinea worm. Primary health care delivery can be improved considerably with that kind of money. But instead we are battling with a disease that can be curbed by proper morals and a decent lifestyle. I know that sounds a bit simplistic but that is just the truth. Who knows what strain of virus we will be dealing with in another ten or twenty years time if the prevailing liberal sexual attitude all over the world continues? Afterall, HIV/AIDS did not just drop from the moon. Even if you don’t believe in heaven or hell, there is a lot to be gained right here in this world by living right. A lot of heartache, headache, soulwrenching, grief and agony can be avoided in this world and present life by doing the right things at the right time, making the right moral choices and generally living right.

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