BEHOLD 2013 FORBES AFRICA PERSON OF THE YEAR: NIGERIA’S DR ADEWUNMI ADESINA No. 50
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DR ADEWUNMI ADESINA 2013 FORBES AFRICA PERSON OF THE YEAR Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, Nigeria's Minister for Agriculture has been named Forbes African Person of the Year. He was bestowed the award because of his remarkable reforms in Nigeria's agriculture sector. Akinwunmi beat Aliko Dangote, President of Dangote Group, Jim Ovia, Chairman of the Zenith Bank Group, Strive Masiyiwa, founder of Econet Telecoms group and South African mining magnate, Patrice Motsepe. Adesina's initiatives in agriculture have empowered about six million farmers across Nigeria to embrace modern day agriculture. He was described as a passionate defender of African farmers, relentless in unlocking opportunities for farmers and changing Africa's narrative on agriculture to wealth creation, away from poverty reduction. Adesina said he was happy to be honoured by Forbes. “I am truly honoured and humbled by this prestigious award, which I dedicate to Africa's farmers and the new cadre of young business entrepreneurs who have discovered the hidden gem for sustainable wealth creation on our continent Agriculture,” he said. Adesina's impact in the agriculture sector within two years in office turned agriculture away from being a development program into a business activity generating wealth for millions of farmers. The minister had stressed that Africa, with its huge potential, could not be 'a museum of poverty.'“My passion is using agricultural business and finance innovations to turn Nigerian and African farmers and agribusinesses into millionaires and billionaires. Nigeria must become a global powerhouse in agriculture,” he stated. In recognition of this landmark and enviable feat of attaining the prestigious award, in this golden edition we celebrate Dr. Adewunmi Adesina on the XCEL PEOPLE page.
r. Akinwumi Adesina, the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is undoubtedly a distinguished agricultural development expert with 24 years of experience in developing and managing successful agricultural programs across Africa. Long before President Goodluck Jonathan released the list of his ministerial nominees in early July, 2011, Nigerians were anxious to see which technocrats he was bringing on board to help deliver on his promise of national transformation especially in key national sectors. His nomination of Dr Akinwumi Adesina, an agricultural economist, academic, development thinker, entrepreneur, research consultant and international icon for the strategic agriculture ministry drew positive attention in various quarters. And by the time Adesina appeared for screening before the Senate, his expertise, achievements and vision for agriculture in Nigeria left no one in doubt that this was a perfect choice. EDUCATIONAL/PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND Akinwumi Adesina began his agricultural journey in the 1970s at Obafemi Awolowo University- then University of Ife- where he studied agricultural economics. Nigeria's oil era was already underway, and agriculture was losing its place as the mainstay of the economy. In an era when industrialization and modernization had become the buzzwords, agriculture was considered retrograde and students of agriculture were sometimes derided as “old school”. Yet, Adesina's unwavering passion for agriculture kept him focused. His dedication and hard work paid off when he graduated with Bachelors in Agricultural Economics with First Class Honors from the University of Ife, Nigeria (1981), where he was the first student to be awarded this distinction by the university. He obtained his PhD (Agricultural Economics) in 1988 from Purdue University, USA where he won the Outstanding PhD Thesis for his research work. HIS NOBLE CAREER Until his appointment as the Honourable Minister of Agriculture in 2010, he was the Vice President (Policy & Partnerships) for the
Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), an organization established with support from the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation with the goal of bringing a green revolution to Africa, and lifting millions of poor farmers out of poverty and food insecurity. Dr. Adesina has held senior leadership positions in some of the foremost agricultural institutions in the world. He was Principal Economist and Social Science Coordinator for the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (1995-1998), Principal Economist and Coordinator of the West Africa Rice Economics Task Force at the West Africa Rice Development Association (1990-1995), and Assistant Principal Economist at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics. Dr. Adesina was a lead organizer of the Africa Fertilizer Summit for African heads of state in 2006. He was instrumental in framing the soil health policies adopted there by over 40 African governments, the African Union the New Partnership of African Development (NEPAD), and other leading global development institutions. HIS LAURELS in 1988, he won the Rockefeller Foundation Social Science Research Fellowship, a feat which initiated his career in international Agricultural Development. He has worked in senior research positions in International agricultural research centres of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research. He joined the Rockefeller Foundation, New York, as a senior scientist for Africa in 1998 and later served as Rockefeller Foundation representative for Southern Africa, based in Harare, Zimbabwe (1999-2003). He is also an associate director (food security) at The Rockefeller Foundation, based in Nairobi, Kenya. Dr. Adesina helped to design, inspire and galvanize support for the landmark Africa Fertilizer Summit. He is a consultant on agricultural development issues in Africa by the World Economic Forum, World Bank and African Development Bank, among other institutions.
Mr. Adesina has worked in senior research leadership positions at IITA, WARDA and ICRISAT. In July 2007, he received the YARA Prize for the African Green Revolution in Oslo for his pioneering work with agricultural inputs and agro-dealer networks in Africa. He has published extensively and served on Editorial Board of several leading journals. He was the President of the African Association of Agricultural Economists from 2008-2010. He has received several global awards for his leadership and work in agriculture. In 2007 he was awarded the prestigious YARA Prize in Oslo, Norway for his leadership in pioneering innovative approaches for improving access of farmers in Africa to agricultural inputs. He was awarded the Borlaug CAST Award in 2010 by the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology, USA, for his global leadership on agricultural science and technology. He received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Purdue University in 2008, and the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Obafemi Awolowo University in 2009. He was awarded Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by Franklin and Marshall College, USA, in 2010, for his global leadership on agriculture and improving the lives and livelihoods of the poor.
millions out of poverty. He has brought that passion to his native home of Nigeria, in his position as the Federal Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, where he is spearheading major reforms to transform Nigeria’s agriculture landscape. Dr. Adesina has aggressively implemented bold policy reforms, ended decades of corruption in the fertilizer sector and pursued innovative agricultural investment programs to expand opportunities for the private sector to add value to crops produced in Nigeria. His passionate commitment is driving a new wave of change in agriculture in Nigeria, moving it away from a development program into a business, to reduce dependency on food imports, generate wealth and create jobs. His Growth Enhancement Support Scheme (GES) ended four decades of corruption in the fertilizer sector, eliminating the middlemen and scaling up food production by nine million metric
and other global development finance institutions have put up over USD 2 billion in support of his bold initiatives. “Adesina has totally revolutionized agriculture into a business, and banks and private investors are all moving to the agriculture sector. He has made agriculture very exciting, turning it into Nigeria's new oil” said Tony Elumelu, Chairman of Heirs Holdings. Often referred to as 'Africa's leading development entrepreneur', he was appointed by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon as one of the 17 global leaders, along with Bill Gates, to help the world to achieve the Millennium Goals. Bill Gates, who sits on the Eminent Persons Group that advises President Goodluck Jonathan on Nigeria's agriculture, called Adesina's policies and reforms of agriculture “extraordinary”. Sharing his vision for a food secured
HIS INNOVATIONS Adesina's dedication and commitment to the agricultural sector has made him not only a learner and a worker but also an innovator and a bonafide leader, leveraging resources and expertise, combining existing practices with novel ideas, taking risks, identifying problems and transforming them into boons. He was one of the big brains behind the Africa Fertilizer Summit, which sought to
! Build consensus around the key issues that affect fertilizer use in Africa.
! Agree on a strategy to develop an Africa Fertilizer Action Plan, which would be the roadmap for improving access, affordability and incentives for fertilizer use by millions of poor African farmers.
He played an important role in designing the soil health policies that were adopted during that Summit by the African Union (and individual African States), the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) and various other international bodies. In 2010, Adesina was appointed along with prominent figures such as Michelle Bachelet, former President of Chile; Jeffrey Sachs of the Columbia Institute; Ted Turner, Founder of CNN; Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft; and Mohammed Yunus, founder of the international renowned Grameen Bank to the seventeen-man United Nations MDGs Advocacy Group. According to Ban Ki-Moon, the appointees were people “who had shown outstanding leadership in promoting the implementation of the MDGs.” As a member of the group, Adesina was tasked with the responsibility of leading a think tank on MDG 1- to eliminate extreme poverty and hunger. HIS GIANT STRIDES IN NIGERIA His passion is to use agriculture to end hunger, create wealth and jobs and drive equitable economic growth in Africa to lift
tonnes in the first year -almost half of the 2015 production target. To enhance the process, he introduced Electronic Wallet System which allows small holder farmers to receive electronic vouchers for subsidized seeds and fertilizers directly on their mobile phones and enable them to pay for farm inputs from private sector agricultural input dealers. The system has reached over 6 million farmers and enhanced food security for 30 million persons in rural farm households. Electronic Wallet System initiative have been lauded in many quarters with several countries from Africa, Brazil, India and China now expressing interest in emulating the electronic wallet system. In recognition of Nigeria's reforms and progress, global and domestic investors have signed over $4 billion of executed letters of investments to boost Nigeria's agriculture. The World Bank, African Development Bank
continent, Adesina said he dreams of a future where Africa's vast savannas are revived with crops, where large commercial and smallholder farmers co-exist and both prosper. Where rail, road and port systems are improved. The minister for Agriculture attributed the huge achievements his ministry has made to the immense support of Nigeria's President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, recently conferred on him the second highest National Honor (Commander of the Order of Niger) for his outstanding service to his country over the last one year. In November 2012, Dr. Adesina was named as one of the 100 most influential Africans by The New African Magazine. He is married to Grace Oluyemisi Adesina, and they have two sons, Rotimi and Segun. XL
Mandela Laid To Rest In Qunu
outh Africa's first black President Nelson Mandela who passed away 5th December,2013 aged 95, after a protracted illness was laid to rest with full state honours in his hometown, Qunu, as teary-eyed friends and family members bid adieu to the anti-apartheid icon whose courage and freedom struggle turned him into a giant of history. Mandela's casket adorned with the South Africa national flag, was bored by top brass military personnel to the family plot where Mandela was accorded a traditional burial. This marked the end of an exceptional journey for the prisoner-turned- president who transformed South Africa. The burial brought down the curtain on ten days of national mourning and memorial events for the global peace icon. With restricted access to facilities in the rural area, only
about 4,500 people were allowed at the service and only about a tenth of those were at the actual burial site. President Jacob Zuma, speaking at the funeral service, pledged to fulfill Mandela's ideals of ridding South Africa of poverty, unemployment, lack of educational facilities and social ills such as crime and violence. Several heads of state or their representatives, including U.K.'s Prince Charles, President John Dramani of Ghana and many other presidents of several African nations, were present at the solemn event in person. Talk show
host Oprah Winfrey and business mogul Richard Branson were also among the attendees. Most heads of state had opted to attend the official memorial service a week earlier at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg; where over 80,000 people braved the rain to join 91 world leaders, including President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama, in paying tributes to Mandela.
NIGERIA: FG Hands Over PHCN To Private Sector Malawi's $100m 'cashgate' Corruption Trial Begins
s part of its transformation agenda under the leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan, the Nigeria's Federal Government has handed-over the business of electricity supply and distribution to core investors and new owners in a handover ceremony that held across the different regions of the country. The ceremony took place in 10 different venues simultaneously across the country where facilities belonging to Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) were also handed over to core and new owners.
the Electricity Power Sector Reform Act of 2005, which gave rise to the creation of 18 successor companies. The 18 companies from the unbundled PHCN are six for Generation, 11 for Distribution, and one for Transmission”.
He added that “The private sector involvement became necessary in order to chart a new course for a sector that had delivered far below minimum expectations of Nigerians”.“The participation of the private sector will bring about more efficient and cost effective power supply, engender private sector investment, improve infrastructure, and create employment for Nigerians.”, he said. Sambo said that President Goodluck Jonathan was committed in taking Nigeria out of its “perennial darkness'' within the shortest possible time. He said that the Federal Government would through the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), and the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), monitor the operations of the companies.
The Vice President of Nigeria and Chairman of the National Council on Privatization, Alhaji Namadi Sambo, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary,Ministry of Power, Dr. Godknows Igali, in the Port Harcourt ceremony, handed over certificates to one of the companies, bringing to a conclusion the power reform which began in 1999 . According to Sambo, the exercise was a culmination of 14 years of painstaking efforts to liberalize the nation's electricity sector to attain desired economic growth. …the power sector reform, which began in 1999, continued with the enactment of
Performing the ceremonial handover in Abuja, the Chairman of the National Council on Privatization, Vice President Namadi Sambo, represented by Honorable Minister of power Prof. Chinedu Nebo,said the participation of the private sector would bring about higher generation capacities through the provision of more efficient and cost effective power stations and improvements in electric power distribution in the areas of billing, collection and transmission networks. Sambo added that the reform and privatization programme were focused on the big picture, that is, the impact on the economy as a whole and ultimately, the greatest good of Nigerians.
he trial of the “cashgate” corruption in Malawi has commenced in the Country's capital, Lilongwe. The first two out of 70 defendants are appearing in court over the "cashgate" affair, which has been described as the biggest corruption scandal in Malawian history. Up to $100m (£60m) was allegedly stolen from government fund, leading to the suspension of international aid. The issue came to light in September last year after the attempted assassination of the finance ministry's budget director Paul Mphwiyo. Many Malawians have been shocked by the allegations. During a search operation by security officials, a junior civil servant was allegedly found with more than $300,000 in cash in the boot of his car. More cash was confiscated from some civil servants' homes and car boots. Caroline Savala and Leonard Kalonga, both civil servants, appeared in the court in Lilongwe, to answer charges of theft and money-laundering. Up to 40% of Malawi's annual budget is donor-funded.Malawi's donors have withheld $150m pending further investigation into the scandal. According to the finance minister, up to $100m is suspected of being stolen altogether.An audit led by British Forensic Expert has so far verified that $20m was stolen. And it is largely believed that the scandal could cost President Joyce Banda and her People's Party votes in an election due in May, 2014.
UK'S Archbishops criticize Nigerian and Ugandan Anti-gay laws The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have written to the presidents of Nigeria and Uganda, following the recent laws that were established in the two countries to penalize gay people. In their letter they argued that homosexual people were loved and valued by God and should not be victimized or diminished. In January 2014,Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan signed into law a bill which bans same-sex marriages, gay groups and shows of same-sex public affection. In Uganda Archbishop Sentamu's native country - a bill allowing for greater punishments for gay people, and those who fail to turn them in to police, has been passed by parliament, but blocked -for now -by President Yoweri Museveni. The purported letter by Archbishops Justin Welby of Canterbury and John Sentamu of Yorkis also addressed to all primates (heads of
national Churches) in the world wide Anglican Communion. In their letter, the archbishops reiterated their support for a document known as the Dromantine Communiqué, published in 2005 by the primates of the Anglican Communion. The communiqué said: "We continue unreservedly to be committed to the pastoral support and care of homosexual people. We assure homosexual people that they are children of God, loved and valued by Him and deserving the best we can give pastoral care and friendship.”
The Archbishops said the letter was a result of "questions about the Church of England's attitude to new legislation in several countries that penalizes people with same-sex attraction". Archbishop Welby's stance on homosexual relationships has created tension with more traditionalist Anglicans. In October 2013, he held talks with members of the Global Anglican Future Conference (Gafcon), which condemns
those who preach what it calls a "false gospel", and claiming God's blessing for same-sex unions. Archbishop Welby has said some gay couples have loving, stable and monogamous relationships of "stunning" quality. The laws in the two countries have been heavily criticized by gay and human rights groups. Meanwhile the UN human rights chief Navi Pillay described the Nigerian law as "draconian".She said she had rarely seen a piece of legislation "that in so few paragraphs directly violates so many basic, universal human rights".
Olivier Leurent quoted neighbors of Mr. Simbikangwa who said they had seen him storing weapons at his home in 1994, and others who had heard him lashing out at members of the minority Tutsi ethnic group. Mr. Simbikangwa is a Hutu, the ethnic majority that dominated the government.
Former Rwandan Intelligence Chief Faces Trial for 1994 Genocide
n an unprecedented step, a French court opened a genocide trial on Tuesday 4th February, 2014 against a former Rwandan intelligence chief, in the first of what could be several prosecutions of former officials and others who fled Rwanda after the 1994 slaughter.
Many diplomatic analysts have considered the trial of the former intelligence official, Pascal Simbikangwa, 54, an important effort by France to end its longstanding protection of Rwandan fugitives accused of participating in the ethnic genocide that killed 800,000 people, mostly ethnic Tutsis, in just 100 days. Mr. Simbikangwa, who had been sought under an international arrest warrant since 2008, appeared before a panel of judges in Paris to face accusations of “complicity in genocide and crime against humanity” for acts perpetrated in Rwanda from April to July 1994. If convicted, Mr. Simbikangwa could face a life sentence. He was arrested in 2009 on the island of Mayotte, a French territory in the Indian Ocean, where he had been hiding for several years. In his initial indictment, Judge
Tunisia Gets New Constitution Three Years After Revolution
unisians have continued to express great joy and jubilation as their nation's new constitution was adopted by Tunisian lawmakers and signed into law by Tunisia's leaders on January 26,2014.The new constitution which was a goal of the revolution three years ago that kicked off the Arab Spring is considered a breath of fresh air for the teeming population of Tunisia. The historic document,seen as the most modern in the Arab world, was signed by the outgoing Islamist premier Aki Larayedh; Speaker, Mustapha Ben Jaafar; and
President Moncef Marzouki during a ceremony at the National Constituent Assembly.
Everything about the trial is exceptional: its length, the circumstances under which it is being held and the number of scheduled witnesses. It is expected to last seven weeks, and judges are scheduled to hear from 53 witnesses, including the defendant's former neighbors in Kigali, the Rwandan capital. France, which has long been accused of providing military training to the Hutus, has never before tried anyone accused of complicity in the Rwandan genocide. After restoring diplomatic relations with Rwanda in 2009, Paris appointed five judges to investigate the matter of the Rwandan fugitives and opened a police section specializing in crimes of genocide.
force in stages after its publication in the official journal, and in the run-up to fresh parliamentary and presidential elections later this year. Tunisia's dominant Islamist party Ennahda said it expected elections to take place in October,2014.Lawmakers approved the new charter in a late night session, with an overwhelming majority of 200 votes in favour, 12 against and four abstentions. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called it a “historic milestone” and said Tunisia was a model for other countries seeking reform, while EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton hailed “important progress” in the North African country's democratic transition. The vote was made possible by Ennahda's agreement to relinquish power in a bid to end months of political deadlock, allowing technocrat prime minister-designate Mehdi Jomaa to form a government of independents to lead the country to fresh elections.
“With the birth of this text, we confirm our victory over dictatorship,” Marzouki said in a speech to the assembly, before signing the document which he then embraced, waving the victory sign. “Much work remains to make the values of our constitution a part of our culture,” he said. The charter, which took more than two years to draft, will enter into
H i s t o r y A t I t A g a i n !
As Global Symbol of Reconcillation
NELSON MANDELA Exit Grandiously Grandiosely
f a truth, the impact of the phenomenon called Mandela was larger than life. The history of the free and democratic South Africa was his history. Take the name Mandela away, and you would have taken the soul of South Africa away. Like a giant colossus, the man Nelson Mandela bestrode history in a unique and unusual manner. Impelled by a sense of vision for freedom, justice
and peace, Madiba undauntedly carved a niche for himself among the pantheons of revered elder statesmen, the â€œsacred clubâ€? of shakers and movers of history who shaped the course of history. They gathered in the tens of thousands -- presidents, prime ministers, royals, celebrities and ordinary South Africans -- all
united to say farewell to this man hailed as a global symbol of reconciliation. In what has been described as one of the largest gatherings of global leaders in recent history, representatives from around the world joined street sweepers, actors and religious figures to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela. Over 91 heads of states, nations and countries around the globe were present at the events marking his final farewell. From President Barack Obama to Cuba's Raul Castro, praise came from all sides in a four-hour memorial service at Johannesburg FNB stadium for the revered statesman, who died at age 95. Consider Mandela, a titan of a leader. As a youth leader, Mandela, along with his likeminded friends, initiated the move that led to the eventual overthrow of the apartheid system in South Africa. They fought tooth and nail against institutional inequality, injustice and racial prejudice of the day via organized protests, press conferences and severally in white dominated courts. Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years by the apartheid regime amidst hard labor and trials of cruel mocking. At a point in time and being the foremost leader of the anti-apartheid system, Mandela was singled out among all his fellow apartheid prisoners and offered release for the price of forgetting about his freedom Mandela's widow Graca Machel
Obama addressing the people
Nigeria's President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan
Winnie & Graca in an emotional kiss
Kenya's President, Uhuru Kenyatta
President Jocab Zuma
Mandela's successor as President,
Thabo Mbeki & wife Zenele XL
Obama with Mandela's Widow Graca Machel
agitations, as much international demand for his release. However, Mandela refused to accept release because of his friends who were still behind bars and also because his mind was made up to pursue his people's freedom till the very end. While in prison, Mandela never lost the vision of a free-for-all South Africa where there is love, justice and peace. In 1991, Mandela was released from prison. He publicly embraced his persecutors and forgave them openly, urging his people to do the same, an attitude that elicited international ovations and endeared
Mandela to people all around the world. Mandela approach to reconciliation was legendary and he became a unique beacon of peace and reconciliation to the world. The former prisoner of the state implausibly took office as South Africa's first democratically elected and black president in 1994. As president he formed a cabinet that was allinclusive with both white and black appointees. Mandela may not have been an ideal chief executive, as much of the work was done by others. His main contribution, as president, was first, to model racial reconciliation and second, to walk away from the halls of power, when his one term ended in 1999, despite his iconic status. He would go on to find other ways to serve the causes that animated him, while paving the way for others to take their turns with the leadership mantle. And he would eventually retreat from the spotlight, saying, “Don't call me, I'll call you.” One of the lessdiscussed aspects of this complex, controversial, multifaceted leader's legacy is that manner in which he resisted the
universal tendency among leaders to hurt their own cause by clinging to power. It's been especially difficult in Africa. Mugabe, Mubarak, Gaddafi, Mobutu, and other African leaders entrenched themselves in their presidencies and dictatorships. By announcing that he would only serve one term and by being true to his word, Mandela was able to create a workable, tangible template for democracy on the continent. But it could be said that the rare leader who walks away from power is in a unique position both to avoid being history's pawn, and to allow the best in a new generation of leaders to blossom forth. That was Mandela. To Mandela, “what counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” Mandela was a great leader, activist against oppression, who forgave his jailers and united his already divided nation. He made racism not only illegal but something stupid. He gave life to so many people. He is the reason many black South Africans can smile
when they walk on the streets of Johannesburg today. “Mandela no longer belongs to us. He belongs to the ages,” said the American president, Mr. Barrack Obama in a moving tribute that mirrored the varied global reactions. A SYMBOL OF RECONCILIATION EVEN IN DEATH Mandela's gift for uniting foes across political and racial divides was still evident at the service. Walking up the stairs onto the stage to deliver his speech, Obama shook hands with Castro, an unprecedented gesture between the leaders of two nations that have been at loggerheads for more than half a century.
nation's first black president, has cited Mandela as his own inspiration for entering politics. According to him, "We will never see the likes of Nelson Mandela again," Obama added in a speech to roaring cheers. "To the people of South Africa - people of every race and every walk of life - the world thanks you for sharing Nelson Mandela with us," he said, calling him a "giant of history." "South Africa has lost a hero, they have lost a father. The world has lost a beloved friend and mentor," United Nations Secretary-General Ban Kimoon said to loud cheers.
Brazil President, Dilma Rousseff
Malawi's President, Joyce Banda
"Nelson Mandela was more than one of the greatest leaders of our time; he was one of the greatest teachers. And he taught by example.”
He earlier gave a warm greeting to Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, kissing her on both cheeks, despite recent tension between the two countries over reports the U.S. government was spying on her communications.
But the celebratory mood was evident as thousands clapped and waved South African flags throughout the service.
Obama, who like Mandela is his
Foreign guests included British Prime
Mandela's Ex-wife, Winne (L) & Widow Grace (r) & others
President Obama shake-hands with Cuban President, Raul Castro
Former Irish President, Mary Robinson & Desmond Tutu
Uganda's President, Equatorial Guinea President, Teodoro Obiang Ngueme Mbasogo
PASSAGE Archbishop Desmond Tutu address the people
Tony Blair Former US President Bill Clinton & wife with successor George Bush & wife
Minister David Cameron, the Prince of Wales, French President Francois Hollande and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan, three former U.S.: President Jimmy Carter, President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush, including former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan amongst others. Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu and members of The Elders, a group of retired statesmen founded by Mandela and others, were also in attendance.
SA's last white President, F.W De-Klerk & wife
Mandela's widow, Graca Machel, and his former wife Winnie Mandela embraced and kissed as they arrived the stadium. The world of entertainment also was well represented, with South African actress Charlize Theron, model Naomi Campbell and U2's Bono in attendance.
Former UK PM, Gordon Brown & Former US President, George Bush
THE FINAL FAREWELL On Sunday 15th December, as the Cock heralded the dawn with its last crow for the day, the sun rose with unusual pride on the historic village of Qunu near Eastern Cape Town, and a palpable feeling of nostalgia seemed to be unleashed in the ancestral village as the world awaited the remains of Mandela for final farewell. In few hours Qunu's most famous son was home and the world was watching with respect and trepidations. Against the backdrop the hills of his childhood abode draped in the multicoloured flag of the new South Africa he helped to create, Nelson Mandela's coffin was borne to its final resting place.
Koffi Annan, Archbishop Tutu & others on arrival
After all the pomp and ceremony of the previous week at FNB stadium in Jo'Burg, it was perhaps the words of his granddaughter Nandi during the
John Major XL
The outpouring of grief since Mandela's death at the age of 95 on December 5, 2013, culminated in a funeral that drew together many of the godfathers of Africa's liberation struggles, and blended Xhosa traditions with deeply personal memories from some of those who knew the anti-apartheid icon best. Tens of thousands of well-wishers descended on the windswept village of Qunu for a four-hour service during which Mandela's coffin rested on a lion skin, a symbol reserved for kings of his native Xhosa people. Ninety five candles burned reflecting each year of his remarkable life and traditional music echoed around the remains of the marquis. As guests including Oprah Winfrey, Bono, Gerry Adams, Richard Branson and the actor Idris Elba joined the Mandela clan, overflow tents in Qunu were packed beyond capacity and families in the village and muted cities across South Africa huddled around television screens. Banners commemorating Mandela were draped across bridges in Johannesburg, and the city was eerily silent as most people stayed at home to watch the funeral. Jacob Zuma opened his delivery with a mournful rendition of ThinaSizwe, or We the Nation. Hundreds of voices joined in the revolutionary song, swelling in harmony. "As your journey ends today, we must continue ours in earnest. South Africa will continue to rise because we dare not fail," the president said, prompting applause from the crowd. At the end of his speech, they again spontaneously rose to lift their voices in song, including Mandela's widow Graca Machel and his former wife il Sweden PM, Fredrik Reinfeldt
Spainâ€™s Prince Felipe (r)
final memorial that summed up the mood: "You have run your race. Go well to the land of our ancestors.â€?
UN Sec. Gen. Ban Ki-Moon
Pakistani president, Mamnoon Hussain (c) Afghan president, Hamid Karzai
Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu, Former US President Jimmy Carter & Lakhdal Brahimi
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. Dressed in black, the two women looked frail and occasionally wiped away tears. Among the most moving homages was delivered by Ahmed Kathrada, who spent more than two decades in the cell alongside Mandela at Robben Island. Frequently pausing to compose himself, he described the last time he saw Mandela alive as "profoundly heartbreaking". "He tightly held my hand. What I saw was … a man reduced to a shadow of himself," said the antiapartheid veteran, describing how Mandela would exercise every day in his cell, which he could cross in three paces. "He has left us to join the A-team of the ANC," Kathrada said, invoking other towering figures of the anti-apartheid struggle. "Today mingled with our grief is the enormous pride that one of our own has united the people of South Africa and the entire world on a scale never before witnessed in history." Addressing Mandela directly, he finished: "I have lost a brother. My life is in a void, and I don't know who to turn to.” There were also moments of lightness. Nandi Mandela, one of his 18 grandchildren, drew laughter from the crowd as she recounted how Mandela had once mischievously played matchmaker between a waitress and his grandson.
Then, the moment came at last. To the strain of a simple, mournful song, family and friends accompanied the coffin as it was borne slowly up a hill to the family graveside. Behind followed a procession of ministers, celebrities and a military guard of honour. Three helicopters bearing the South African flag circled the green valleys. A 21-gun salute was fired, and Mandela's coffin was lowered into the ground. According to a South African Robert Tovela who watched his grandchildren with red-rimmed eyes “It was a very, very important day because it helped me to explain about the people who fought for them to be able to walk in any street," he said.
U2's lead singer, Bono & SA Actress, Charlize Theron
The story of Nelson Mandela is so much the story of South Africa and was aptly captured by one speaker thus “the song has died, but the melody will live on.” On a hillside overlooking the rural landscape of the Easter Cape, Nelson Mandela was laid to rest among his kindred spirits. It is absolutely true that never in the history of Africa has there been a congregation of such a large number of world leaders in a funeral ground, a feat which may never be repeated in our lifetime.
French President, Francois Hollande & Nicolas Sarkozy (former President)
Adieu Great African role model of our time, Nelson Rolihlahla Tata Mandela. Good Night!
Obama chats with Danish PM, Helle Thorning-Schmidt & Michelle (r)
Bill Clinton & wife leaves with daughter Chelsea & Aide, Huma Abedin (front)
Tony Abbot, John Key & David Cameron (PMs of Australlia, New Zealand & Britain respectively) Zimbabiwe's Prsident, Robert Mugabe & wife, Grace on arrival XL
AT THE BURIAL CEREMONY
Mandela’s remains arrives
Madela’s daughter, Makaziwe
Oprah Winfrey & husband Stedman Graham with Richard Branson
Madela’s grand daughter, Nandi
Good bye Madiba
Winnie, Jacob Zuma, Graca & others
A colourful militay parade in honour of Mandela
Part of the parade
Zulu traditional dancers
R-L: Winnie, Graca & others
Mandelaâ€™s remains being finally lowered
SPICES & HERBS
That make Food Taste Great
ost of us have herbs and spices in our kitchen cabinet somewhere and they often get haphazardly added to recipes and culinary creations. Interestingly, most herbs and spices have health benefits attached to them, not to mention they improve the taste of so many foods! All spices originate from plants: flowers, fruits, seeds, barks, leaves, and roots. Herbs and spices not only improve the taste of foods, but can help preserve them for longer periods of time. Herbs and Spices have antibacterial and antiviral properties and many are high in Bvitamins and trace minerals. Most herbs and spices also contain more diseasefighting antioxidants than fruits and vegetables. Here is a breakdown of the health benefits of various herbs and spices that you may, or may not, have around the house.
TURMERIC Turmeric is often found in kitchens around the world.It is a common ingredient in Indian foods, and a great addition to soups. It contains Curcumin, a cancer-fighting compound. It is more often taken medicinally in America and Africa for its ability to reduce inflammation and improve joints. For a spark of flavor, add to egg dishes, soups, meat dishes, sauces and baked foods. GARLIC Most households have this one around in some form or another. Fresh cloves are always best, but powdered, minced and granulated forms provide excellent flavor. This is another one that goes into everything from eggs, to tuna salad, to baked fish for dinner. Studies show that just 2 fresh cloves a week provide anti-cancer benefits.
GINGER Gingerol, the active ingredient in ginger, has been shown to significantly help with nausea, vomiting, and morning sickness. It was found to be as twice as effective as Dramamine in preventing motion sickness. It is a powerful antioxidant, and is thought to relax blood vessels, stimulate blood flow and relieve pain. It is a common digestive aid and useful for people suffering the side effects of chemotherapy. Its anti-inflammatory abilities make it useful in fighting heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and arthritis.
OREGANO Oregano is a common ingredient in Italian and Greek cuisine, and they have the right idea! Oregano (and it's milder cousin, Marjoram) are antiviral, antibacterial, anticancer and antibiotic. It is extremely high in antioxidants and has demonstrated antimicrobial properties against food-borne pathogens like Listeria. Its oil and leaves are used medicinally in treatment of cough, fever, congestion, body ache and illness. Combined with basil, garlic, marjoram, thyme and rosemary, it creates a potent antiviral, anti bacterial, antimicrobial and cancer fighting seasoning blend. It can also be sprinkled on any kind of savory foods. A couple teaspoons added to a soup will help recovery from illness. CURRY POWDER Another spice mix that is commonly used in West Africa and Europe. It can have a wide variety of ingredients, but often contains turmeric, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, mustard powder, cayenne, ginger, garlic, nutmeg, fenugreek and a wide variety of peppers. With all these ingredients it has an amazing range of beneficial properties. Curry is an acquired taste, but can be added to meats, stir frys, soups and stews.
CINNAMON Most people have cinnamon around the house, but usually it's been there for a few years! Cinnamon has the highest antioxidant value of any spice. It has been shown to reduce inflammation and lower blood sugar and blood triglyceride levels. Cinnamon has also been used to alleviate nausea and to increase sensitivity to insulin and aid in fat burning. It provides manganese, iron and calcium. It's antimicrobial properties can help extend the life of foods. It is a great addition to savory foods and in curry powders. BASIL You can add basil to practically everything you make, from eggs to vegetables to soups. Basil has antiinflammatory and antiviral properties and can help prevent osteoarthritis. It has been used in digestive disorders and is being studied for its anti-cancer properties. Though commonly used in Italian cooking, Basil is a versatile herb that can be added to practically anything. Fresh is always best, but dried is ok too as long as it is freshly dried. Basil can be sprinkled in omelets, on baked or grilled veggies, in soups, on meats or sliced fresh into salads.
are usually referred to on their own.
DILL WEED/SEED Dill has antibacterial properties but is most known for its stomach settling ability (ever wonder why pregnant women crave pickles?). It contains a variety of nutrients but loses most when heated to high temperatures. For this reason, it is best used in uncooked recipes or in foods cooked at low temperatures. It is a great addition to any type of fish, to dips and dressings, to omelets or to poultry dishes. MINT Another wonderful herb that is used in many places of the world, but is not as common here. It has traditionally been used to calm digestive troubles and alleviate nausea. Many people enjoy a tea made from peppermint or spearmint leaves, and the volatile oils in both have been used in breath fresheners, toothpastes and chewing gum. Externally, the oil or tea can be used to repel mosquito. This herb is easiest to consume in beverage form, though an adventurous cook could add it to meat dishes or dessert recipes. Herbs like lemon balm, oregano, and marjoram technically belong to the mint family, but due to their pungent flavor,
THYME One of the most favorite herbs. Thyme is a member of the mint family and contains thymol- a potent antioxidant. Water boiled with thyme can be used in homemade spray cleaners and or can be added to bath water for treatment of wounds. Thyme water can be swished around the mouth for gum infections or for the healing of wounds from teeth removal. In foods, it is often used in French cooking (an ingredient in Herbs de Provence) and Italian. Add to any baked dishes at the beginning of cooking, as it slowly releases its benefits. There are many other beneficial cooking herbs and spices. In addition to Salt and Pepper, try all the wonderful culinary combinations that can be made with these herbs and spices.
Pix supplied by client
FAMILY AND FRIENDS JOIN HIS EMINENCE, EDMUND DAUKORU & WIFE QUEEN GLADYS TO DEDICATE TWINS TO THE GLORY OF GOD
t was a moment of great joy on Sunday 9th February, 2014 as Christ Holy Church International in the Rumomasi axis of Port Harcourt was packed to capacity by family, friends and well-wishers of His Eminence Edmund Daukoru, paramount ruler of Nembe Kingdom in the oil-rich Bayelsa State, and his adorable wife, Queen Gladys Daukoru. The event was the dedication of their new born twins, Prince Tekenate and Princess Eninimiate Daukoru. The thanksgiving cum dedication service which featured sermon from the clergy, songs from the choir and words of testimony from His Eminence and his lovely wife, was followed by a grand reception at the palace of the royal father in the GRA Phase II area of the Garden City where guests were treated to an assortment of wines and sumptuous dishes. It was merriment all the way. R-L: Prince Tekenate Daukoru & Princess Eninimiate
His Eminence, Edmund Daukoru & Queen, Gladys
King Edmund Daukoru with twin sisters
Princess Mary, Prince Tekenate & Princess Eninimiate
Mrs. Roseline Ngi Mac-Eteli & Mrs. Helen Williams with babies
Queen Gladys Daukoru & Chief Ofieafate Mrs. Christiana Eteli Dedicating Prince & Princess Daukoru
Prince John Daukoru, Victor Amabe & Hon. William (SA to the His Eminence)
Presenting the babies
Queen Gladys Daukoru
His Eminence, Edmund Daukoru
Chief Womia, Chief Ofieafate, Chief Madu & others
His Eminence, Edmund Daukoru exchanging pleasantry with Most Rev. Okoh
Members of Ikienimiagbu Ogbo of Kalabari
A cross-section of some members of Nembe Council of Chiefs Queen Gladys with Rev. Jonathan Moneke & wife
Christ Holy Church International's Choir
Nembe Youth President, Jonathan Omugo & Oil & Gas Chairman, Chief Nengi James
Dr. Ebi Daukoru & Queen Gladys
Obieni, aka Organizer
Hon & Mrs. Jonathan Obiebite
Relatives of the Queen
Most Rev. D C Okoh & other Ministers
Mrs Okalai with some Palace boys
Oliver Mac-Eteli, Mrs. Patience Dangana, Queen Gladys & Mrs. Claries
Members of Nembe-Ibe Ladies with the Queen
Members of Kalabari Asaritoru Bereme Group
Princess Mary Daukoru & Oliverâ€™s daughter
Princess Mary & others
Oliver Mac-Eteli Ebi Ololo (SA to Bayelsa State Gov.)
TURNING AROUND A PROBLEM EMPLOYEE
n employee with performance Dealing with the Problem organization. Maybe the employee is just 1. Describe the employee's specific problems is not just a manager's not in the right role; a change in duties performance issues problem. It's a problem for the could turn everything around. Talk to the whole staff. Staff members can employee, then ask yourself if the problems Talk about the issues, not about the resent taking up the slack for a poor are caused by organization-induced employee's poor effort. performer, and rightly so. Hostility and obstacles that are beyond the employee's anger from a problem employee can control. Is the working environment Describe the results of the employee's p e r m e a t e a n d i n f e ct the whole respectful? Is its culture exclusive of those performance. environment. Ungrounded cynicism can who don't "fit the mold"? Are your also spread to the rest of your staff, even departmental rules counters to 2. Describe the expected standards of your good performers institutional policy? Is an employee's employee performance . perceived bad attitude just a reflection of For these reasons, it's important that you your own bias in favor of a preferred Be specific. Don't say you have a "poor" take action with an employee who is communication style? It could be that a attitude; instead list specific occurrences exhibiting problems with productivity and supervisory deficiency is at fault. that illustrate problematic behavior. behavior as soon as you detect there is a problem. Here are some of the best ways to You may find, however, that your 3. Determine the cause of the performance approach this tricky issue. department is not to blame and that the issues Does the employee lack training, skills, knowledge? Is there a lack of motivation, incentive? Are there external factors involved (family, financial, etc.)? Are there factors beyond the employee's control affecting the performance? 4. Ask the employee for solution(s) What could the employee do to improve this situation? 5. Discuss each solution with the employee How will this solution help with the employee's problem? Discuss your solution(s). problem rests solely with the employee. If that's the case, then direct your efforts Identify the Problem Try to jointly improve upon the First, you should identify the problem and accordingly. Begin your employee solutions. try to find the reasons behind it. Why performance improvement process. should you do this instead of just starting 6. Agree on specific actions to be done and a dismissal procedures? There are several The Bottom Line time frame to implement them reasons. Believe it or not, fixing an existing problem is cheaper than recruiting, hiring, and Arrange for another meeting in the future to Staff Morale training a replacement employee. (Keep in track the progress/results of the solution. You don't want your staff operating under mind that I'm addressing run-of-the-mill the assumption that the axe will fall at the performance problems. This statement And the best way to tackle performance first sign of a mistake. As a manager, wouldn't be true if you'd just discovered issues early is to use a regular performance arming you with a God- complex can be that the employee has been covertly selling appraisal process. At the very least, tempting and seem less complicated, but off parts of your technical inventory.) Also, conduct performance appraisals once a do resist the temptation. No matter what if you fire an employee prematurely, even year. But it's even better to conduct smaller you think, people are more productive in a for what you know are legitimate reasons, evaluations every few months so that any supportive environment than they are in an you could set your organization up for some information about performance problems intimidating one. And besides, a problem hefty legal fees. If you haven't worked with doesn't come as a surprise to the employee. employee who is "rehabilitated" could human resources to follow a standard and Also, you can set performance goals at become one of your organization's greatest well-documented dismissal process, more frequent intervals and check more assets one day. there's a good chance that the employee readily if they're being met. will feel wrongfully terminated and will sue. It's not always the case, but sometimes Don't forget that federal law, institutional Effectively dealing with performance issues problematic employee behavior is an policies, and special status through in an employee can be a long, intensive indication that there's a bigger or more entitlements affect the disciplinary process. But it's best to do it right. pervasive problem in the department or process.
XCEL: 50 EDITIONS AFTER An Enduring Culture of Identifying & Celebrating African Excellence and some have been celebrated posthumously. A peek into the list of some of these great Africans we have celebrated in the past fifty (50) editions will certainly thrill you.
XCEL Maiden Edition
t started as an idea, developed into a vision, and with fifty (50) editions down in 13 years of intense, passionate and responsible lifestyle and event magazine packaging and production, XCEL MAGAZINE has not only weathered the storm, but has lend credence to the fact that growth is a function of hard work, hard work and nothing more. The Magazine has remained relevant, resilient and dogged with renewed commitment to her mission "to celebrate the core values of hard work, dedication and knack for excellence, celebrate Africa and Africans who excel in their various fields, making us proud as Africans, giving us courage to beat our chest and raise our heads to be counted as an integral part of the global village" XCEL Magazine’s emergence was a necessary response to the need of encouraging and promoting Africa and its people in the face of the persistent and hostile western media portrayal of Africa as a continent of cheats and never-do-wells. This is the basis for our vision of "...touching the psyche of the average African, and totally repositioning Africa in proper perspective in the eye of the globe". Armed with this Mission and Vision, we elected to celebrate the great works of Africans wherever they live on the globe and shout it on rooftops that the world may hear.
Prof. Dora Akunyili
In the past 13 years we have honored, celebrated and chronicled quite a lot of Africans or African Americans for outstanding character and achievements. Most of them are trail blazers in their respective fields
and break dance. His albums remains the most selling albums in history till now. His success in the American music industry was legendary and his contributions to charity, monumental.
From the very first edition of XCEL w i t h t h e n p r e s i d e n t , O l u s e g u n Ellen Johnson Sirleaf From the political turf Obasanjo on cover, we chronicled quite we set out clearly some intriguing stories of Africans that will on our mission, always challenge and remind us that inside every one of us are innate potentials and Rev. Emmanuel Onunwor c e l e b r a t i n g t h e a s t u t e a n d our best are yet to come. One of these was the peculiar story of the president of Africa's visionary Nigerian-born Rev. Emmanuel oldest Republic - Liberia. President Ellen Onunwor, who was the first African elected official in far away United States, Johnson Sirleaf, is the continent's first having taken office as Mayor of the city of elected female President. It was a East Cleveland in January 1998. This fascinating story of the Harvard trained opened the floodgate of celebrating African economist who defeated several men in a Excellence as we beamed our searchlight on keenly contested election. To her credit and the entire continent and beyond for worthy being in her second term now, peace and role models of African extraction. stability has largely returned to Liberia and today, Liberia is enjoying political stability On the music scene to celebrate the culture and reasonable economic growth. of excellence and African's heritage in Likewise, we celebrated the intellectual, music, South Africa's sagacious and charismatic first black Mariam Makebah, president of the United State, Barack aka, Mama Africa, Obama, the man who was celebrated as a convinced and music icon who used dazzled Americans the tool of music and the entire world diversely in the that he had the African continent. At “audacity of hope” to the peak of colonial bring the change that subterfuge and siege America needed on the African during the democratic Mariam Makebah continent, this party conventions epitome of anti-apathied struggle fused the that brought him into strength of music with the crusade for power. Having an Barack Obama freedom. She adopted the method providing African American as entertainment and sending the message of two term president of the United States of freedom for the African people. Apartheid America is an unusual story that will suffered on the rolling tones of Mariam forever occupy a pride of place in history. Makebah and the whites became We did an extensive story on Obama’s first uncomfortable. Her voice echoed across the term in office and in our 47th edition, we African continent and Europe. No one could were on ground in Washington DC to suppress this genre and weapon of warfare capture his second term inauguration as against apartheid. United States president. Obama’s story is certainly that of the triumph of freedom Also celebrated over bondage, as today, Martin Luther’s from the music dream has finally found expression in world was the Obama, a black man, as president of the late king of pop most economically music, Michael and technologically advanced nation in Jackson. This the world. ambassador of the blacks Africa’s political ruled the music and social evolution world globally will be incomplete for years and without a mention the entire world caught the fever of the name: Nelson of Michael's M a n d e l a . A brand of music protagonist in the Dr. Nelson Mandela XL
MILESTONE political drama of South Africa, Mandela modeled honesty, tolerance and reconciliation. With fine character and persistent vision to put an end to apartheid, Mandela defied the solitude of prison and its attendant tortuous travails for 27 years, and emerged as a guiding light out of a long night of thick darkness and gave freedom and hope to black South Africans who suffered untold dehumanization and prejudice from their white minority South Africans. He forgave and embraced his adversary publicly at his release from jail. And as president of the nation, he built a united South Africa where equality, tolerance and love reigned. This titan of a man was truly a man worthy of our ink and paper in every ramification. Kenya's Wangari Muta Maathai, one amazon of the continent that was respected internationally was celebrated as a frontline political and environmental crusader. Her activism encouraged her not to only be a critic of the diverse damages on the system, but propelled her to use her movement to r e j u v e n a t e t h e Wangari Muta Maathai environment through a project to preserve the biodiversity, and promote the rights of women and girls. Her concerted campaign brought honour to her and Africa as the first female Nobel Peace prize winner in the continent, in addition to several conservative awards. Wangari Muta Maathai (now late) was celebrated for her doggedness and resilience in activism against the environment and women. Gabriel Sellassie the energetic Ethiopian, often referred to as t h e k i n g o f marathon, has made indelible records that from obscurity, Gabriel shot himself to global reckoning. Considering his background, his u n c o m m o n doggedness and his achievements as an African young man Gabriel Sellassie who broke and set record in several international athletic tournaments, earning him the title as “the greatest runner of all time”. This feat paved the way for Gabriel Sellassie to be celebrated in XCEL as a source of hope to several other Africans. For Viola Vaughn, Marie Da Silva and Y o h a n n e s Gebregeogis, in 2008 they brought honour to the continent by making it to the top 10 on CNN HEROES list for their o u t s t a n d i n g contribution to mankind. First, Senegal's Viola Vaughn for taking the Viola Vaughn
challenge of changing the destiny of several thousands of young girls in Senegal. At a time when all hope seem lost in their lives, Viola Vaughn stepped in to change the story. And before long this woman of passion Marie Da Silva who came to Senegal out of the necessity to change base after life's calamity, could not but succumb to the dealings of fate having again lost her remaining joy, her husband. But the remaining strength encouraged her to make a mark on the sands of time, which she did through her 10,000 Girls Programme. Marie Da Silva, just like Vaughn, the Malawian also took up the challenge of fighting HIV/AIDS amongst women in her country. This shot her to fame, and because of the disaster caused by AIDS in Malawi, many children were left in the care of grand-parents who were ravaged by poverty. Da Silva never sat aloof; rather she began to rekindle the hope of these kids by raising funds and building schools for them. Yohannes Gebregeogis, the third of them, also nicknamed Mr. Children Library has an uncommon passion for books which encouraged him to return to his Yohannes Gebregeorgis country, Ethiopia with over 15,000 volumes of books to emancipate the children from illiteracy to literacy through books. As a promoter of literacy in poverty stricken areas of Ethiopia, Yohannes name remains indelible in the hearts of many in the country for giving them hope at the most critical time of their lives. For these exceptional and commendable services to humanity Albert Luthuli which saw them earn the coveted 10 CNN HEROES AWARD, we celebrated them in recognition of the positive posture they have created for the continent of Africa. Meanwhile the literary world is not left behind as we featured extensively the likes of Chinua Achebe, Professor Wole Soyinka, Chibundu Onunzo, and Chimamanda Adiche. Nigeria’s Professor Wole Soyinka became the torch bearer for Africa when in 1986 he clinched the globally acclaimed Nobel Prize in Literature. This outstanding feat as a n A f r i c a n w a s Prof. Wole Soyinka worth celebrating considering what he initially faced in life while in school. His ordeal in the hands of racists' lecturers and so many challenges in
life could not stop him writing figuratively on global issues and attacking the evil that pervades the entire globe. He is a world acclaimed authority in literature, a feat for which we celebrated him. On his part, late Chinua Achebe was the author of the trailblazing 1958 novel “Things Fall Apart” which he wrote at the age of 24. Achebe was considered the most influential African writer of the 20th century. A favourite book in school curriculum within and outside Africa and with over 10 million copies in print, Achebe's novel is an African story told in an African Chinua Achebe manner by an African who understood the history of the colonial times. Just as “Things Fall Apart” blazed the path for more African writers to write their own stories, his new and last book, “There was a Country” is expected to bring about more rigorous, soul-searching calls for historical reckoning, a necessary step towards a true African Democracy. Added to his literary sagacity as evinced in the numerous awards to his benefits, Achebe's sincere and undeterred campaign for moral rectitude and true leadership in the political and economic terrains made him a legend of our time. Young and beautiful, Chibundu Onuzo, the 21 years old Nigerian author of the Spider King's Daughter who was voted the UK's No.1 Best Black student of 2 0 1 2 w a s celebrated for her exemplary life for Africans living in the diaspora by accomplishing feat after feat. At only age 19, while still an undergraduate student at King's College, London, Chibundu Onuzo she made headlines from BBC to CNN by signing a two novel deal with U.K. publishing heavy weight, Faber & Faber which has published books by 12 Nobel Laureate and 6 Man Booker prize winners. By clinching the deal, she became the prestigious publisher's youngest ever female author. Onuzo's unique persona readily brings to mind that hard work and success, not age, counts in the path to greatness. Though Africa still continues with the fight against poverty, water problems, diseases and other issues, Africa is fast becoming a worthy partner and participator in the technological revolution in space science that is reshaping the course of life on the globe. Africa is becoming a force to reckon with in the intriguing world of science and technology. Malian Cheick Diarra: born Cheick Diarra
is part of this great move. He is the United States National Aeronautic a n d S p a c e Association's first A f r i c a n Astrophysicist and a key player in the exploration of Mars with the Pathfinder and Sojourner Philip Emeagwali Projects. Diarra has indeed been Africa’s worthy export to NASA, a fact which is buttressed by the numerous awards he has won, like World Bank Award for Outstanding Contributions to Science. His commendable and enviable achievements are irresistible, and we were impelled by a sense of duty to re-echo his story in our magazine. Also Nigerian-born computer scientist, Phillip Emeagwali had been celebrated as the darling brilliant mind behind the invention of the World Wide Web (www). He has been Stephen Biko called “a father of the internet” by CNN and TIME, and extolled as “one of the great minds of the Information Age” by former US president, Bill Clinton. He won the 1989 Ordon Bell Prize and the Nobel Prize for supercomputing. In addition, Jessica Mathews, a Nigerian-born US based inventor who read Economics and Psychology in Harvard University, but prodded by an opportunity to proffer solution to a nagging world p r o b l e m , M a t h e w s teamed up with a friend to come up with an idea of solving the perennial light problem in Third World Countries. To tackle the Jessica Matthews challenge, the two friends began to take classes in Electrical and Mechanical engineering to upgrade their residual knowledge of science. And the result of that academic challenge is the socket ball: a ball which can generate three hours of light from 30 minutes of play. Without much ado, Jessica's story won our heart and was celebrated in our 49th edition. For Nigeria's AlikoDangote, the continent's numerouno Moneybag, a trailblazer and a record breaker, he n e e d s n o introduction. R e n o w n e d magazine, Forbes had in the past two years named Aliko Dangote as the richest black man in
the world in 2012 and 25th richest man in the world in 2013. According to Forbes, Dangote is now the first African entrepreneur to lay claim to a 20 billion dollars fortune as the stock value of his largest holding, Dangote Cement. Dr Adewunmi Adesina His fortune in the coming years is expected to grow in a geometric progression due to his foray into oil and gas, and then he may be on his way to becoming the No.1 moneybags in the world. Time and space may not permit us to exhust the list of great Africans we have celebrated, but worthy of mention are the likes of South Africa's Albert Luthuli and Steve Biko, Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee and a host of others. For us in XCEL, to further our mission of celebrating African Excellence, in 2005, we instituted the XCEL AWARDS OF EXCELLENCE through which over the years we have honoured several Nigerians of note amongst whom were foremost human right lawyer, late Gani Fawehinmi, who was posthumously awarded, former military Head of State, A b d u s a l a m i Abubakar, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Church of God, Prof. Dora Akunyili, Kanu Nwankwo, Nuhu Ribadu, Dr. Ngozi OkonjoIweala, Aliko Dangote and a host of others. In line with our mission we have resolved more than ever to continue to play our own role in the mission to reposition Africa in the eye of the globe. And the least we can do is to celebrate and honour African heroes and heroines as they excel in their various human endeavours. With increased popularity and considerable acceptance among the elites, young people and upwardly mobile working class of our bourgeoning esteemed readers, XCEL Magazine has contributed in no small measure to informing and building a virile and responsible society through o u r w e l l researched regular columns that explores topical issues from health, relationship, parenting to Chimanda Adichie
b u s i n e s s among others. X C E L Magazine with g l o s s y , delectable and cutting-edge content and packaging is t o d a y a collector's item and has not only increased in leaps and bounds in the past years, but has taken advantage of evolving technology in media practice to improve at every edition in terms of quality of design, layout, contents, production and p a c k a g i n g . No w o u r global readers can download the electronic version of the magazine from our upgraded and enhanced website. To our numerous readers and clients, we feel highly indebted to them for their consistent patronage and adorable loyalty, feedbacks and opinions expressed.Your darling Magazine is ever more resolute to deliver a bett er, enhanced media offering to all our readers even in the years ahead. A million thanks to you all. Without you, there can be no us. In every way, there is no gainsaying that XCEL Magazine has been true to its vision Emmanuel Ohuabunwa with an enduring culture of identifying and celebrating African Excellence.
XCEL Golden Edition XL
Pix by: Eke Okoro
Delectable Lady of Style, Delphine Porbeni Rocks @ 50
ressed in an orange and gold apparel depicting 50 years of triumph and grace, she alighted, in company of her husband, from a Bentley sedan car with the finesse and poise of a royal queen. It is her 50th year thanksgiving cum celebration at the Mary Slessor Memorial Presbyterian Cathedral in Borokiri, Port Harcourt on Sunday January 19th, 2014. Walking to the front pew to take a seat, she exuded calmness and elegance as she exchanged pleasantries with friends. Except one has been acquainted with her person before then, one would have mistaken her simple but calculative gait for the motion of a fashion model on the runway. At 50, ageless lady of style, Mrs. Delphine Ekamma Ekpenyong Porbeni rocks and her beauty remains unfading. With a heart overflowing with thanksgiving, Delphine, a woman of many parts with expertise in fashion design and interior decorations, appeared before the good Lord in company of her husband, family, friends and associates to express thanks for God's mercy, faithfulness and blessings for the past 50 years. The thanksgiving service which was marked by hymn rendition, scripture reading, special numbers by the choir, prayers for the celebrant and her family, and tributes from church elders was officiated by an array of ministers and church elders led by the minister in charge, Rt. Rev. Isaac Afolayan. Reading the biography of her mom who in her tribute she described as “Queen of My Love”, Vanessa, one of the children of the celebrant extolled the motherly virtue of her mom as she took the congregation through the profile of this amazon of a woman. With heart and voice laden with love and faces lit with smiles, the children of the celebrant: Eric I, Eric II (twins), Vanessa and Brian, all rendered a special number in honour of their dear mother. Mrs. Delphine Ekamma Porbeni, Celebrant
Celebrant & husband
The moment came for the celebrant to express her thanks to God with a dance. With a long line of friends, associates and family rocking Sinach's “I KNOW WHO I AM” and other songs, Delphine
expressed her heartfelt gratefulness to God. And given the microphone to share a bit of her story with the congregation, words upon words of testimony streamed from her lips gracefully. One of the high point of the service was the honour of an award that was bestowed on Retired Admiral Festus Porbeni, a two-time minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and a honourary Ambassador of Romania, the husband of the celebrant. It was in recognition of his support to the Church as a Church Builder and Strong Supporter of the Cathedral by the church's Dean and elders. In response and appreciation of the honour, Admiral Porbeni thanked the Church for the recognition and thereafter announced the donation of a 100 KV Generator to the church. Tucked in the heart of GRA Phase 11 Port Harcourt is The Arena, a leading event centre where friends and family of the celebrant assembled for the birthday bash and reception for the celebrant. Delphine who is also the Chief Executive Director of Delbics Integrated Services arrived in the company of her adorable husband to the waiting exhilarating and rhythmic tunes of the Efik Cultural Group who serenaded the celebrant with the cultural panegyric and tunes of the Efik people. Ushering in the celebrant into the event hall were the Efik Cultural Group and Ashoebi friends of the celebrant who were dressed in orange and gold cum gold and pink apparels. Amongst a number of activities lined up for the reception were the signing of birthday cards by friends of the celebrant and a Gold carpet experience. The reception which was emceed by radio host Rugged Pastor and had the Nigeria Navy Band Port Harcourt as music maker for the day, paraded a list of important dignitaries. Amongst the dignitaries were the chairman of
...Ready to leave for service
Preparing for the day the occasion Chief Emma Cheijina, Director of Access Bank; Chief O.C.J Okocha S.A.N, Mr. Charles Emordi, Mr. Frank Okosun, Mrs. Pauline Ehimuan, Mr. Cassidy Dorgu, Barr. & Dr(Mrs) Osakwe, Surveyor & Magistrate Okoro, Lady Ngozi Nkwazema, Lady Tina Ngonadi, Lady Ngozi Ezeamawe, Prof. & Mrs Ideriah, Chief Edwin Porbeni, Mrs Ayo Nimfas, Rev.Uchenna Chigozie, Mrs I.B Omotosho, Mrs. Ukpaukure, Mrs Uche Porbeni, Mrs Asenobi, Rev. Kathy Ukpa, Engr. & Mrs. Sopribo Ideriah, Engr. and Mrs. Lanre, Mr. Awori Johnbull, Mr. Nnamdi Egbamuno, mother of the celebrant among others.
Admiral Porbeni Signing the birthday card Just before Mr. Frank Okosun, a friend of the celebrant proposed the toast to Delphine, the birthday cake was cut by the celebrant amidst much éclat and joy as fifty of her friends in Ashoebi and the husband of the celebrant glowingly paid tributes to her. All through the splendid event which was planned and organised by Marleyville productions-an event planning and consulting organization owned by the celebrant only daughter Vanessa, the hall was electrified by the musical vibes of the live band that performed a number of songs to thrill the guests, and when the time came for the
Admiral Porbeni, Celebrant & Payin, Celebrant’s son
Admiral Porbeni receives an award celebrant to step on the dance floor the band were at their best. The dignitaries were treated to a premium culinary experience ranging from Nigeria dish to Italian and others cuisines. Assortments of finest wines were provided for the enjoyment of the guests all through the birthday bash. The grandiose reception was for a fact welldeserved for a delectable, resilient and hardworking lady of style like Mrs. Delphine Porbeni. It was indeed an unforgettable birthday experience of fun and fun all through!
Celebrant’s daughter, Vanessa, Admiral Porbeni, Celebrant & Brian
Celebrant cutting her birthday cake Celebrant & husband
Celebrant & husband
Celebrant taking the Reading
Chris Yedowei, Admiral Porbeni, Chief Edwin Porbeni & celebrant
...During the Thanksgiving session
..inside the Exquisite Bentley Car
Rt. Rev. Isaac Afolayan praying for celebrant & husband
Celebrant’s son, Cacra taking the Ist Lesson Celebrant’s last son, Brian Porbeni with his talking drum
Barr. O.C.J. Okocha (SAN)
Nne Margaret Ekpenyong, Celebrants’s mom
‘A Thank You hug’ - for donation to Church
Vanessa, Celebrant’s daughter
Giving all the glory to God
Mrs. Pauline Ehimuan
Celebrant’s children, Nieces & Nephew rendering a special song
Delphine giving thanks to God along with daughter
Lady Ngozi, Mary Onibode, Admiral Porbeni, Celebrant & Amaka
Mrs. Asenobi, Mrs Rita Akpakure & Emilia Umoh
Mrs. Ehimuan (2nd left) & others congratulates Delphine
Rev. K. Ukpai, Rev. U. Chigozie, Rt. Rev. I. Afolayan & Rev. H. Udonsi Payin & fiancee, Itunu
Baby Jasmin, celebrant’s grand daughter
Celebrant & husband with the Efik dancers
Celebrant with Mr. & Mrs. Celestine Ogolo
Admiral Porbeni, Celebrant & Cassidy Dorgu
Mrs. Nimfas, Charles, Emma Chiejina, celebrant & husband with Frank Okosun
Precious, Ada Nwakwo, Uche Porbeni, celebrant & husband
Ibiba, Mina, celebrant & husband, Brian, Tunimi Iyeuwa with Atonye
Chichi, guest, Chima,Amaka, Mary, Engr. Larry, celebrant & husband, Chris Yodowei with Engr. Ebere Onoh Celebrant & husband with friends Mrs. Mercy Umoh
Mrs. Ibiba Omotosho & Barr. Fama Douglas
Celebrant & Nene Strongface
Emma & Cassidy toast to the celebrant
Maeyen, Celebrant’s aunty
Chinwe (right) officiates the cutting of the cake
Celebrant & husband dancing
Mrs. Jack, Celebrant & Ibiwari
Emma Chiejina making his opening speech
Barr. O.C.J. Okocha & Barr. E. Osakwe
Celebrant being ushered in by friends & Efik dancers
Frank Okosun proposing toast Emma Chiejina, Chairman of the occasion
Aoire, Celebrant’s Brother-in-law Admiral Festus Porbeni, celebrant’s husband
Celebrant & friends dancing in a circle
Chief Nnamdi Ikpemaerue
Celebrant, Franka Ideriah & Mary Etetim
Emman Chiejina & Admiral FBI Porbeni
Celebrantâ€™s friends: Ayo, Ibiba, Atonye & Mina
Nene Strongface, Nene Eke, Ayo Nimfas, Ibiba Onotosho
Mary Onibode Eremorsele, Lady Ngozi Ezeamama & Amaka Ehigigbe
Efik dancers performing An artist from Nigeria Navy Band performs
Triumph Onyali, Tonia Nwobia, Celebrant, Helen Ngwu & Lady Ngozi Nkwazema
Franka Ideriah & Cynthia Stephengo
Celebrantâ€™s mom, Niece & brother: Nne Margaret, Franka, Erasmus
Surveyor & Magistrate (Mrs.) Okoro with son
Mr & Mrs. Oziegbe Ehimuan with Cacra
Ladi & friend
Jeffies & husband
Engr. & Mrs. Sopribo Ideriah
Elder Nsikan Bassey & wife, Nseobong
Celebrant & friend, IB
Celebrantâ€™s sons & friends
By Tiffany Oguns
LET’S STAND TALL & LIVE COURAGEOUSLY!
he usual response of ladies when they face emotional and psychological trauma in their relationship with men is to buckle under pressure, allowing their emotion to govern their sense of value and judgment. As ladies, by our very nature, each time we are in a relationship, we tend to peg our hope around such relationships and give full commitment to them. I know this underscores the fact that in the core of a woman's being is the tendency to care, nurture and bring relationship to maturity. Nevertheless, over the years some men's have taken advantage of these great virtues of ours to exploit us in relationships. I have seen fellow ladies who put so much into their marriages being made object of ridicule by their own husbands in public. I have seen fellow sisters beaten and eventually sent packing or divorced by men with insatiable egos. I have met fellow women who were promised heaven and earth by men and later left in the lurch and in the heat of challenging moments. To such comrade sisters, I want to say: wipe away your tears, stand tall, chin up, square up your shoulder and live life courageously. Take your life in your hand and live above the hurts and emotional barriers you are experiencing now. Permit me to take you through the intriguing story of Edna, a fellow sister. Edna lost her biological parents at age 12, adopted by a Christian woman from the orphanage at age 13 and was raised with much love and care by her adopted mother, who ensured that Edna got a quality education like any other children. After graduation from higher institution, she got a job in an Ivy League company where she met Tunde who she started dating three months after taking up the job. It was widely known throughout that company that the two were going out and plans were underway for their wedding. 3 weeks to the wedding, Edna discovered that all the while she was going out with Tunde; he (Tunde) had also been seeing another lady who was pregnant for him. That discovery shattered Edna. Their wedding cards had been sent out! The news of the coming wedding had been spread abroad, the
wedding dress bought, the drinks and menu for the reception ordered! What was she going to tell her family and friends? The shame was unbearable for Edna. She wept sore and took ill for 3 days. Out of shame, Tunde left the company and the city! He knew Edna had always been faithful to him. Because of Tunde, Edna turned down every other suitor that asked for her hand in marriage. Edna was the toast of all guys in that area. But she preferred Tunde anyway.
We can draw many lessons from Edna's journey in relationships. One is that we cannot allow the pressure of psychological and emotional trauma in our relationships to overwhelm us. That a boyfriend back off from an intimate relationship is not the end of the world. We must choose to lift our heads up high, let go of the psychological and emotional barriers that clog our lives and live courageously in the face of betrayals and hurts.
For Edna it was as if the whole world came crashing down on her. She had loved and trusted Tunde with her whole being. She took him for an impeccable angel. Her commitment to him was total, but all she got in return were hurts and betrayal.
A critical lesson that touched me personally in her story is that when we forgive those that hurt us, we are actually the beneficiary of that kind act. Through forgiving others, we put order and harmony into the course of our lives. Forgiveness has a way of attracting favour into our lives and restoring what has been lost. Edna's life turned around immediately she learnt to forgive. Sisters, to forgive is the noble employ of the strong. No matter the hurt and betrayal, forgive anyway. That is where your healing is.
Nevertheless, at a point Edna decided to be strong and let go the anger and
Another lesson I gleaned from the story is that as Ladies we should not be too attached to our loved ones. By that I mean we should not put too much of our hope on people that we love or that love us. Our loved ones are humans, and being humans they are subjected to making errors and excuses and they may fail us when we need them most. bitterness. She encouraged herself and decided to forgive Tunde, believing that the right man for her would show up at the right moment in her life. The intriguing part of this story was the courage Edna mounted to write Tunde, asking him to marry the lady he impregnated and ensure he played the role of a good husband and father to the lady and unborn baby. Edna equally made peace with the pregnant lady and wished her a stress free delivery and a good life with Tunde. And as God would have it, Edna met the love of her life four days after writing Tunde, and today Edna is happily married with two beautiful kids to a man who loves her and treats her daily like a queen.
By a way of closing sweet sisters, if you are rejected or betrayed in a relationship, please never get depressed or get drown in negative thoughts. Rather just have it at the back of your mind that people usually reject expensive things when they cannot afford them or when they don't know the values of such things. Sisters, you are all expensive! You worth so much and therefore it will be too cheap to stoop low to the level of living in depression. Maybe you are in such situation now, please say these words loud to yourself:“I' m hot, I'm first class, I deserve the best and the best is attracted to me”. That should be our mentality fellow sisters. That is our worth. Tell yourself what you worth every day. Never allow a guy from nowhere to tell you what he thinks you worth. You are the better judge of yourself. Let's live life maximally. Let's live courageously.
Mr. & Mrs. Israel Ngbuelo
COMRADE & MRS. ISRAEL NGBUELO Mark 5 Years of Marital Bliss & Child Dedication in Grand Style
ane Grey, a great America author once said “love grows tremendously full, swift and poignant as the years multiply”. This sublime thought aptly captures the bubbles and growth of love between Comrade Israel Ngbuelo and his adorable wife, Mrs. Joy Ngbuelo, in their 5 years old, blissful marriage that has produced three lovely kids. Martin Luther must be speaking their mind when he said:” there is no more lovely, friendly and charming relationship, communion or company than a good marriage” On Sunday 3rd November, 2013, Passover Parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, along NTA road, Port Harcourt was the venue for the anniversary thanksgiving, as the couple, with heart full of gratitude to God came before the good Lord in appreciation for 5 years of His goodness and faithfulness in their marriage as well as the dedication of their new born baby, Barineme Leteh Israel Ngbuelo. The anniversary cum baby dedication fiesta moved to the well decorated Jatem Hall, an
event centre along NTA road for the reception where a long stretch of friends, well-wishers and family of the couple assembled to celebrate their love story with them.
Barineme Leteh Israel Ngbuelo variety of sumptuous dishes as everyone dined to their satisfaction. The event, an alluring and glamorous one was a true celebration of love between two love birds as there was no dull moment.
As elating as the event was, it paraded a fine list of guests amongst whom were former member House of Representatives, Honorable Emma Deeyaah; Honorable Victor Briggs; XCEL Magazine publisher, Mr. Barth Emuekpere; Dr. (Mrs.) Birabi and others. One of the dear friends of the couple proposed the toast to the couple. The anniversary event which was hosted by MC Marvelous was revved up by the hilarious performances from some Port Harcourt comedians and musicians such as Danny Spray, Mr. TI, Seals Wee, Marvy 10 and a live band. The guests were treated to a
Mr. & Mrs. Israel with Mrs. Nafo
Mr. & Mrs. Israel
Mr. Israel & family cuts the anniversary cake Mr. & Mrs. Israel praising God
Mrs. Joy Ngbuelo
Israel Ngbuelo & family
November Birthday celebrants of RCCG Passover Parish
Pastor Abadage dedicate Barineme Israel to God Mrs. Joy Ngbuelo & son, Barineme
RCCG, Passover Parish Choir
Israel & son, Barineme
Mr. & Mrs. Israel with baby Barineme
‘A toast to Mom & Dad’
Comrade & Mrs. Israel & Hon. Deeyaah
Lezor & Barilelo Israel Ngbuelo
Pastor Jeniwari, Mrs. Nafo, Dr. Birabi, Mr & Mrs Israel, Victor & Engr Ephraim
Gorgeous Smile Barineme Israel Ngbuelo
Cool pose XL
Hon. Deeyaah, Emeka, Barth & Israel
Barr. Anugbum Onuoha & Comrade Israel
Israel & son with Mrs. Nebee
Mrs. Israel, Mrs. Victor & Mrs. Onyeka
Israel with family
Neka (left), Comrade Israel & wife with a friend
...With Members of Africa United Football Club
Balogun Olu with friends
Sam & wife with daughter
Dr. (Mrs.) Ben Birabi
Mrs. ND Ephraim, Cake designer
Mrs. Nbura (Israelâ€™s mother-in-law) & son, Mr. Nbura
Hon. Letam & wife with a friend
Kpobari & Nelson
Victor, Israel, Elvis, Onyeka & a friend
Israel & wife with some artist present at the event
...With members of GDI
Mesua Birabi, Femi & a Friend Dunka, wife & child Maxi & Marvelous
Moving Up The Ladder
WHERE WILL YOU BE FIVE YEARS FROM NOW? Romans chapter 4:17, “As it is written, l've made thee a father of many nations before him who he believed even God who quickeneth the dead and calleth those things that be not as though they were”.
od is a God of faith. When we say that we mean to say that God does not live from the visible, God lives from the invisible, that which you can't see yet, but you've seen and that controls your life. Living your dream means living intentionally, deliberately, and consciously. Get a book and write down what you want to become, what do you want to have? What will you be doing? What will I be doing? What kind of car should I be driving? What kind of house should I be living in? Who are the kind of people I should be hanging with five years from now? And all of that is on the platform of calling those things that be not as though they were. If perhaps you had decided where you will be five years ago most likely that's where you are today; In my small life by the mercies of God I've enjoyed, I've seen myself live a little bit of my dream though not completely yet but I can tell you honestly that dreams do come to pass. Each and every one of our life is affected by several factors, one of those factors is our environment. Our environment can impact our life, where we live; the kind of parents we have can impact our life, the school we attend or attended can impact our lives, who our friends are can impact our lives. What I mean by impact I mean affect our lives, each of these things plays a role, and we are shaped by also the events of our life. In the years of our fathers that lived during the civil war that affected their lives. If somebody loses a parent or spouse that can impact their life. If somebody goes through an abuse or something like that, that can affect their lives, but that is not as strong as the power of a dream. Knowledge or the lack of it will also shape our life, the result of our effort in life can also affect us, it can deflect us it can cause us to be elected based on our ability or what we are able to accomplish but not all of these has much potential for changing your life as the ability to envision your future and allow it to drive your life. What's a dream? A dream is a projection of the life you wish to live, and when that projection is strong enough it pushes you, it unleashes a creative force that can overcome all obstacles hindering the attainment of that dream; that's why people have risen from the ghetto to glory, that's why people with low background and no money has
achieved great things with their lives because there is a force pulling them, there is a creative ability that was released by a projection they have. I attended two different meetings, recently one in Lagos, another in Dubai. One of the major things I was confronted with during these conferences was to articulate, define where I will be in five years from now. It is a challenge to have a five years plan to pursue. If your dream is not well defined, it has little pull on you, to really achieve your dream, to really have your future plans pulling you; it must be very vivid, very clear, very detailed. There are two ways to face the future; 1.
You can face anticipation
You can face apprehension.
You face the future with hope or face the future with fear and apprehension. A lot of us worry about tomorrow. Why do people worry about the future? The answer is simple, because they haven't spent time designing their future. On the other hand those that have designed their future, planned their future, are getting excited about it so they can look into the future with anticipation and hope. They can see the future in their minds eyes and it looks terrific, the future captures their imagination and it begin to exert an enormous pull on them and they begin to live their dream. They are two primary choices in our life; It is either to accept your condition as they exist or to accept the responsibility for changing them. Life has no remote control, if you want something different, take the responsibility and change it. We are all created by God but to a large extent we decide our destiny by the choices and decisions we make. The greatest mistake you can make in your life is to depend on others to live your life, and the greatest decision you can make in your life is to plan and take the risk to make your own life. I was reading an account of the Japanese recovery after World War II. They were devastated. After the Second World War Japan was rubbished, but Japan rose out of
that mess to become probably one of the eight great economies in the world. The secret of the Japanese greatness out of ashes was their willingness to look ahead to the future, while putting in maximum effort and sacrifice in the present. We have plenty of talents and ability. Where you are now is not a true indication of what you have and carry. Sometimes a child can fail an exam but that is not the true text of that child's intelligence. Many of us are smarter that we realize. You can be better and greater than who you are now, but you are not because you don't have enough “why”, If you have enough “why” you will do some incredible things. The “why” is the reason why you should be better. When your “why” is strong enough the “how” will show up. Many times we are looking at how can this be, but you don't have a challenge with how, it is why; why should I be rich? Why should I be a better person? Why should I pastor a mega church? If my “why” is strong enough I will find the “how”; why do I want my financial situation to be better than it is right now? Why? Motivation sometimes provides the “why” for you. Motivation sometime gives you the reason why you should and can be better; I want to challenge you to develop your “why” and clearly picture where you can be, who you can become, what you can have in the next five years. If you can get pictures of what you want, put them before you. One of the reasons I travel is because I want to be exposed; I want to see because what you see inspires you; and in my last trip I noticed that dreams take the limits off our lives. If Dubai can rise up and become what it is today because of somebody's vision and dream, then any man's life can rise from nothing. Ask yourself what can I have in the next five years? If its a house, go and get the picture of a nice house, cut it and place it on the wall. If it's a car, look for that kind of car, go and stand by it and take a shot standing by it, and write under it coming soon, paste it by your bed. Because you are the next thing that is about to happen. If you do what am saying where you'll be five years from now will shock you. The way God designed our life is that our life should be controlled by our imagination. One of the greatest equipment God has put in you is your mind, and that mind has two assignments. It has capacity to rewind, and it has capacity to fast forward. To rewind you engage your memory, and to fast forward, you engage your imagination.
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