2019: Time to Build, Innovate and Grow (BIG), By Kingsley Moghalu

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Our vision of an innovation-driven economy will tap into the talents of our youth. This will create the wealth of nations for Nigeria and shield us from the debilitating boom and bust cycles of an economy on fiscal life support from income from natural resources. We will create an environment for the private sector to create jobs…

The choice that faces Nigeria in the 2019 presidential election is one between progress and retrogression, between scary poverty and the prospect of prosperity for millions of our citizens and not just the elite few, between our freedom and our continuing false imprisonment by the political elite that have brought us to our present sorry pass. I want to lead our country as its president because I have a BIG vision for the future of our children and youth.

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In terms of current trends of what passes for governance in Nigeria and despite our dynamism and resourcefulness as a people, that future is a bleak one for now. Except, of course, something radically new, different and bold happens in our politics and leadership selection process. Millions of our countrymen and women share my vision. That vision represents the opportunity to move our country in a new and different direction from the inevitable limitations of our recycled and failed politicians. It is time.

Nigeria is now the poverty capital of the world. According to the World Poverty Clock, we overtook India in February as the country with the greatest numbers of people who live in extreme poverty. India has a population six times the size of Nigeria’s. Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund has noted that poverty is increasing in our country and that our economic policy is “muddled”.

We remain the world’s greatest importer of Premium Motor Spirit (refined petroleum), while we export crude oil. How else shall we define madness? Because of incompetent leadership, our government insists on controlling and subsidising the importation and pricing of PMS.

Instead of deregulating the downstream petroleum industry, Nigerians sleep at fuel stations as a result of artificial scarcity whenever this scam is threatened. This has gone on for 40 years. We should be ashamed of ourselves when we elect and re-elect into office politicians whose failed leadership is directly responsible for our poverty. Meanwhile, poverty and unemployment know no tribe or religion. They are “federal character” realities that are widespread across our country. We need a paradigm shift. It is time.

A healthy debate has ensued since I formally offered myself to serve our country by leading it towards a very different and better future. That debate is about the possibilities for the victory of a “non-politician” and about the “inevitability” of our career politicians and their financial and political behemoth structures, as represented by the ruling APC party and the PDP. Nigerians have become a conquered people, their dynamism and potential neutralised by politicians adept at obtaining power for its own sake but inept at governance and economic management. These politicians have intimidated us into believing TINA (There is No Alternative) to them. Not true. We are now awake. The ground is shifting. It is time.

Let me be clear: We (that is, the movement of those who want a better and different Nigeria, to which I belong) intend to win the 2019 presidential election. True, we should not and cannot discountenance the obstacles. But we will execute a winning strategy and ground game across the country with discipline and determination. I will announce in the coming weeks the party platform on which I intend to contest the election.

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We should now elect in Nigeria leaders with a vision, character, and the intellectual and technocratic competence required to confront our myriad problems of nation-building, poverty and insecurity. My vision stands on a tripod:

• First, to heal our country and build a nation;
• Second, to wage a decisive war against poverty and unemployment, and;
• Third, to restore Nigeria’s standing in the world.

I have offered myself for the task at hand because I have a passion for my country’s progress and because I believe I have been well prepared for that task by the level, quantum and quality of my leadership experience. From nation-building around the world to economic management at home, from international diplomacy to the global academia, I have demonstrated a track record of creating superior value.

Some have questioned my not having been mired before now in the sleaze that passes for politics in Nigeria. That mindset is exactly the problem: we have too many politicians but very few real leaders. We are all politics and no leadership. This is precisely why we are a poor and dysfunctional country.

We must overcome our problems of poverty in a structural manner that moves millions of our poor and unemployed citizens into the middle class over the next decade. This requires a certain type of mindset, intellectual capability and philosophical insight, and the ability to assemble a competent team in the government. Combined with the discipline of execution, we will find that the ability to address Nigeria’s problems is not exactly rocket science.

Our nation cannot be built by ethno-religious irredentists who live in the past and whose instincts are based on extremely narrow worldviews. As president of Nigeria, I will provide inclusive leadership that is anchored on a Big Hairy Audacious Goal that unites us all to face the future. We are aware of the retrogressive thinking and talk about “zoning” – the ethnic turn-by-turn that has hitherto influenced who becomes president.

After nearly two decades of democracy since 1999, the report card on the outcomes of this unconstitutional practice that fosters mediocrity is simple: our citizens have gotten poorer and poverty is increasing. As Seun Opaleye, a young Nigerian commented recently on social media, “we have zoned 2019 to competence”.

Those who wish to dwell in the past may do so. The world is moving on and, like it or not, Nigeria will move with it.

We who seek a better future for our children and youth are having none of the retrogression and mediocrity of “zoning”. In any case, it is practiced inside just one or two political parties. Our population in the New Tribe who are focused on citizenship, rather than ethnic tribe and tongue, is increasing because a new generation of adults is coming of age.

Thus, I am not and will never be an ethnic candidate for the presidency of our country. I am unapologetically a Nigerian candidate for the Nigerian presidency. We must create a rising tide that lifts all boats, not just those of relatives and tribesmen and women.

A Kingsley Moghalu presidency would be very different from those before it. At a fundamental level, this is because we would bring a problem solving mindset to it. We will consciously govern with strategy, a worldview that we will inculcate in our citizens through the educational system and other channels, and a clear understanding and application of the requirements of good governance. These include effectiveness, accountability, transparency and inclusiveness. We will be ready on Day One, with the most senior appointments and nominations in the executive branch announced within 48 hours.

We will secure Nigeria with the effective implementation of national security policy, including reforming the police force to become a real one that can guarantee law and order and safe communities. We will do this through massive increases in the police force strength and real training. I have the political will that is presently absent to ensure the effective control of Nigeria’s porous borders with Niger, Chad and Cameroon, a situation that has compromised our national security. We will ranch the herdsmen and address the root causes of the herdsmen crisis, which includes, amongst other factors, the desertification of northern Nigeria.

A government that I lead will implement the National Youth Policy and the National Gender Policy effectively. This will ensure that we go beyond tokenism in empowering these two substantial parts of our population. Women make up 51 percent of our population of 186 million people, and there are 60 million youth aged between 18 and 35. Both groups will play a muscular role in my government. We will implement a 50:50 gender parity ratio in political appointments, well above the National Gender Policy recommendation of 30 percent for women. Competent youth with relevant qualifications and experience will play important leadership roles in the government, ensuring the much-needed inter-generational change of baton in leadership, without which any society will enter decline.

Our vision of an innovation-driven economy will tap into the talents of our youth. This will create the wealth of nations for Nigeria and shield us from the debilitating boom and bust cycles of an economy on fiscal life support from income from natural resources. We will create an environment for the private sector to create jobs with a public-private partnership venture capital fund of a minimum capital of N500 billion that will invest in new, job-creating start-up businesses to be established by millions of unemployed Nigerians.

Our programme of economic rebirth will decentralise the national grid and shift power generation towards renewable energy sources. We will undertake a fundamental reform of our healthcare and education systems. The Nigerian Diaspora will play a central, institutionalised role in the building of our human capital.

We will commence a consultative process in collaboration with the National Assembly and State Assemblies to achieve a constitutional restructuring of Nigeria back to true federalism for stability and prosperity within two years of my taking office.

No one says all of this will be easy or will happen in a matter of days or a few weeks. I do not claim to be a magician with a wand or a perfect person. But, like many other Nigerians, I love my country. I care about the daily suffering of our countrymen and women, and the future of our youth, our children, and even the unborn. Together, we all can work to create a better future for us all. It is time.

Kingsley Moghalu, a former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, is a presidential aspirant for the 2019 elections and the author of the new book Build, Innovate and Grow: My Vision for our Country (Bookcraft, 2018).

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Opinion Sunday: Age is Nothing But a Number – Nkem Ndem

On the first day of November every year, my mother calls to remind me that my birthday is just 9 days away. I don’t know why she does it, but it has since become the tradition. Just as it is a tradition that she reminds me every 10th of November, when it actually is my birthday, that I am destined to birth her granddaughter – seeing as she only has “grandsons everywhere”.

At first, it was cute and I actually would secretly pray that my siblings keep producing sons and leave the mother-given-destiny for me, but as I have gotten older and my mother has become more desperate and tired of waiting for me to fulfill this destiny she bestowed on me, it has become slightly annoying.

As expected, she called on the 1st of this month. Surprisingly, the call sort of took a different and interesting turn. As usual, she asked what the plans were for my birthday and I mentioned a possible Dubai trip with two of my best female friends Uloma (who is also celebrating this November) and Ijeoma.

Then, we somehow drifted into a long gist of the male attention I have had in the last 10 months. I mentioned to her that I recently met a guy who is 50 years old and we are gradually becoming friends. Surprisingly, she went deathly quiet. It was new for me as she almost always praised any male being I mentioned to her and encouraged me to “show him, love”. To liven the air, I went on to say to her that he did not look his age and he did not act too old either. She asked: “Is he married?” I said: “No” then out of the blues, she said: “Don’t marry him.” It was shocking. First of all, I had not mentioned anything suggesting that I was in a relationship with the man, so how did the idea of marrying him come to play? Again, isn’t this the same woman that wants a granddaughter as soon as possible? Oddly, I was in the mood for her drama and was interested in understanding her train of thought, so I asked: “Why?”

Her reasons included the following: at his age, was too old and marriage with a much younger woman will not work; he must be a terrible person to still be single at 50; and most hilarious, he could be my daddy. It was funny because, when I was dating a person I was very slighter older than, she had also complained that the relationship was not fair to me, as he would cheat on me with younger girls if we got married.

Our society, I guess, holds a negative stigma regarding age differences, which causes people to obsess over it. It stipulates that people of a certain age range can only be with people of a certain age range based on their sex as well. We now feel guilt, shame, and disappointment in our selves when we consider the possibility of dating or developing feelings for people outside the indicated age brackets. You are called a ‘Cougar’ if you are 40-year-old woman dating a 25-year-old male; a ‘Sugar daddy’ when you are a 70-year-old man dating a 22-year-old girl; a ‘Runs girl’ or ‘Golddigger’ if you are 17 and dating a 60-year-old man; and a ‘Sugar boy’ if you are 27 dating a 50-year-old woman. The backlash is so strong, it feels out of this world to suggest that such a pair could be bound by genuine love. Somehow we have given ‘age’ more meaning than we should, and we let the number control our existence.

Age, simply, is a number record we keep to remind us of the length of time we have existed. It does not define the reality of who we are or our destiny in life. It should not be this prison it has become, created by our society to deprive us the freedom to do whatever we want or be with whoever we want whenever we want to. If you see yourself happy with someone, do you really think age should be enough justification to re-evaluate what you have or even take a different path? People can wake up any morning and say they are a different age if they want to, and they won’t necessarily suffer any consequences. That is how powerless the number can be. Actually, people have been doing it and getting away with it for ages.

Perhaps she is with an older man because she finds him simple, patient, and easy going, or maybe he is with an older woman because he finds her super brilliant and very caring. Sure, age may affect how physically active we may be with time, but essentially mindset, faith, commitment, and perseverance are the things that actually determine the success of our relationships and life in general. Age is an illusion that does not have any impact until we give it power. We only start limiting ourselves and our happiness when we let age interfere with our mind.

CREDITS: This article is written by Nkem Ndem. Nkem is a dynamic freelance writer and editor who can be reached for content creation(web, T.V, radio), writing and editing (blog, magazine, text), screenwriting, ghost writing, copy proofreading and reviews.

Opinion: Get It Right

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Ugochi Obidiegwu is the CEO of The Safety Chic Brand

The nature of my job and other work means that sometimes you’d be in your office working at 9am but that is my own sleep time to catch up on much needed rest. However, when my phone rings and my hands decide to pick that call, I go straight from dreamland to speaking like I’m also in one corner office on Banana Island. If you hear my “Hello, good morning…”, you will trip. I didn’t even know my siblings had been observing until I finished taking one call one day. My elder sister said, “ahn ahn, ever ready, nobody will know that call woke you from sleep”. Lol.

The truth is you cannot desire to be treated like a professional in anything if you do not act like it. Remember that thing they say about first impressions right? You need to learn to get it together no matter how you feel most especially in this social media age. If you cannot get it together, the next option is to avoid having that conversation at that particular time. Some weeks ago, a conversation between a potential customer and a business owner was circulated on social media. That conversation went South real quick. I think that sometimes we feel that if we do not express ourselves well, we’d look like fools. And then in the process of trying to assert ourselves, we cross the line. We need to learn to get it together. The person at the other end of the conversation almost always has no clue whether you’ve had a bad day or not, whether you’re sleeping or not, whether you’re nervous or not. They just want answers. This post is not to encourage bad behaviour but you have the power to choose how to respond even to bad manners. Remember, word of mouth travels faster than any advertising. So, whenever you want to respond anyhow, just take a second to breathe and think of that.

Getting it together could also be relevant in boy-girl matters or speaking to people you look up to. Another example, a friend of mine tried to hook me up with a “big” guy. Personally, I really do not like hook-ups but she’s a really good friend and she meant well. After checking the guy out (Yes na, we have to check, I know you check too), I was worried about the first conversation we’d have due to certain things I discovered. One day, I saw a message on my phone. After doing all the “O my God” and “What am I going to say” in my mind, I replied. He said he had been wondering how to go about talking to me. Apparently, he had checked me out too (you see) and I also seemed larger than life. I laughed and said, “you too?”, “I was worried about what I’d say to you too”. He was so shocked, he said my response was so cool like I had everything under control, lol. I said well, we have to always get it together. smile.

I’ve had to speak to top management in different organisations and they have no clue of the initial feelings within because I put my feelings aside and act. Sometimes it’s funny the kind of reaction I get. One time, after speaking to the leadership of one Federal Agency, they all paused and were looking at me like did all this just come out from this small girl. Well, I get it together. You can too, focus on the big picture and put your feelings aside.

Have a beautiful new week.

CREDIT: This article is written by Ugochi Obidiegwu. It was first published on https://medium.com/@ugochiobidiegwu/get-it-together-c014d5029f27. You can follow her via @TheSafetyChic on social media

#OpinionSunday Fixing the Challenges Frustrating Tourism in Africa

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The United Nations designated the year 2017 as the International Year for Sustainable Tourism for Development due to tourism’s capacity to enhance economic growth through job creations, attraction of investment, fostering entrepreneurship, preservation of ecosystem and biodiversity, protection of cultural heritage and promotion of empowerment of local communities. Even at the international and national levels, policy makers have come to recognise the potential of tourism and this knowledge is reflecting on the laws and policies being formulated.

Beyond just enhancing inclusive growth and economic development, tourism can complement development strategies aimed at fostering economic diversification and structural transformation within the right policy context. Tourism has the potential to significantly contribute to a nation’s GDP, employment and export earnings. The sector is fairly job-rich, employing comparatively high share of women and youth. On a global scale, women make up between 60 and 70 per cent of the tourism labour force, and half of its workers are aged 25 or younger. It thus has the potential to foster more inclusive growth (United Nations Conference on Trade & Development (UNCTAD), 2017).

Also, considering that globally most international travel takes place within a traveller’s own region and that, with a rising African middle class, if continental disposable incomes increase, there is a greater scope for boosting continental and intra-regional travel in Africa. Tourism helps to generate and spread incomes and has strong spillover effects for poverty reduction through stronger linkages. These stronger linkages propel a multiplier effect that can generate economic benefits at the national level; employment opportunities and poverty reduction at the local level. Sadly in many countries, tourism linkages remain weak and underexploited. As a result, the foreign investors, international tour operators and foreign airline companies are benefiting mostly from the value added of the sector while very limited benefits are available to the destination country and very little flow to the poor (UNCTAD, 2017).

Promotion of peace, justice and strong institutions are necessary in achieving any economic development or goals. Most African nations, however, face tough challenges and constraints in leveraging the benefits of tourism services in trade and economic development. To this end, Jumia Travel, Nigeria’s leading online travel agency examines some 4 major challenges preventing the continent from unlocking the potentials of tourism.

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Intersectoral Linkages

If linkages between tourism and other productive sectors are enhanced, tourism can then promote economic diversification and structural transformation. Unlocking the potential of intersectoral linkages will contribute to structural transformation, aligning of cross-sectoral issues, and included into policy frameworks at the national, regional and local levels.

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Enhancing the capacity of tourism to foster more inclusive growth

Critical to playing an important role in the global fight to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development goals is tourism. No doubt, it will generate economic benefits and boost productive capacities. Beyond these, tourism can foster inclusion by creating employment opportunities among vulnerable groups such as the poor, women, and youth.

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Tapping the potential of intra-regional tourism through deepening regional integration

Because of the increase in the continental and intra-regional tourism in Africa and the opportunities it offers for economic and export diversification, African countries are bound to benefit if they made significant progress with the free movement of persons, currency convertibility and liberalizing air transport services. This would enhance greater access to tourism destinations and boost the competitiveness of destinations. Regional economic communities and countries therefore need to comprehensively plan for intra-regional and continental tourism.

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Harnessing peace and stability for tourism

The development of tourism can foster peace; so is peace essential for tourism. African countries with tourism potential should therefore implement policies that can strengthen the sector. There’s a bi-directional causal relationship between peace and tourism and the effect of peace on tourism is much greater in magnitude than the impact of tourism on peace.

 

Opinion: 10 Steps to Being A Successful Baby Boy By Dr. Joe Abbah

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When you hear the phrase “baby boy,” what comes to your mind? Being a man means not only that you carry yourself in a masculine way but also that you’re willing to work hard, control your emotions, and take responsibility for your actions. Learn the traits of a real man, and how to rise above your circumstances when needed from.

Let me address my fellow men this afternoon. As the “King of Boys”, let me tell you how to be a Baby Boy. This is the . This Baby Boy life is not easy. You will have more foes than enemies. It’s a mixture of admiration and envy, but you’ll be a happy man. Here are the 10 steps to being a successful Baby Boy:

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1. A BABY BOY WORKS HARD:
In case you didn’t know, a Baby Boy works hard. Damn hard! He also works smart. He is strategic and doesn’t waste effort on unproductive activities. You need to work really really hard if you want to be a Baby Boy.

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2. A BABY BOY TREATS HIS WOMAN GOOD:

Real good. Don’t go and join those yeye people that want to treat women like trash. The women will end up treating you like trash. Trust me. A Baby Boy treats his woman with respect. He notices her new hairdo and constantly complements her.

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3. A BABY BOY IS A HAPPY GUY:

 A Baby Boy is generally a happy guy. He laughs a lot and enjoys life. He notices the wonders of nature. The beauty of the rose, the melody of the nightingale, the beauty of the women folk. Don’t go and join “Angry Twitter” o. It’s for frustrated people, not Baby Boys like us.
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4. A BABY BOY KEEPS HIS BODY IN SHAPE:

A good Baby Boy will be fit and keep his body in top top shape. At all times, you chest should protrude more than your stomach. A Baby Boy doesn’t eat everything he sees, just because he can. He exercises his body because he needs a fully functional body for both work and play

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5. A BABY BOY IS IMPECCABLY MANNERED:

You cannot be a good Baby Boy if you are a dullard. Baby Boys are sharp, well read and impeccably mannered. You need to read. You need to be able to take in the opinions of others and respect them, while being firm in your principles and convictions.

6. A BABY BOY IS WELL-GROOMED:

Grooming is VERY important in a Baby Boy’s life. Visit the barber often. NO DIRTY FINGERNAILS! Scrub your feet, abeg, if you can’t afford pedicures. Don’t have hairs sticking out of your nose and ears. NO BODY ODOUR! Good antiperspirant and subtle cologne. NO RAZOR BUMPS!

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7. A BABY BOY IS WELL-DRESSED:

A Baby Boy dresses well, in an understated way. Being fit, he looks like he was born in a suit. DON’T leave the label of your suit on its sleeve. Don’t be a bush man! No white shoes. No rainbow coloured fisherman pants. No loud jewellery. Nice watch. Nice belt. Nice shoes.

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8. A BABY BOY PRAYS TOO:

A Baby Boy exercises his body by working out; he exercises his brain by reading; and he exercises his spirit by praying. Pray hard. Don’t be one of those bitter people that are angry with God. A Baby Boy knows he needs God. He needs the peace and hope that belief in God brings

He treats his female children like princesses and his male children like princes. He finds time to do homework with them. Quarrels with their mother NEVER extends to the kids. He also disciplines & guides them & gives them self belief.
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10. A BABY HAS A GOOD HEART:

Finally, a Baby Boy has a good heart. He gives of his time & money to help others. He derives joy in the happiness of others. No inferiority complex. He is respectful of elders & treats the youth with respect. He protects the weak/vulnerable and fights injustice.

OPINION: HOW PREPARED ARE YOU FOR LIFE’S BATTLE?

You do not prepare for a battle in the battle. You prepare before the first shots are fired. This is also relevant to life.

As a Christian, to really make it on this journey you need a strong spiritual foundation and great friendships. When the battle comes because it will, you will be equipped to slug it out. The Bible says regarding friendships when one falls the other helps him up but woe to that one who falls and is alone. You might make it but it’s tougher.

I had an amazing 2017. 2017 was the year God really stretched me and increased my capacity in different areas. As I’m finishing one task, He’s detailing another and I had to run because timing was part of the task. I was slaying goals for a living, lol.

And the devil detests this. He was looking for a tiny access point to undo all the work. He doesn’t need much space, tiny is a good start point. And this is why you need to be vigilant and guard your access points jealously. It happened in the middle of a project. One day I came on social media, I saw something, it reminded me of another thing/situation I was handling. Before you know it, this tiny thing grew with so many branches/thought processes and for the first time in my entire life, I questioned my self worth. You know how the devil had a conversation with Eve in the garden of Eden? Yes, that’s what happened but it was more vicious. He said quite a lot, I countered with my own assertions based on my stance with God. Despite countering prayerfully, it was a hurtful process, I cried and prayed.

To win life’s battle, you need a strong spiritual foundation and great friendships.

Now, here’s the good part. God started putting me in the hearts of my friends that very moment. Without knowing details, they started praying for me first (you need to cultivate the habit of praying for people when they drop in your spirit before asking questions. Of course you might not know the direction to pray, so pray in the spirit). I have done this for so many people in the past so I wasn’t surprised when they said in our discussions later, I felt the need to pray for you. From that day to the next few days followed prayers and words of affirmation from my friends across the country. When I journalled this incident, one of the things I was grateful for was good and Godly friends. Just imagine I didn’t know who I was in God or I didn’t have people who spoke life into me?

In the eyes of the world, I had it all going for me. I had done some really cool stuff. People wanted half my guts to do their own thing and something wanted to trip me because a tiny door was left open. Guard your access points. Your mind is crucial to your journey, do not allow it to be tuned to the wrong frequency. I am thankful for the grace of God on my life in 2017 and for Godly and awesome friends. My A-team, you rock❤

As a Christian, there is no room for lukewarmness. You’ve got to know who you are and stand up to the enemy. There’s this book, “Sit, Walk, Stand”, by Watchman Nee, that is how your Christian life should be. Ephesians 2: 6- end

You are to SIT as a co-heir in Christ. That gives you so much authority already to handle anything thrown at you. You are to WALK in the way God has ordained you should. All aspects of your life should reflect your WALK. Then you must be ready to STAND up to the enemy. Put on the whole armour of God to withstand the wiles of the enemy. When you’ve got this, be a good friend and cultivate good friendships. You’d be just fine.

Be intentional in 2018.

Ugochi Obidiegwu is the CEO of http://www.thesafetychic.com  – Intentionally grooming a safety conscious generation

Why New Year Resolutions Suck

 

New Year
It’s a chilly morning on Dec. 29th, 2015 in Ile-Ife and the sound of a cock crowing down the street rings in my ear. Crawling up from my bed, I continue a tradition that I have practiced for the past 5 years; I enter a deep reflective state and start to think about all my achievements for 2015, how I had gotten a job before graduating, how I had started making enough money to sustain myself independently, how I had learned to type without looking at the keyboard (lol, stayed up all through the nights competing on typeracer.com for this one), etc.

As I go down this lane, I remember the plans I had made at the beginning of the year, the goals I had and how I had not achieved a lot of them. There was a lot of activity but little direction. Shrugging this off, I begin to formulate the amazing things I wanted to achieve in 2016. Once again, I continued a tradition practiced by millions of people across the globe: I got my notepad/notebook and wrote down my new year resolutions and my goals for the new year.

Here I am, May 2016. The year is moving fast, I can’t find the notepad that held my treasured vision. I can only vaguely remember the goals I wrote down. I’m back into the cycle of activities with a faint idea of the direction my life is heading to. The new year resolutions have come and gone with the 1st quarter of the year and like for many of us, so has the energy that came with.

Fast forward to October 2016, I meet my mentor and he introduces me to a different approach that I’ll forever be grateful for. Permit me to share it with you.
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Introducing The Birthday Goal Setting System


Using this approach, you set your 1-year goals to end with your birthday. This way, you don’t get carried away by the excitement that comes with the end of the year. In my few months of using this strategy, it has helped me easily tie my goals a realistic picture of what I expect to achieve at a particular age. (**not sure how this would work for people born late Dec./early Jan.)

Here’s how it works
i. When writing your new year resolutions, instead of writing down what you intend to achieve for the year, write down the things you would like to achieve by your next birthday
ii. Limit these goals. Don’t write down 10 or 20 things. What I do is to limit them to 4–6 priority goals. I write my goals in form of end results, not activities, that I know equate to success for me
iii. The accountability trick: Break down your goals into quarterly targets and write down the “HOW”. Thinking about how you would achieve these goals would help you to create a clear plan and distance you from wishful thinking.
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I have a mental image of the achievements I aim to have at particular ages. This approach helps me put that image into perspective and tailor my yearly plans as subsets of that grand plan.

Every quarter, I go back to my goals to review them. Life is flexible, it wouldn’t play out the exact way we plan and we have to be flexible with our goals while staying strong on our vision.

This approach is not to downplay the importance of meditation and reflection at the end of a year in preparation for a new one, society has already wired it to be that way. However, as you reflect, do not build castles in the air, focus on concrete plans for your desired life and create a mental & physical roadmap of how you’ll achieve it.

There are a lot of unsolved problems out there and a lot of us are not putting our backs into it yet. Don’t settle for the ordinary when the money/impact is out there to be made, find your strengths, improve them and take some bold moves.
2018 would be better if we decide to make it better. I’ve reviewed my 2nd quarter goals for the year and I am working towards achieving them by August 30th. Find the method that works for you and go make great stuff happen in your field.

Happy New Year people, May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ abound in our lives in the new year.

This article was originally written by Sani Francis, and posted on: medium.com/francis_sani

OPINION: BEFORE YOU APPOINT THAT MEDIA ADVISER

By Ikenna Anene

It was Jim Morrison who said “Whoever controls the media, controls the mind.”

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This, has been tested time and time over and it is the reason public entities ranging from Organisations, Politicians to Public figures, take the media very seriously. Hence the need for a personnel, whether a media consultant or an adviser; whose job is to manage their image and public perception.

They are officially the first point of contact for media (TV, radio, newspapers, online). They write media releases, press conferences and any other communications required. It could include maintaining an entity’s website, facebook page, twitter account and other social media platforms.

Media advisers also monitor the media, to see if the issues important to their client or principal are being mentioned, in case there’s a needs to clarify or make adjustments.

They’re usually the success or undoing of an organisation, government, political or public figure. Hence, they must be strategists who also understand the business of buying and selling; because in the end, it’s all about convincing the buyer and selling the product. It’s all about information management.

Making this selection is usually a daunting task, particularly for politicians and governments in this part of the world, who often turn to writers or commentators who have over time, built a reputation as popular or famous critics, instead of strategists and promoters. Better still, the OGAs compensate theirs cronies with the slot/job; clearly undermining the role.

These respected critics, usually carry along that attitude and modus operandi to their new engagement/assignment, focusing on perceived competitors or opposition. This is typical of an average media adviser in Nigeria at all levels, as they often put on the whole armour of sycophancy and pettiness and then set out to war.

Without being judgemental, all they do the whole time, is exchange banters with opposition in a bid to impress their principals, instead of promoting their activities and works; forgetting that it is the creative stories and pictures you tell and paint to the people, they will believe. Often times, they loose out to their opposition, why? people believe the wrong narratives creatively presented to them by these opposition and detractors.

It will be very unfair, if this piece forgets to resound that the job of a media aide in Nigeria or anywhere in the world, isn’t “moi-moi”; especially when dealing with a multi faceted and over expectant race like Nigerians. Indeed, uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. However, greatness doesn’t come on a platter or to the feeble mind.

The job doesn’t come without its challenges, as media advisers always have to interface with intelligent and smart journalists, sometimes annoying ones who care less of the brown envelope. They also bear the brunt of churning out information on both expected and unexpected topics, and so resort to lies and deceit in many instances. One thing is clear in this age, surpressed truth will always and somehow find its way to the tabloids. People are also over expectant of them.

One is not sure, whether these information managers are genuinely carried away by the accompanying exposure, fame and monetary gains. Understand that it is only but a temporal outing. This consciousness is vital to the success that’ll be recorded.

Nevertheless, Mr media adviser, kindly also understand that your job is to creatively package your product/brand (principal) and sell same to the masses. A media adviser should promote, promote and promote; except ones has an empty principal, who has indeed refused to show working and this is the greatest challenge of a media any aide. Though a rare gift, one must be able to descern when to join issues with every piece of information from the opposing side and detractors.

One who really wants to succeed in this line of job, should never create a team of hungry sychophants, who will only do your bidding, always ready to write silly rejoinders without facts and never question the status quo. These set of people are your greatest enemies. Avoid them. Hungry but creative people, who have a mind of their own, will grow to become very stable; that’s great too.

Although the job expects one to constantly engage annoying with journalists, commentators and critics, one must also endeavour not to loose enjoyed goodwill to lies. There’s really nothing wrong with creatively telling the truth, even if it has to be half the truth.

Oga adviser, if you must lie, remember never to shamelessly tell lies of damaged furnitures and rodents. Never! It will finish off, whatever is left of your reputation and the people will never believe you.

While some school of thought, believe that the job of a media adviser, is to package roasted corn as shawarma and sell to the people. This piece is strongly in opposition. What happens when the corn is unveiled? Rather a roasted corn should be packaged and presented as the best roasted corn, so that even when it’s unwrapped, eaten and doesn’t turn out to be the best, it is corn still.

So, OGA, before you appoint Mr Special Adviser on Media, make sure you’re not an impossible task and then “shine ya eye”.

Do have a great day and week.

Ikenna Anene is a Media Entrepreneur/Strategist, Writer and Development Advocate.

 

Nigeria treats us like slaves’ – but is Biafra the answer?

Leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu greets supporters in Umuahia

It is 50 years since Nigeria’s brutal civil war calling for the secession of Biafra started. By the time it ended in 1970 over one million people had perished. Now a new movement has emerged calling for independence. The BBC’s Tomi Oladipo explores its popularity.

Hidden high in the luscious, green hills of Enugu in south-east Nigeria, down a beaten track – under a sign that says leprosy colony – is the Biafran war veterans’ camp.

Like its location, residents there are verging on obscurity.

Four old men sitting on parallel wooden benches, propped up on metal crutches – swaying and chanting along to an old battle song.

They fought and were crippled in the bloody Biafran war.

“We went to that war with nothing, we went empty-handed,” says Francis Njoku. “Some held machetes, some had sticks. They [Nigerian forces] had machine guns.”

Mr Njoku, now 69, lost his kneecap in a gun battle.

It was a desperate fight for survival. But it ended in a ceasefire and Biafra became part of Nigeria again.

Biafra War veteran Francis Njoku

Biafra war veteran Francis Njoku: “Nigerians are maltreating us – like slaves”

 

At the end of the war, the Nigerian head of state General Yakubu Gowon declared there was “no victor, no vanquished” – this became the motto of reunification.

But for many people in the south-east, the reunion has been an uneasy one.

“If you come to Igbo-land you can see there is no development here,” says Mr Njoku.

It’s a common perception we heard many times here – that Igbo people are marginalised in a Nigeria that only serves the interests of the two other main ethnic groups – the Hausa and Yoruba.

Although government statistics show that poverty rates are far higher in the north than other regions, there are some genuine complaints.

In almost 30 years of democracy, Nigeria hasn’t had an Igbo president.

“We still need [Biafra],” says Mr Njoku. “Nigerians are maltreating us – like slaves.

It’s a strong sentiment and one that a new crop of activists is playing on. Among them a new leader has emerged.

Despite bail conditions saying he cannot speak to the press, Nnamdi Kanu invited us for an interview. He also invited his many supporters to greet us.

We were to meet in his father’s compound in the south-eastern town of Umuahia – the last bastion of the Biafran state before its surrender.

As we approached Umuahia it was clear that the crowds were there for our benefit.

We had arranged the interview the afternoon before and in that time he had gathered up to 1,000 people – they surrounded his father’s compound waving huge striped flags, carrying the Biafran symbol of a half-rising sun, and foghorns – chanting their support under the pouring rain.

Senior government and police officials live a few hundred metres away but no attention was paid to their presence.

The cheers escalated to roars as they spotted Mr Kanu emerge onto the balcony of the house with his fists raised.

Nnamdi Kanu with cheering crowd

He has gold and black cloth wrapped around his shoulders and a matching gold cap on his black suede designer loafers. “They’re calling for Biafra,” he says softly, with a smile.

All of this for a cause that has him facing treason-related charges in court.

“Basic human development, basic economic development, basic social development, can no longer be attained for the simple reason that there exists in the polity mutual suspicion, mutual hatred, mutual resentment,” he says.

“So the best thing to do is to separate.”


Biafra at a glance:

States claimed by Ipob for an independent Biafran state

IPOB claims these existing states would make up an independent Biafra

 

  • First republic of Biafra was declared by Nigerian military officer Odumegwu-Ojukwu in 1967
  • He led his mainly ethnic Igbo forces into a deadly three-year civil war that ended in 1970
  • More than one million people lost their lives, mostly because of hunger
  • Decades after Biafra uprising was quelled by the military, secessionist groups have attracted the support of many young people
  • They feel Nigeria’s central government is not investing in the region
  • But the government says their complaints are not particular to the south-east

Mr Kanu is calling for Biafran independence through a referendum.

“We just want to control our political destiny so we can build factories, [build] our roads, cities, bridges, not having to depend on somebody in [the capital city] Abuja.”

The Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob) movement that he leads believes an independent region will resolve the issue of the marginalization of the Igbos but they also want to bring the non-Igbo, oil-rich Niger Delta into the breakaway state.

They insist it was part of the original Biafra.

“Should any other part of Nigeria wish to join Biafra they are welcome to do so, as long as they are Judeo-Christian… the value system that underpins Biafra.”

The movement for Biafra clearly has significant influence around the south-east of Nigeria.

plaques and portraits dedicated to Nnamdi Kanu the Igbo leader.

Nnamdi Kanu’s father’s house is full of plaques praising him

 

A recent stay-at-home protest ordered by Ipob was heeded in many towns. However it seems from many people we spoke to in the region that while they support the idea of Biafra, they are not clear as to where it may take them.

The generation that witnessed the war insists on pacifism, as the men at the veterans’ camp told us.

“We are talking about dialogue, not by fighting,” said Mr Njoku.

Some are profoundly afraid of where the current rhetoric could lead.

Reverend Moses Iloh is an Igbo but he grew up in the north and now lives in the south-western commercial hub of Lagos.

When the war broke out, he moved to the Biafran Republic to work with the Red Cross.

“The war was one of the crudest you can find,” he recalls. “Sometimes there would be more than 50 or 100 children – you would dig a big trench and pour their dead bodies in. I was there. I am not telling you a lie. The suffering was so bad.”

Like many Igbos, he supports their ethnic solidarity but sternly warns that any attempts to secede again would be catastrophic.

“Nigerians will not let them go, they will slaughter them – and the whole world will turn their heads and say it’s an internal affair.”

Pro-Biafra supporters in Nigeria - November 2015

In response to the recent pro-Biafra agitation, a group in northern Nigeria issued a threat, giving all Igbos in the region three months to leave.

The move received widespread condemnation, even in the north, but reflected the delicate nature of Nigeria, a country created when hundreds of different ethnic groups were brought together by the British colonial powers.

While the Igbos comprise one of the three largest ethnic groups, they have fewer states than the Hausas in the north and the Yorubas in the south-west, and subsequently get a smaller budget allocation.

This, some feel, puts them behind the other regions. The south-east has not been at the forefront of Nigeria’s development and none of its cities are major economic hubs.

Path of uncertainty?

Over the years the Nigerian government has always ruled out the possibility of the country’s fragmentation. Acting President Yemi Osinbajo recently addressed the Biafra issue:

“Clearly our strength is in our diversity, that we are greater together than apart,” he said. “Brotherhood across tribes and faiths is possible”.

Top Igbo politicians recently rejected calls for Biafra but stressed the need for fairness and equality.

Though for some, these leaders are the problem, entrenched in the corruption that plagues Nigerian politics.

Mr Kanu has called on his followers to boycott upcoming local and national elections.

The people of the south-east are left with a choice: Stick with their current leaders – and Nigeria – or choose a much less certain path.

CREDITS: This article is written by Tomi Oladipo, and was culled from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-40506251

Five Reasons Nigerian Children Are Not Speaking Their Mother tongue

native-kids-featured.jpg

In the past children spoke Nigeria’s indigenous languages namely Yoruba, Igbo, and Hausa fluently and unashamedly. However, today, the complete opposite is the case. Kids can barely communicate in Efik or Idoma without adding a bit of English.

The consequences of this are that many of these languages are facing extinction while some of them have gone extinct. A research that is cited by those concerned to lend credence to the import of indigenous languages is that of former Minister of education, Prof. Babs Fafunwa.

The late Prof made a case for the mother tongue as the medium of education for the first 12 years of the child’s life. Through an organized mother-tongue education program, they discovered children taught in the Yoruba language performed better. Regardless, it has not changed the fortunes of these languages because kids have refused to communicate.

In line with this, we share five reasons children are not speaking their mother tongue.

1.Parents don’t speak the languages to them

Parents don’t speak their mother tongue to their children anymore. In fact, some of these parents when they go for attending events one of the best hotels in Lagos, they order their children not to speak the language. How can such a child learn the language? Parents should speak more to their kids in their mother tongue.

2.It is tagged vernacular

In some schools today, Yoruba, Hausa, and Igbo among other languages are banned because they are considered vernacular. A child who speaks his or her mother tongue would be penalized. So from the formative years of these children, they already have the perception that speaking their mother tongue is bad.

3.They are uncivilized

Many people believe that you are uncivilized or local if you speak your mother tongue. So, in other to join the bandwagon and be accepted, they ditch Ibibio for English. This is all in the name of being civilized. Children have also been caught in this web

4.It is not compulsory in primary and secondary schools

While English is compulsory in secondary schools today, the indigenous languages are not even though a child must study one of these languages. Children will think the languages are a joke. Hence, they won’t bother to learn or speak it.

5.Technology

The engagement or interaction of children with technology is entirely in English. Their smartphone, video games, laptop and other tech gadgets are in English. So since many of them spend so much time with these gadgets, they don’t have anything to do with the languages. This is a challenge to Nigerian developers to design tech gadgets in the indigenous languages.