Four Countries With the Easiest Visa Procedures For International Students

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Over time studying abroad has actually become more accessible to students in a number of countries. You only need to do your research well enough to reveal these countries with good tertiary institutions and relatively easy visa procedures for international students, and take advantage of their offers. Here are four countries with the easiest visa procedures for international students.

Canada

Canada is considered as one of the top study destinations in the world because of its great universities, reasonable cost of living and beautiful environment and landscape. The country has quite an easy procedure for students to apply for study visas. The process basically requires the student to first apply for and gain entry into a Canadian university and then obtain a Canadian study permit, which is renewable for the length of the students study period. The best part of a Canadian study visa is that, not only can an individual study as an international student, he/she can also work as a student, obtain a post-graduation work permit, gain Canadian work experience and learn about pathways towards Canadian citizenship. Also, another great perk is that you can bring family members with you! You can learn more about studying in Canada by visiting the Canadian Immigration and Citizenship website.

 

Germany

What is better than a country that has abolished tuition and fees at public universities? Nothing! Germany is such a country and another great place for international students to consider. Aside having an easy visa procedure for international students, it has a reasonable cost of living and some of the world’s finest universities. Basically, the process of getting a German study visa is to first gain admission into a German University, then complete a visa application and attend an interview. A positive outcome sees you obtaining a German study visa that allows you to study and work in the country. In addition, if you want to go to Germany just learn their language, you can obtain a language-study visa that lasts for a good two years and be on your way to learning the awesome language.

 

New Zealand

This is another country with an easy visa procedure for international students. Basically, you start by checking out the types of study visas the country offers and then begin your application process. You can also contact the program or university that accepted you and ask for their help in your visa application process; they can provide you with valuable information.

 

Ireland

This country has such an easy visa procedure for international students that it can all be done online. Surprising right? Of course, you will need proof of your acceptance to a program of study and then the required paperwork. You can also contact the international students services office of the institution for assistance with the process, if you need it. An Irish study visa also gives you access to part-time employment depending on your program’s eligibility.

Behold the Complete List Of Constitution Amendments Made By Nigerian Senate

Nigerian Senate

The Nigerian Senate on Wednesday amended some sections of the constitution listed for amendment in the Fourth Constitution alteration bill.

The lawmakers, who had on Tuesday debated the general principles of the bills, slated the clause by clause voting for Wednesday.

Below are the 32 new amendments made by the legislators at the upper chamber of the National Assembly:

1. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (Fourth Alteration) Bill, No. 1, 2017 (Composition of Members of the Council of State) – This bill seeks to amend the Third Schedule to include former Presidents of the Senate and Speakers of the House of Representatives in the composition of the Council of State.

2. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (Fourth Alteration) Bill, No. 2, 2017 (Authorisation of Expenditure) – seeks to alter sections 82 and 122 of the Constitution to reduce the period within which the President or Governor of a state may authorise the withdrawal of monies from the consolidated revenue fund in the absence of an appropriation act from 6 months to 3 months.

3. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (Fourth Alteration) Bill, No. 3, 2017 (Devolution of Powers) – This seeks to alter the Second Schedule, Part I & II to move certain items to the Concurrent Legislative List to give more legislative powers to States. It also delineates the extent to which the federal legislature and state assemblies can legislate on the items that have been moved to the Concurrent Legislative List.

4. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (Fourth Alteration) Bill, No. 4, 2017 (Financial Autonomy of State Legislatures) – This alteration seeks to provide for the funding of the Houses of Assembly of States directly from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the State.

5. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (Fourth Alteration) Bill, No. 5, 2017 (Distributable Pool Account) – This Bill seeks to alter section 162 of the Constitution to abrogate the State Joint Local Government Accounts and empower each Local Government Council to maintain its own special account into which all allocations due to the Local Government Council shall be directly paid from the Federation Account and from the Government of the State and also make provisions for savings in the Federation Account before distribution to other levels of Government.

6. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (Fourth Alteration) Bill, No. 6, 2017 (Local Government) – The alterations here are aimed at strengthening local government administration in Nigeria by guaranteeing the democratic existence, funding, and tenure of local government councils.

7. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (Fourth Alteration) Bill, No. 7, 2017 (State Creation and boundary Adjustment) – This essentially seeks to alter section 8 of the Constitution to ensure that only democratically elected local government councils participate in the process of State creation and boundary adjustment. It also removed ambiguities in the extant provisions to enhance clarity with respect to the procedure for state creation.

8. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (Fourth Alteration) Bill, No. 8, 2017 (The Legislature) – This alteration seeks among other things to alter sections 4, 51, 67, 68, 93 and 109 of the Constitution to provide immunity for members of the legislature in respect of words spoken or written at plenary sessions or at Committee proceedings; institutionalize legislative bureaucracy in the Constitution like the Civil Service Commission in the executive and the Judicial Service Commission in the judiciary; and, obligate the President to attend a joint meeting of the National Assembly once a year to deliver a state of the nation address.

9. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (Fourth Alteration) Bill, No. 9, 2017 (Political Parties and Electoral Matters) – This seeks to alter section 134 & 179 to provide sufficient time for INEC to conduct bye-elections; and section 225 to empower the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to de-register political parties for non-fulfillment of certain conditions such as breach of registration requirements and failure to secure/win either a Presidential, Governorship, Local Government chairmanship or a seat in the National or State Assembly or a Councillorship.

10. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (Fourth Alteration) Bill, No. 10, 2017 (Presidential Assent) – This seeks to alter sections 58, 59 and 100 to resolve the impasse where the President or Governor neglects to signify his/her assent to a bill from the National Assembly or withhold such assent. This is to enable timely passage of laws for good governance.

11. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (Fourth Alteration) Bill, No. 11, 2017 (Timeframe for submitting the Names Ministerial or Commissioners Nominees) – This Bill seeks to alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to set a timeframe within which the President or a Governor shall forward to the Senate or State House of Assembly names of nominees for confirmation as Ministers or Commissioners; provide for attachment of portfolio and thirty-five percent affirmative action for women.

12. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (Fourth Alteration) Bill, No. 12, 2017 (Appointment of Minister from the FCT) – The Bill seeks to alter section 147 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to provide for the appointment of a Minister from the FCT, Abuja to ensure that the FCT is represented in the Executive Council of the Federation.

13. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (Fourth Alteration) Bill, No. 13, 2017 (Change of Names of some Local Government Councils) – This Bill seeks to alter the Constitution to provide for a change in the names of some Local Government Councils and the definition of the boundary of the FCT, Abuja.

14. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (Fourth Alteration) Bill, No. 14, 2017 (Independent Candidature) – This seeks to alter sections 65, 106, 131, and 177 of the Constitution. This is aimed at expanding the political space and broadening the options for the electorate by allowing for independent candidacy in all elections.

15. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (Fourth Alteration) Bill, No. 15, 2017 (The Police) – This Bill seeks to alter the Constitution in sections 34, 35, 39, 214, 215, 216 and the Third Schedule to change the name of the Police from “Nigeria Police Force” to “Nigeria Police” in order to reflect their core mandate.

16. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (Fourth Alteration) Bill, No. 16, 2017 (Restriction of Tenure of the President and Governor) – This Bill seeks to restrict a person who was sworn-in as President or Governor to complete the term of the elected President from contesting for the same office for more than one term.

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17. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (Fourth Alteration) Bill, No. 17, 2017 (Separation of the Office of Accountant-General) – This Bill seeks to alter section 84 of the Constitution to establish the office of the Accountant-General of the Federal Government separate from the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation.

18. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (Fourth Alteration) Bill, No. 18, 2017 (Office of the Auditor-General) – This Bill seeks to make the office of the Auditor-General for the Federation and for the State financially independent by placing them on first-line charges in the Consolidated Revenue funds of the Federation and of the States.

19. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (Fourth Alteration) Bill, No. 19, 2017 (Separation of the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and of the State from the office of the Minister or Commissioner for Justice) – This Bill seeks to alter sections 150, 174, 195, 211, 318 and the Third Schedule to the Constitution to separate the office of the Minister or Commissioner for Justice from that of the Attorney-General of the Federation and of states so as to create an independent office of the Attorney-General of the Federation insulated from partisanship. It also seeks to redefine the role of the Attorney-General, provide a fixed tenure, provide the age and qualification for appointment and also for a more stringent process for the removal of the Attorney General.

20. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (Fourth Alteration) Bill, No. 20, 2017 (Judiciary) – This bill contains a vast array of alterations with regards to the Judiciary such as the composition of the National Judicial Council, and empowering Justices of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal to hear certain applications in chambers thereby enhancing the speedy dispensation of justice.

21. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (Fourth Alteration) Bill, No. 21, 2017 (Determination of Pre-Election Matters) – This Bill seeks to among other things make provisions for timelines for the determination of pre-election disputes.

22. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (Fourth Alteration) Bill, No. 22, 2017 (Civil Defence) – This Bill seeks to reflect the establishment and core functions of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps. It is a consequential amendment because of the inclusion of the national security and civil defence as an item in the Exclusive Legislative List under the Second Schedule to the Constitution.

23. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (Fourth Alteration) Bill, No. 23, 2017 (Citizenship and Indigeneship) – This Bills seeks to alter section 25 of the Constitution to guarantee a married woman’s right to choosing either her indigeneship by birth or by marriage for the purposes of appointment or election.

24. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (Fourth Alteration) Bill, No. 24, 2017 (Procedure for overriding Presidential veto in Constitutional Alteration) – This Bill seeks to among other things provide the procedure for passing a Constitution Alteration Bill where the President withholds assent.

25. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (Fourth Alteration) Bill, No. 25, 2017 (Removal of certain Acts from the Constitution) – This Bill seeks to alter section 315 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to remove the law-making powers of the Executive Arm of Government and delete the National Youth Service Corps Decree, the Public Complaints Commission Act, the National Security Agencies Act and the Land Use Act from the Constitution, so that they can be subject to regular process of amendment.

26. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (Fourth Alteration) Bill, No. 26, 2017 (Investments and Securities Tribunal) – This bill seeks to establish the Investments and Securities Tribunal under the Constitution.

27. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (Fourth Alteration) Bill, No. 27, 2017 (Reduction of Age Qualification) – This Bill seeks to alter the Sections 65, 106, 131, 177 of the Constitution to reduce the age qualification for the offices of the President and Governor and membership of the Senate, House of Representatives, and the State Houses of Assembly.

28. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (Fourth Alteration) Bill, No. 28, 2017 (Authorisation of Expenditure 1) – This Bill seeks to provide for the time within which the President or Governor shall lay the Appropriation Bill before the National Assembly or House of Assembly to encourage the early presentation and passage of Appropriation Bills.

29. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (Fourth Alteration) Bill, No. 29, 2017 (Deletion of the NYSC Decree from the Constitution) – The Bill seeks to alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to delete the National Youth Service Corps Decree from the Constitution so that it can be subject to the regular process of amendment.

30. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (Fourth Alteration) Bill, No. 30, 2017 (Deletion of the Public Complaints Commission Act from the Constitution) – The Bill seeks to alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to delete the Public Complaints Commission Act from the Constitution so that it can be subject to the regular process of amendment.

31. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (Fourth Alteration) Bill, No. 31, 2017 (Deletion of the National Securities Act from the Constitution) – The Bill seeks to alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to delete the National Securities Act from the Constitution so that it can be subject to the regular process of amendment.

32. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (Fourth Alteration) Bill, No. 32, 2017 (Deletion of the Land Use Act from the Constitution) – The Bill seeks to alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to delete the Land Use Act from the Constitution so that it can be subject to the regular process of amendment.

EIGHT HELPFUL TIPS FOR GETTING A STUDY SCHOLARSHIP

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Winning a scholarship isn’t as hard as you might think, there are certain tips that can help you maximize the process and achieve your goal of winning a study scholarship. Here are 8 helpful tips for getting a study scholarship.

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1.Start Your Search As Soon As Possible

When trying to get a study scholarship, you need to start your search as soon as possible because if you wait till the last minute you will miss half the deadlines. There are many scholarship schemes out there for you to take advantage of, you just need to start your search as soon as possible, even before your final year if possible. Be sure to consider scholarships from private foundations and government bodies, in addition to those of the universities you intend to apply to. Even company scholarship schemes, should be considered as long as you’re eligible.

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2. Apply To Every Scholarship To Which You Are Eligible

This is one of the best strategies to ensure you win at least one scholarship. If you work hard and are able to win more than one, you will have options to choose from. In addition, some of these scholarships are in form of monetary grants, and if you are able to win enough of these scholarships, the money can add up into what can sustain you as a full scholarship.

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3. Ensure You Have a Professional Online Profile

This is more of a precautionary move, in case your online profile is considered during the screening of your application. Ensure you use a professional email address on your applications and clean up the content of your social media accounts, removing inappropriate and immature material.

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4. Be Weary Of Scholarship Scams

There is nothing like a ‘guaranteed scholarship’ and you don’t pay an application fee for a scholarship. Don’t be too eager or desperate when searching for scholarships, so you don’t fall into the trap of fraudsters. Ensure you confirm the credibility of whatever private foundation or government body you intend to apply to, before going forward with the application. This is because there are some fraudsters out there posing as ‘scholarship companies’ to take your money and disappear. You, therefore, have to be smart about your scholarship search.

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5. Keep A Good Record of All Documents

You shouldn’t be looking to get the necessary application documents together at the last minute, instead you should ensure that all documents that are likely to be required are ready or you at least have a way to easily get them ready when needed. You shouldn’t try to get needed documents together at the last minute to avoid making mistakes with your application and  missing important deadlines.

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6. Consider Scholarships With Smaller Awards

Scholarships with smaller awards are usually less competitive and easier to win, so you can consider applying for these. To maximize this option, you can apply for as many of such smaller scholarship awards that you’re eligible for, and work hard to win as many of them as you can. Eventually, the awards can add up to something significant enough to help you with most of your study goals, if not all.

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7. Make Sure Your Application is Good

Try to figure out what is expected of you on the application and be authentic with your delivery of this. Brush up your essay writing skills and refine them to excellence so this can help boost the strength of your application in the essay writing category. Basically, do your research well, and ensure you give all it takes to submit an outstanding application by all standards.

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8. Don’t Be Deterred By Failure

Yes, you might get a few negative responses on your scholarship applications but it’s not the end of the world. Don’t give up. Even if you don’t win a scholarship on entry into higher institution, you can still continue to apply for some available to you while you’re studying. Eventually, you will get one because like most things in life, the most successful scholarship winners are the ones that keep trying. Don’t let failure stop you, let it be a stepping stone to your success story.

 

FIVE THINGS YOU PROBABLY DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT IMO

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Imo is one of the states in the South East of Nigeria, located in the heart of Igboland. Its capital city is Owerri, the state’s largest city, and the state’s main economic stay is agriculture and commerce. It’s a bustling state with a lot to offer in culture, history and even business and investment opportunities. We share 5 things about Owerri you probably didn’t know.

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  1. It has a Zoological Garden

Owerri, the capital Imo State, is the home of the Nekede Botanical Garden, a well-tended area for displaying varieties of plants labelled with their botanical names. It’s a spectacular garden on a large landscape with ever-changing beauty. It’s one of the major tourist attractions of Imo state. Some hotels to lodge in while visiting include Rockview Hotels, Santiago Suite etc.

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2. It’s the Location of the Amadioha Shrine

Well, this is not exactly a place the majority might want to visit, but some might find it interesting to know Imo state is the location of the shrine of the famous deity, Amadioha. Amadioha is the Igbo traditional god of lightning and thunder. The Amadioha shrine is particularly situated in Ngo Okpala Local Government area of Imo State.

3. It has Its Very Own Signature Hill (Peculiar to the State Alone)

The rolling hills of Okigwe is located in the north-eastern part of Imo State. It possesses very attractive and appealing qualities that lists it as one of the major tourist attractions in Imo State and in Nigeria. The hill consists of a series of expanding hills with varying heights and ruggedness. It’s indeed a fascinating attraction and one of nature’s finest works. The hills provide a suitable site for camping and picnicking with friends and family, and it’s a great site to enjoy the endowments of nature.

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4. The State Was Named After the Imo River

Imo State came into existence in 1976, after the Nigerian Civil War. It was originally part of the now defunct East Central State created in 1967 by General Yakubu Gowon. The state was created at Ngwoma named after the Imo River. After the state creation, part of it was later split off in 1991 as Abia State and another part became Ebonyi State.

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5. It has One of the Biggest and Most Viable Oil Palm Plantations in West Africa

The Ada Palm Plantation Complex situated in Imo State, is believed to be the biggest and most viable oil palm plantations in West Africa. The palm plantation was established in 1974, occupies about 4,310 hectares of land, with a housing estate and was one of the nation’s major sources of foreign exchange before the discovery of Petroleum.

FIVE SURVIVAL TIPS FOR RAISING A LARGE FAMILY

 

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Raising a large family can be a little tasking, but there are ways to make it all just a little easier.

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  1. Be Organized

This is one of the most important ways to efficiently manage a large family. You must learn to plan for everything around your family. All you need is 10 to 15 minutes to yourself to lay down a plan to help guide your family related activities, and this will do wonders in helping you sail through the day. These few minutes can be early in the morning before you get up from bed. A ‘To-Do’ list to prioritize your activities can help with this, and a calendar to keep track of everyone’s schedules can also be priceless in helping to keep you organized.

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2. Plan Your Meals

It’s very helpful to put together menus (or meal plans) for a week, two weeks or even a month to help save a lot of stress in the area of meal preparation. Meal planning helps take away the burden of having to consider each day what the family will eat. With a good meal plan, all you need to bother about is how to get the ingredients for the meals you’ve already laid down in the plan. A meal plan also helps you shop efficiently for groceries, since you already know what you need, and it also makes it easier for you to buy in bulk, which saves you a lot of time and money.

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3. Try To Avoid Clutter

Teach your children at a young age to keep their things organized. Your spouse should also try to pull their own weight in this area. Clutter is synonymous with large families and it can be extremely frustrating to have to clear it up all the time. So, getting everyone aware of their responsibility to keep things as organized as possible can relieve some of the stress in this area. Also, you should try to commit about 10 to 15 minutes of your time daily to just clearing things up in the house, to prevent them from mounting up into a clutter.

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4. Make Time for One Another

Large families tend not to be so close-knit because there is usually a lot going on and family members hardly have time to just be with each other. Try to address this by making it a priority to make out private time for one another. Use these times to strengthen familial bonds and to get comfortable being around each other, to really know one another. Make time to be together and let it be clear that the time spent together as a family is the most valuable of any time spent.

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5. Save Time and Money by Doing Things in Groups

Let your children share a bedroom, of course this depends on their number and on the size of the room. For example, five children can be split between five bedrooms. Plan your vacations as a group and take advantage of group and family discounts. Teach your children how to take care of one another, and how to manage portions like food portions etc. In addition, you can save time by grouping your errands so you can take care of as many things as you comfortably can within the same time.

SIX USEFUL CAREER BUILDING TIPS FOR GRADUATES

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Building a career can be exciting, it can also be stressful and sometimes frustrating. Having the knowledge of what to do right when building a career can help to significantly ease the whole process.

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  1. Start Building Your Network Early

Remember the age old saying, ‘It’s not what you know, but who you know’. While this doesn’t prove true every time, there is a still a truckload of truth in it. As a young graduate, it’s important to start building your professional network early. Make connections with people, whether physically or on social media, get their contacts, relate with them and see where it leads you. Also, be willing to reciprocate any help you intend to receive from these people, so you won’t seen as self-serving.

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2. Build Your Career on What You’re Passionate About

The honest truth is that your interest in whatever you’re not passionate about will fizzle out sooner than you expect. Yes, initially the business might be bring in money and keep you satisfied for a period, but soon after you’ll become tired, restless and eventually go in search of career fulfillment. So why don’t you just start early? Find what you’re passionate about doing and learning, figure out how to monetize it and build your career around it. But if it’s money that you’re passionate about, then by all means, you’re free to go after it. The crux of the matter is for you to build your career around whatever you’re passionate about.

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3. Find The Right Company

It’s a well known fact that because of the employment situation in Nigeria, trying to be patient enough to search for the right company to work for might be impractical, but you should try as much as can to do so. This is because finding the right company to work for, goes a long way in helping to build your career in the corporate world, especially if you don’t intend to become an entrepreneur. You don’t want to end up working for a company that will waste the best years of your corporate life without impacting your life, helping you grow or expand your opportunities in any way. Making the mistake of working for such a company can unfortunately end up being irredeemable, so you need to be careful to find and choose the right company to work for.

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4. Don’t Let Failure Devastate You

You just shouldn’t. This is because as you build your career many doors will be shut against you before one opens, and this doesn’t mean you’re not good enough or you’re a failure, it just means that you should learn from your mistakes, get better and keep trying until you breakthrough (and you’ll learn that eventually, you will breakthrough). As long as you keep trying, no matter how many doors are closed against you, not all doors will; if you don’t give up, a door will eventually be opened to you. It’s just a simple fact of life. So, perseverance, grit, determination and commitment are very vital to building a successful career.

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5. Have a Plan

How can you build something without a plan? That question sums it all up. Even though things might not or most likely will not work out exactly according to your plan, have one nonetheless to guide you. You can make adjustments to the plan as life happens, but don’t abandon having one. There is no way to successfully build a career without a plan.

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6. Have a Support System

Whether family or friends, have trusted loved ones that will make up a support system to help encourage you when things inevitably get tough. This will go along way in helping you keep your footing, continue moving forward and successfully build your career even when things get tough. If you’re not good at discerning those you can trust, then hire a career coach or psychologist to help you with this. You can also consider seeking help from religious support systems, if you’re comfortable with it.

 

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