Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Winning the World Cup: A Shot at National Peace

As far as I can remember, Nigeria's most joyous and peaceful moment where times when any cadre of Nigeria's national football team achieved a major feat. 1992, 1994, 1996, these where times majorly remembered for good.

This is not to deny the fact that even at these times, there were no existing national crisis, but the soccer feat seemed to suppress all. It's the only time you'll see a Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo man sit together sharing the same expectations, moments of joy and even drinks. For once, they're all thinking Nigerian! Its times like that you'll see a Hausa man celebrate an easterner (e.g. Okocha) and forgetting the existing ethnic rifts existing between them. At times where Nigeria happened to be the victors in these tournaments, there's always a "temporary" increase in national patriotism; it was cool to be identified as a Nigerian! There was always an overwhelming sense of national peace...

Governments Failure

One of the most important times after a major achievement is the morning after. It tests the victor’s ability to build momentum on the already existing achievement to better his life, character and self esteem; "riding on the wings of victory". Unfortunately, our Government has continuously failed in surfing on this turf of national calm, joy and "temporary" patriotism. Just when people are beginning to believe again and build a strong sense of national pride, the morning after always leaves our hopes dampened as we made to face the reality of the failing government. We're awakened by a fresh corruption scandal or news of Governments official malfeasance or dereliction of duty. All these act as a slap on our face as if trying to wake us all up from a fantasy of national well being to a reality of national "un-wellness".

Our shot this time

As the world soccer fiesta draws nigh (9 days), to kick off on African soil, we are faced yet with another opportunity, a shot at a "temporary" wave of national peace and all that accompanies it, another chance to boost patriotism and national pride, another chance to be proud to identify with Nigeria, another opportunity for an Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba man to sit together in merriment and have a drink together, another chance for Nigeria to work!

Now, more than ever before, is a time where I believe that the super eagles have to live up to its creed of being super! Judging from the backdrop of current happenings in the country, happenings that portray a strong indication of hope, a super eagles victory at the mondial will meet Nigeria and hence Nigerians in good fate. It will further add to the already existing momentum of National transformation.

In this much bigger game of national transformation, this shot would be very helpful!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Dangote to Buy 16% of Arsenal

Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote is reportedly planning to enter the race to snap up the 16% stake of Arsenal's fourth largest shareholder Lady Nina Bracwell-Smith. Dangote, one of Africa's richest men, is said to have registered his interest in the shareholding being sold by Bracewell-Smith, according to The Sunday Times.

The move could spark a takeover battle for the Gunners, with other contenders including its two biggest current investors - Stan Kroenke and Alisher Usmanov - who would be forced to launch a full takeover bid for the club if they secured the stake. Mr Dangote is reportedly a passionate football fan and has the wealth to go head-to-head with sports entrepreneur Kroenke and Russian oligarch Usmanov.

The Nigerian industrialist has stood for the role of president of the Nigerian football association and is believed to have donated cash to the Nigerian national football team.

Mr Dangote founded manufacturing empire Dangote Group and was formerly head of the Nigerian stock exchange. He was named as the 261st richest person in the world on the 2009 Forbes rich list, with an estimated fortune of $2.5 billion.

Finance house Blackstone is now thought to have placed him on the shortlist to buy the Arsenal stake, with Lady Bracewell-Smith is said to be seeking £160 million for her stake after putting it on the sale block earlier this year.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

UNILAG “resumes”: An unpatriotic act?

I believe that having come this far in their struggle for what is right; it will only be fair for ASUU to get their demands met. Well this ambition may be jeopardized as factions are abstractly being created among member bodies of the union. Just recently, several students of the University of Lagos received text messages on their mobile phones instructing them to return to the halls of residence (indirectly, to resume). They say that they are to return to complete their exams and then go for vacation till the strike ends.

Now let me give you an analogy of what this sounds like. It's like one embarks on a fast and few hours before he's to break his fast for that day, he says to himself, "let me just have a drink of water, afterall, I'll still be fasting for the rest of the week". They didn't categorically state that they'll be resuming but intending to conduct an examination is more or less resumption to me. If UNILAG pulls through with this, I'm very certain that several other schools will follow suite and the strike will be amputated and the FG will have the last laugh….

To UNILAG, I say, those that endure to the end shall be saved. I don't want to have the feeling that I spent all this time at home and nothing was achieved. Please leave your comments.

Yaradua: What are you thinking?

Well, I really wonder what our dear President thinks…I know that he's a President and he's meant to have much on his mind but I wonder how much he really has, I question the quality of his thought and plans he has for our dear Nigeria. It has been just a little over two years into his tenure and he says he is still "planning". That makes me wonder what he was doing before he got elected into office. So what really is Mr President thinking about? As harsh as this may sound, he seems rather inept in the discharge of his duties…it's like he's just drifting by and filling a four year gap. If annals were to be written of the works of past President, it'll look something like this:

  • General Abdusallam Abubakar: Released imprisoned icons (Obasanjo, Diya…), successfully handed over to a civilian administration
  • Olusegun Obasanjo: Allowed GSM operators in, achieved some debt cancellation, probably deregulation, NAFDAC, EFCC, ICPC e.t.c
  • Yaradua: …….successfully handed over(hopefully)

I really hope that this will not be the case though. Well I did my own little review of different situations happening around the nation and I'm still trying to evaluate the quality of Mr presidents reactions to them. Maybe I should just leave you to make yours too.

1. Amnesty

Now we're granting pardon and cash (20,000per month and 1500 per day for food) for militants who lay down their arms with the government. The militants, via their spokesman, have demanded for 300 thousand naira for every AK 47 rifle and pack of magazine handed over to the government and also that the FG build a 3 bedroom bungalow for each militant in a location that the militant desires. Now, on the part of the militants, that raises a question, was this fight all for the money or for the collective interest of the south-south people. If no, why are they willing to trade their plight for these self gaining demands? On the part of the government, if compensation is given to the militants, what is the guarantee that in the nearest future the militants won't pick up arms again and demand for more settlements? We're paying to keep them greedy and we're rendering them jobless. 20,000 naira per month just for laying down arms! I guess I better go sign up with MEND and partake of this kind gesture of my government. Well I don't have a full solution for the Niger Delta crisis but I really don't think this is a well thought out plan. I'd rather suggest that the militants lay down their arms for drills in addition to the payments thus making themselves industrially useful to the development of their region. I also suggest that the government meet the initial demand of their plight (infrastructural development of the Niger Delta region and a proportionate allocation of FG revenue to the oil rich region) by laying down an implementable scheme that will executed over a certain period of time.

2. Boko Haram (Western Education is Sin)

On this grounds, I can boldly say that Mr President and President Bush of the US share common ground. About Six months before September 11 attack on world trade centre in the US, Pres. Bush received intelligence report on likely terrorist attacks in the US especially at New York but instead he decided to embark on a vacation and left the intelligence reports to manifest to a major terrorist attack. Nevertheless, our own Mr President decided to raise the stakes, he received 21 security alerts on book haram activities and did NOTHING! Not only him, but also the Borno State Gov was fully aware of their activities and yet prevented security agencies attempt to curb the activities of the boko haram movement. So please tell me, WHAT WAS MR PRESIDENT THINKING? I think he was thinking about Fashola…


Well, we're willing to pay 65,000 to militants per month and also about 40million naira to senators per month so why can't ASUU be granted their demands for salary increase and also for development of infrastructure in our tertiary institutions. So what really is President Yaradua thinking? He initially claimed not to be aware of the strike (when the strike had entered its second week) and then he went silent on the issue and next, he was off to Brazil. They say that the demands cannot be met. I advice ASUU to go lift up arms….maybe their demands will be met in form of amnesty. Now Mr. President says that these demands can only be met up to 40%. Now I'm thinking, if ASUU didn't embark on this industrial action, would FG have known that they could even afford 40%? Someone isn't thinking about education then…so what is he really thinking about…oh! I know what he's thinking about, he's thinking about Lagos State…….

4. Lagos State

Now I'm puzzled; of all the problems that faces Nigeria Lagos state seems to be Mr Presidents number 1 source of concern. Just before he left for Brazil, despite the crisis looming in the Niger Delta, and the 21 security reports (on terrorist threats) concerning Boko Haram, the only notable statement he gave was to Lagos state governor; threatening him with an ultimatum to revert back to 20 local governments. Ever since he returned from Brazil, the Lagos state issue has been top priority out of Aso Rock. How can a progressive Governor and State be a major worry for Mr President? One will expect the President to fill the media with praises for the Lagos State Governor and use him as a yard stick for other governors yet Mr President scorns at him. On a lighter mood however, Lagos state seems to have brought out an un-usual unseen stricter side of our President. Well I see how Fashola can be a threat….2011 can explain that. So what is Mr President really thinking about? 2011?

Please if you know what Mr President is thinking, let me know oh…..He just seems to be drifting through this tenure. Even Pres. Obasanjo didn't do this bad in his first two years.

Any way if you're an advocate of change like me, let's give President Yaradua something to think about. Let him know that 2011 is impossibility for him and his party PDP except they can sincerely prove themselves. Let's get him thinking on the fact that Nigeria does not be belong to some power drunk men but rather belong to the free spirited and progressive people of the country. Let's get him thinking that he cannot put new wine into old wine skins, that he cannot do things the same way to get a different result! Let's get him thinking that getting Dora out of NAFDAC and Ribadu out of EFCC is not a progressive act.

Let us take to the streets and educate people that WE CAN determine the future of Nigeria come 2011 if only we believe in our abilities and also in change. Let us choose to vote for change without compromise and choose to be the change to be voted for! Together, I know that with God on our side, Nigeria will undisputedly be the most desirable nation to live in come 2025! God bless you and God bless Nigeria.

For more information on how you can be a part of a movement to change the future on Nigeria now by taking action, visit www.thefuturemovement.org/register

Monday, July 27, 2009

Greatness Delivered

"I sat, with my hands all sweaty and my heart beating in anxiety as I waited for my moment of glory. I couldn't believe it, the President of the United states of America, President Barack Obama was personally going to give me the award in front of a worldwide audience. And then he called my name…."

Like many of us, I want do something great or be known for a great (positive) act that will leave an indelible mark in the sands of time. People like Martin Luther King Jr, Martin Luther, Nelson Mandela, Jesus Christ, Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, Rosa Parks are people who come to mind. I will like my name to be known for something….like…Adewunmi Adediji; the man who discovered the cure for AIDS! But I realize that I spend so much time thinking about what that great act will be and I must confess that it is always almost an act in futility…nothing seems so great enough yet.

I've realized that we spend so much of our time thinking and planning to achieve a great act and we then become very ambitious. Subconsciously, we are usually of the opinion that this great act will be an apex and we don't seem to think of what will happen next. If Abraham Lincoln, having finally become president had no plan to execute his governance, what would have being his legacy today? Today, it dawned on me how to achieve that true great act.

On a closer inspection of most of the people who have done such great things, we see that most of them did not plan to do what they did. Their actions were born out of a deep seated system of ideals, values and passion. For many, it was a reaction to an infringement of their value or belief system. For instance, Rosa Parks is greatly known for what she did, which simply was "sitting in a bus". Now, how great does that sound? She didn't lead a riot or a crusade neither did she fight in a war (literally speaking) but rather by her action, she became a veteran in the war against racism….my point? Her action wasn't something that was planned but rather it was spontaneously birth out of her belief in the emancipation of the Negro people of America.

Now I'm not insinuating the fact that we should not plan to achieve a great feat but rather I'm advocating that greater time should be spent in imbibing the core values of greatness within ourselves. Having a great value system will ultimately generate greatness from within you and deliver absolute greatness.

Your lifestyle of greatness will amount into great acts!

Prior to her moment of glory, Rosa Parks had been actively involved in the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP), she served in the capacity of the secretary for a couple of years. Her time there help build in her the values and further boosted the passion she needed to achieve greatness in that which she believed. So then, what do we do:

  1. Achieve greatness daily by building character through self discipline
  2. School yourself adequately and passionately on that which you believe.

Know this, any great act/event would have been preceded by a series of great acts..great acts of self discipline, high moral standards….so, Achieve Greatness everyday!!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Achieve your tomorrow!

“it was about 2am and my eyes were heavy, my limbs weak and my arms lacked strength, sleep was beckoning on me; after all the Lord gives His beloved good sleep…but the work left undone was much. Well, I thought….I could do it later…just then, He appeared and looked at me sternly and He said “Get up and do it or else, I’ll die!” He was my tomorrow!”

Well, it didn’t literally happen like that, it was only a figment of my imagination but it really served its purpose. Mid last year, I wrote a letter to myself and I post dated it. I wrote from the future and in the letter, I narrated to myself how successful I had become in all I had done and I also took some lines to explain how those little things I did to improve my character paid out for me eventually. What I did was to create a picture of the kind of person I wanted to become in the nearest future and at the same time spell out my responsibilities to achieve it.

I have realized that our visions are mental videos of who we intend to be or what we intend to do in the nearest future but the thing is that…we’ve got to ACT is out. A friend of mine once said “if you want to know about your past, analyze your present situation, if you want look into your future, analyze your present ACTIONS!”

Our actions breach the gap between our ideas just being ideas and their manifestations and the interesting thing is that ideas grow. The more we manifest them by our actions, the more they expand. Why? You see, the more you realize your ideas/dreams, more room is created for fresh ideas that will either improve on the previous or bring into reality new concepts and forever change the way people think and perceive things. But you must not fail to act, firstly draw up a plan of little things that you will begin to do to achieve the bigger objective. The little things make up the big thing!

Secondly, at one point or the other in the course of your actions, you will realize that you will have to take a major step in which you’re not sure if you’re ready for that kind of a commitment to pursuing that vision. The important thing here is…DO NOT FEAR!!! Critically analyze the odds and simply take a bold step. A road uphill is wearisome, but when you get higher up, you’ll be able to see farther.

Thirdly be consistent. Achieve success daily by meeting set targets. Every so called major success is a culmination of success in the small things. An athlete who wins the pentathlon was probably successful at embarking on his early morning jogs on a daily basis. Consistency is the trademark of any successful brand. Even when you don’t feel like doing it, just do it!!! It will save your future.

Fourthly, don’t “compete” with others. You must realize that you are an original and you have a unique flavour in which others wish to appreciate. In some circumstances, being competitive will lead you to living in some other mans world and I bet you, you can’t be better in his own world! Find your own strengths and major on them!

Lastly, learn to network! Meet people. Often times, 90% of the work in fulfilling your vision will be done by other people other than you. Help other people to find their vision in yours. Accept their strengths in areas where you are weak and learn to harness them to achieve your vision

On times when the task will seem just undoable, find comfort in knowing that with every task you complete, with every page of book you flip over, with every proposal you write, with every candle you burn, you’ve just moved a step closer in fulfilling your vision. If probably you’ve once started and somewhere along the line you lost it…my word to you is simple, MOVE ON! Don’t try to start again, you’ll probably be living in the past again. Pick up from where you stopped. Don’t spend time fixing your eyes on the damage that has been done, rather concentrate on the possibilities of what can be achieved.

The more you don’t work (by taking actions) towards making our visions/ideas come true, the more they dwindle till they eventually fade away. Failure to act is failure to have a future. The world will not celebrate people who intended to do something but rather those who did! Get your ideas out of your mind and into your hands and then change the world!

As an advice, I’d ask you to write a letter to yourself from the future as I did. Let it tell of all the good things you’ve achieved and how you came about them, then keep the letter. Also create in your mind a picture of who you’ll like to be and whenever you’re about to compromise, bear him in mind and try to imagine what He’ll be saying to you.

If Nigeria is to be what we desire, your dream must come true! I am counting on you and so are 140 million other Nigerians.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The changing face of Lagos

For many of us who have seen Lagos when it was “Lagos” would not have believed that Yaba could ever look like oxford circle in the UK or Oshodi like Paris. I got hold of this video. It was a documentary conducted by CNN (Inside Africa) of some of the developmental plans by the Executive Governor of Lagos State (Babatunde Raji Fashola SAN). I believe it’s worth watching as it also gives hope to those of us who believe and are involved in the development of our dear country.

To zones (Agege et al) that have not fully felt the effect of the F-Factor (Fashola factor), I ask that you be patient…very soon you will testify. Let us keep speaking and breathing change. Then it will materialize.