Tuesday, June 24, 2008


I sat up quietly and listened. It was a few minutes past 12 midnight and I really wanted to sleep but I needed to keep my promise to stay up for this very long midnight call. On the other end of the phone was a young girl (called Tutu in this article) whom I have never met, probably not a day older than fifteen. She was being pressured to contest for a beauty pageant at school by a “senior” who seems to ever be in her shadow. The threat was that if she fails to contest, she will be severely punished by this senior and her “gang”. However, her participation in this social activity will mean hanging out a lot with the social freaks at school which will affect her studies. What should she do? Tutu’s issue is one we all know but never pay much attention to- BULLYING!
Bullying is an aggressive behavior which treats people in an overbearing, domineering or intimidating manner. Bullying is more psychological than physical, thus it does not necessarily involve any physical violence. This can be done through name calling or other verbal abuse, extortion, exclusion from activities or coercing someone to do something against her will (Such as in the case of Tutu). A bully is someone who is authoritarian, resentful, overbearing and who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people repeatedly to boost her self esteem. Bullying is everywhere, it is not restricted to schools alone- we have Workplace bullying, online bullying etc., remember the bullying row on Big Brother show in 2007 that had Jade Goody's racist bullying of Shilpa Shetty, and recently Alex De Gale launch of foul-mouthed outburst at her housemates.
The effects of bullying can be serious and even fatal. Mona O’Moore Ph. D of the Anti-Bullying Centre, Trinity College Dublin, said, "There is a growing body of research which indicates that individuals, whether child or adult who are persistently subjected to abusive behavior are at risk of stress related illness which can sometimes lead to suicide". Victims of bullying can suffer from long term emotional and behavioral problems. People who are bullied can suffer from loneliness, depression, anxiety, which can lead to low self-esteem and increased susceptibility to illness.
The reason why Tutu called me aside being a fan of “Dis Generation” was because she wanted to talk to someone (70% of teenagers feel more comfortable talking to “someone”). Inspired by her, here is calling out for more Peer Support Programs and Trained Peer Moderators on Bullying! Bullying is a very upsetting and offensive act that must never be tolerated in silence. Have you ever been bullied? Do you know someone who is currently being bullied? Don’t just stand and do nothing, call a counselor or someone in authority for help. At least that was one of the advice I gave to my young friend. She sounded pessimistic about it though. “Ah, I’m afraid oh!” the threats of bullies sometimes discourages one from finding help but then, calling the attention of parents or teachers to take action against it will stop the bully from further abusing you and others.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Happy fathers’ day! Today is a day set aside not just to celebrate one father but to celebrate fatherhood, male parenting and honour fathers all over the world starting from the one closest to us! A father is a man, son, brother, nephew, uncle, godfather, grandfather, a role model and of course a friend! We should honour them everyday but most importantly today by giving them special gifts to appreciate them for who they are- a good father.

From their everyday activities as the head of the house to their office where they give or receive orders, fathers strive to build the nation but they are eventually shaped into persons we wish they are not. The quiet and loving dad becomes unusually agitated around the house due to the pressure from work that keeps him ever busy. They begin to loose touch with their children’s unbringing and loose touch with themselves in the rat race. Unconciously, they allow the norms to turn them into full-time money-making-machine (MMM). But all the same, they live up to their responsibility and remain our fathers- we can’t change that!

But what if you could change something about your Dad, what will it be? Here are some of the responses I received in a public poll conducted among young people on the topic “Daddy’s make-over”:
If I could make my Daddy over, I would like to take away the anger in him. I know it is not easy to be a Dad but it doesn’t mean one should be always angry.
I will want my Dad to learn to cheerish his children’s education. He needs to give his life to Christ so that all other things can be added to him.
I will like to reduce the way he complains about my dressing.
I will like to make him believe more in his children
My Popsi is stingy and cold. I will like to change that.
My father needs to be more interested in the education of his children. Right now he considers it a waste of reosources.
I will like to change my Dad into a woman
My father is always saying he does not have money and gets worked-up when I ask for money.
My Dad has taught me to be optimistic about life. I don’t want to make him over. I will like to buy him a car and change his work.
I am not in good terms with my father. He is easily influenced by other people’s opinion. This is one thing I will like to change!

It is amazing how much we want to change our father for the better. Do you think we can begin this make-over session by simply loving them the way they are and appreciating them more? For instance, 80% of the people who participated in this poll did not even know today is father’s day! Fathers are too significant for their day to be insignificant. Well, here is calling out to all father’s sons and daughters to celebrate their Dad.


Looking at the situation in Nigeria and considering the level of corruption, it sometimes makes one to wonder if ever change would take place. Taking a case study of the just concluded Senior Secondary School Examination, it was discouraging to learn how very little our youths believe in "studying to show one's self approve". Yes, they no longer believe that they can study and pass an exam.

I remember very well standing before some students in a school, and advising them to work towards their examination with all diligence and dedication and also seal their efforts with prayers and trust in God. I actually shared my experience with them and the Joy that I got when I received my SSCE result back in 1998. I was indeed convinced that these same students who had listened with rapt attention were ready for change, to work hard and pray to achieve the best.

However, the reverse was the case. It was so disheartening to hear about the fraudulent activities and all manner of corruption that took place during the examination. What really broke my heart was seeing the same students throw caution (and their commitment to fight corruption) to the wind as they all ran to also partake in the purchase of questions and answers of the subjects they were about to write. Someone asked me “what can you do to stop them from such act?” It was so sad. The situation seemed uncontrollable. And my heart has kept asking me “will there ever be a change against corruption in our Nation, Nigeria ?”

How do we build a better society for tomorrow’s leaders who also seem to be swimming in the pool of corruption? What foundation can we build for the next generation? I wonder why a parent will look his children say to them “you are slacking and not smart at all” just because they refuse to participate in the examination malpractice. What values is such parent passing on to his child?

Change is what we willed and not what we wish for Nigeria and we will surely experience change. A lot of things will soon be revealed at all levels and those who refuse to embrace change will be left behind. We all must do the right thing at all times, no matter the cost, and pass the same values to others, especially the young ones. The time for change is now!

Guest Writer: Marcelina E.E.

Thursday, June 05, 2008


How many students are discouraged from studying at night due to power failure and poor illumination provided by the candlelight? How many businesses have packed-up due to unavailability of electricity to operate? Well, we are all affected by this poor and ailing state of Power Holding Company of Nigeria! On one hand, there is hope, experts say all we need to reverse the trend is about 24 refineries and 50,000 megawatts, MW of electricity generation. On the other hand, Nigerians sign in disappointment as President Yar'adua's declaration of state of emergency on the power sector is yet to yield any effective result as others chirp on "corruption leaves Nigeria in the dark".

Perhaps, it is in this same state of frustration that someone created a group named "Protest against power outage in Nigeria". If you have never heard of such group then get on Facebook. Oh! well, Facebook is a unique social network that connects people with friends all over the world. Basically, people use it to keep up with friends, upload of photos, share links and videos, and learn more about people and real-life issues. It is also made up of many fun networks, each based around a company, region, or school. One of such is the "Protest against power outage in Nigeria" that gives Nigerians online the opportunity to reflect, learn and debate on issues around PHCN.

"Please sign up so we can have a feel of how many Nigerians are fed up with the power cuts. It is so frustrating sometimes that you get so close to tears and its so pitiful for such a great Nation..." these were the sincere words I saw on the group page that endeared me to join despite my initial reluctance to accept the invitation. From the way activities are booming on the page, it is obvious that indeed young Nigerians are tired of the epileptic state of electricity. It is true that sometimes when you share your frustration with people who experience similar things, you feel a little relief. As it seems, this group was not originally created to solve the our electricity problem but who knows by giving the issue a face on Facebook, in the process of vexed discussion, we might stumble on an idea to liberate us from the situation!

The PHCN challenge and all its flaws have been given a global platform where hopefully more people can express their dissatisfaction freely, create a global awareness on such an important issue and chart a way forward for change! Imagine a society where we can celebrate one day, then one week and then everyday of uninterrupted power supply! It will bring an end to the environmental pollution caused by exhausts from all manner of generators and the resentment we feel towards PHCN sector will fade away!