Monday, July 28, 2008

The Artic is screaming, North pole is melting!

Riddle: Where will Santa Claus move to now that the North Pole is melting away? The North Pole which is located in the middle of the Arctic Ocean, amidst waters that are almost permanently covered with constantly shifting sea ice is melting! Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations Secreatary-General urges the world to take action and make the wrong right. What is the wrong? Men have abused the environment. Knowingly or unknowingly, our activities have drastically influenced the environment which has resulted to another global Challenge! Scientific consesus on climate change is that human activity is beyond reasonable doubt the main explanation for the current rapid changes in the world's climate, with all the cut-throating inventions here and there, thanks to industrial revolution.

We have reached where are are now, and everyone is affected, including those who do not understand what climate change is all about! But how can we undo the damage? We need some prudence! "Prudence does not mean failing to accept responsibilities and postponing decisions; it means being committed to making joint decisions after pondering responsibly the road to be taken." Says Pope Benedict XVI. Actions taken now by everyone, both locally and globally will go a long way to affect future generation.

So, come August 12 International Youth Day (IYD), an annual opportunity that recognizes the youth and celebrates their achievements and pushes for their participation in all areas of society, youths from all over the world will be taking action on Climate change. The selected theme for this year’s IYD is ‘Youth and Climate Change: Time for Action’ in recognition of the fact that climate change has devastated communities and deepen the effects of poverty and hunger globally. The youths are the future, if we don’t protect the future, who else will? Back home what will you be doing? Ensure that you are not left behind in this significant and historic event. Build a synergy with local youth groups and NGOs to contribute your quota.

As part of Dis Generation’s celebration of international youth day (we still have something to celebrate!), three outstanding young people will be featuring on this column to share their hope for future generation: Dayo israel, Global Coordinator for the Nigerian Youth in Diaspora Organisation UK; Jessica Rimington, Founder, One World Youth Project, USA; and Oghenefego Isikwenu National Focal Point, Global Youth Coalition on HIV and AIDS (GYCA), Action Partner, Oxfam International Youth Partnerships (OIYP) and Coordinator, Inspiro Communications & Media (ICM), Delta State. It will be nice to know the driving force of these youth advocates despite the ill and challenges of today’s world! Do they also nurse the fear of what kind of earth their children will be born into? Do they have any hope for future generation? Their voices are very loud, so wear some earplugs or earmuffs. It promises to be an exclusive but insightful celebration of youth!

Saturday, July 26, 2008


A particular piece I read in one of the Nigerian daily newspapers really stunned and shocked me for not making the bold headlines:17 KILLED IN IMMIGRATION, PRISONS RECRUITMENT. It was very annoying to read such story in a not too alarming second or third page. Such human error that cost the lives of 17 job seeking Nigerians is catastrophic enough to make the front headlines. That Nigeria has degenerated to the level where her citizens cause a stampede to get conscripted is indeed food for thought! What could have driven these honorable men to this point of madness is a question only our top fat government officials can answer.Yours sincerely was once a part of these mad march to survival when I applied to join the SSS some years back. The arena for recruitment was so choked that one could hardly move around. It was only after a call on those above 30 years of age to leave for home that the place became tolerable for a while, yes it only lasted a while, as those that left soon started to emerge afterwards with some barbers receipt and some alterations on their birth certificates. In the midst of all these brouhaha, no provision was made for any medical emergency situation. I left the recruitment ground after a whole week of insanity coming out as the next guy that would have been recruited. With pain and and a hope for the future I had stumbled out of Abuja hoping and believing that such a mishap would never take place again in my country but of course I was wrong. Wrong because I either believed too much in the recruitment exercise which in itself is futility when you are bereft of a Godfather or the keepers of the system whom I taught would make better provision next time before they think of stirring the nest of unemployed Nigerians. Some of the simple questions we need to ask ourselves as regards this ugly developments are:

1. Who organized the recruitment and what was his estimated participants

2. How much was given for the recruitment exercise and for what reasons was it intended?

3. If so much was given, was it spent judiciously to tend to emergencies e.g. availability of ambulances and doctors ,nurses and other related services adequately paid for to tend to the needs of hungry and ignorant Nigerians (as it relates to their health status mind you the state of the economy promotes such ignorance).

4. Now that the victims are dead who stands liable to be sued or held responsible?

5. If a way of compensating victims is a job offer as shown by the governor of Enugu, why wasn’t the offer made before the accident? For it shows availability of jobs not only in Enugu but also in other states if the governors care to develop their civil service. But why wait for a disaster before such offer is made?

Guest writer: Feyi Shaba, Kwara State


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

One world! Pictures speak volumes...

Going into unfamiliar territory will not destroy your old, comfortable world. Rather, it will expand your world, your vision, your knowledge and your possibilities. The next time you come across a road that you've never traveled -- whether it is an idea, a person, a belief system, or an actual road -- take a side trip and make your world a bigger, more interesting place.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


“Going into unfamiliar territory will not destroy your old, comfortable world. Rather, it will expand your world, your vision, your knowledge and possibilities…and make your world bigger and more interesting” I love that quote because it expresses the importance on traveling in just a few words. Traveling is important. But not everyone can afford it because it takes money, time and courage.

The best education a child can ever receive is the opportunity to travel and experience a different culture. This will enable him break down any sense of ethnocentrism he might have developed as a result of being confined to his comfort zone. Most of what we read or watch on TV about other cultures or places do not really depict reality. It is like looking at the world through a window which is not the same as being there.

I used to think everything begins and ends in Lagos until I got the opportunity to visit other states only to be amazed at how big Nigeria is, not to mention our rich cultural diversity. Traveling broadens one’s horizon. The experience is usually an eye-opener for the person who travels and the places he visits. People who have never heard about your culture totally depend on you to tell them everything while at the same time learning about theirs. As a result of your interaction with them, you gain insight and understanding and this increases your cultural sensitivity and tolerance towards others, you even realize that the people are not so different from you.

Traveling is not escapism. People who travel to run away from problems only return with increased anxiety that is detriment to their health. However, a change of scenery is good, even psychologist recommends it. The experience clears your mind and transforms you in a way that you are better equipped with new ideas on how to solve the problems. It helps your discover yourself while discovering the world.

The local and international travel experiences I have has humbled me. That is another thing traveling does. It tests you, challenges your social norms and forces you to think differently about issues of life- it alters your worldview for good and sometimes leaves you silence for a while because you think more deeply and not judge things one face value. Traveling is one of the best things that can happen to anyone. It does not matter how far you travel from home- to the next village or abroad, it does not matter how you travel- by road, sea or air, the experience knocks you out, reshapes you and expand your horizon. When last did you travel? Get out of your comfort zone, experience real education that goes beyond the four walls of a classroom and redefine your identity. Like my friend say “the world is too round to sit in a corner!”. May you travel safe always.

Monday, July 07, 2008

One strike too many!

Teachers in public schools across the country have begun an indefinite strike to demand for the release of the circular containing the new Teachers Salary Structure (TSS) and once again the standard of education is being compromised as the right to education of the Nigerian child is being denied. Strike! Strike! Strike! Is that the only language we understand in this country? Is that the only action that can resolve the issues people feel need urgent attention? NLC go on strike, Petroleum workers go on strike, Transport road workers go on strike, Trade union go on strike, Doctors go on strike, Teachers go on strike and our national development is grounded to a halt. One more strike and it will be one orchestrated by Nigerian students screaming for a better standard of education.

Our teachers deserve to get salary increment for their unrelenting and profound effort in building the nation; after all it is he who builds the youths, the posterity of the Nation that builds the Nation. So as the government sort out ways to meet the demands of our teachers, they should also use the opportunity to look at ways to refurbish the standard of education in Nigeria . We need to turn a fresh page on our education system, we need a change!

The deteriorating standard of education in Nigeria overwhelms me. And like G.T the Guitar man, I sing “when am I gonna be what I wanna be? When am I gonna see what I wanna see? Time is ticking and I can’t wait no more, do dreams ever come true in this part of this world?...” but I’m not singing alone, millions of students all over Nigeria who are currently affected by the National Union of Teachers’ strike are echoing the lyric in different languages.

When two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers. But if the grass suffer for too long, it withers and that will take the carer back to square one of cleaning up the after-effect! This strike will turn youths angry for being left alone to waste; they will channel their desire to be and belong into cultism or gangsterism and exchange their books for gun to derive power since education has failed to empower them. More violence then becomes the order of the day as these youths display their youthful exuberance negatively. Others simply take to street football with the hope of becoming another “JJ Okocha or Kanu” or better still indulge in ganster rap as a way of expressing themselves and for leisure and gratification, sex come into the picture. All these and many more are the mess parents, teachers, government and all stakeholders will have to clean up if the strike is not resolved soon- a very expensive rehabilitation exercise!


It is a few days to my birthday. For a minute, in my imagination, I’m surrounded by different date of birth and now I cannot even tell which is the right one- was I born July 1st 1987, July 1st 1985, July 1st 1984 or maybe not July at all? Phew! All this confusion must be a result of the adjusting and re-adjustment of age to suit the norm, a confusion that exists only in my head, caused by my quest for an official age!

Have you ever heard about “Official age?” do you have one? No? Well, guess that makes the two of us, or are we too naïve to adjust our age or perhaps we lack the opportunity to? Official age refers to the figure that tells how old one is on record which may not necessarily be the real age. For instance, if you are seventeen years and want to enroll for a programme that requires applicants to be at least twenty one years of age, you in this case will shoot-up your age by four or five years to qualify. However, the trend is more popular among older people who cut down their age to suit a particular course- e.g political race, job application, celebrity life etc.

In the midst of the quest to be seen as older or younger, we end up even confusing ourselves as well as others. For example, one of my classmates told me she was born in 1982 and claimed to be 3years younger than her younger sister. I was perplexed when I read in her credentials that she is 23years, the same age as her younger sister of the same mother! Are facts and figures now being calculated up-side-down? Should we not question these issues more often to be sure those who we respect as right thinking members of the society are not gradually going nuts, calculating such an important date- birth date, in a deceptive manner?

Again we blame the society for this trend. After all, for instance, if our educational system is really effective and other factors put in place as it should be, no one will have to gain admission into university at the age of twenty-one and be faced with the urge to cut down his/her age by five in order to fit into criteria of being “sweet sixteen already in Uni.” Or in order to meet up one of the pre-requisite for working in a Bank and like-minded organization after graduation.

Remember the song "Age Ain't Nothing but a Number" by Aaliyah? It features lyrics of a girl wanting to date an older boy, saying that their ages don't matter. Well, today, we are not talking about relationship and age but change of age and us! Are we really cheating the calender or our intergrity? If you are asked “How old are you?” is there any record somewhere that will contradict the figure you give? Age is a number, which ever way you turn it- up or down it will not stop you from being you because the true answer still lies within you!