Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Elton John Circle Of Life Lyrics:

From the day we arrive on the planet
And blinking, step into the sun
There's more to be seen than can ever be seen
More to do than can ever be done
Some say eat or be eaten
Some say live and let live
But all are agreed as they join the stampede
You should never take more than you give
In the circle of lifeIt's the wheel of fortune
It's the leap of faith
It's the band of hope
Till we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the circle, the circle of life
Some of us fall by the wayside
And some of us soar to the stars
And some of us sail through our troubles
And some have to live with the scars
There's far too much to take in here
More to find than can ever be found
But the sun rolling high through the sapphire sky
Keeps great and small on the endless round
On the path unwinding...
In the circle,
circle of life.

Media and HIV/AIDS among youths in Nigeria

Youths are stakeholders in the future of every society. To be able to live up to this responsibility, they must be empowered with basic life skills of which include being media literate. Media literacy is the ability to process information that is reliable and useful to their well-being and the well being of others.
The 21st century youth in Nigeria must have the competent ability to access and interprete messages from various forms of media. It is such literacy that will enable the media effectively permeate the society and positively influence the behaviour of youths around HIV & AIDS.
The factors that place youths at risk of being infected with HIV stem from different socio-economic and cultural conditions they live in such as poverty, poor educations, unemployment, social isolation etc.
Majority of these youths live with the virus and do not know while others do no have access to accurate information on how to protect themselves and others. Often, the subject is treated among youths with suspicion, the little information at their disposal most times turn out to be inaccurate.
People living with HIV face stigma and discrimination as these youths try to deal with their fears about the virus by ridiculing those infected. Others deny the existence of HIV and thus embrace a fearful silence; all these constitute a negative attitude that encourages the spread of HIV among youths.
In the absence of any known scientific cure, to manage the spread of HIV, youth friendly education resources can help create awareness to promote attitude change. Phyllis Kanki, Director, AIDS Preventions Initiative in Nigeria (APIN) in her contribution to the book “HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa” noted that the media have been identified as an important tool in health intervention programmes.
Through the media, the silence, spiral of denial, ignorance, stigma and discrimination associated with HIV & AIDS can be mitigated to promote a positive behavior change among youths.
Recognising the potential of the media in curbing the spread of HIV & AIDS, former Secretary-General of the United Nations once said “…Broadcast media have tremendous reach and influence, particularly on young people, who represent the future and who are the key to any successful fight against HIV & AIDS.
We must seek to engage these powerful organizations as full partners in the fight to halt the pandemic through awareness, prevention and education”.
The media can thus be referred to as a vehicle through which information is disseminated from a source to a heterogeneous audience simultaneously.
The Nigerian media has made impact in curbing the spread of HIV & AIDS in the society through its various information dissemination programmes. News coverage in the local newspapers over the years has been on the increase. Various radio and television drama and talk shows have adapted HIV & AIDS as a theme of discourse. However, these roles are limited to merely raising awareness. According to MC Quail in 1994, it is clear that information acquisition could occur without changes in behavior.
Thus it is not surprising that although the media coverage of HIV & AIDS has raised awareness, yet low knowledge of the preventive and treatment measures has contributed to young people engaging in behaviour that put them at risk of being HIV infected.
The media’s effort in curbing the spread of HIV & AIDS and promoting positive behaviour among youths is often hindered by lack of awareness and misconceptions.
To overcome these limitations, it is important for the media to re-prioritise its primary functions of “to inform”, “to entertain”, “to persuade”, and “to educate”, with greater emphasis on the “to educate” function around HIV & AIDS.
It is a popular saying that education is the vaccine against, thus, media Education can help curb the spread of HIV and promote positive behaviour among Nigerian Youths by raising awareness about preventive and treatment measures and reducing stigma and discrimination.
Through their intervention programmes, negative behaviour among youths, which includes hostility, denial, ignorance, stigmatisation, discrimination etc., will be replaced by positive behaviour such as sympathy, acceptance, accurate knowledge, care and support for people infected and affected by HIV & AIDS. This will facilitate the process for the emergence of a HIV-free youth population for National development.
The modern media such as the internet, television, radio, newspapers, books, etc, as well as traditional media such as murals, folktales, town crier, village square meetings, festivals etc indeed has essential impact in promoting positive behaviour around HIV/AIDS among youths in Nigeria.

Written by Jennifer Ehiadimen
•This is an abridged version of the winning entry of the 1st Omololu Falobi Foundation Essay Competition.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Some people think football is a matter of life and death but it is sure more serious than that. Until now, I never really shared the same passion others have about football. In a nutshell, I am not a football fan. Do not get me wrong, I watch the sport, but not with the same aggression as I see my friends exhibit towards the poor thing. I mean, I could never really understand how people will sit week-in, week-out watching the same thing with so much enthusiasm. Well, perhaps I was turned into a mere spectator after reading gory tales of how people with high emotions stab themselves over mere sports and football clubs- it starts with just an argument you know.

However, I now have a change of mind towards the suppose “passion for football”. To many, football is just a game, but to me, I think it is more than that. Recently, during the last Lagos State Local Government election to be precise, my colleague, Akinwale Kasali and I decided to “monitor” the election, the response from voters etc as part of our responsibility as the Press. We needed to move from one local poll to another but there was no transport. Thus we decided to hitch-hike. But who will give some strangers a ride with the quiet atmosphere created by the “stay at home” order of the government?

There we stood, waving down different cars and bikes/okadas that whizzed past us without a second glance. Then at the point of almost giving up, a car screeched to a halt in front of us and my colleague yelled “Gunners for life”. Aha, the driver understood that language. In we hopped and the short ride that lasted for about fifteen minutes was spent by the duo discussing sports. “How did you know him?” I asked my colleague after alighting. “Oh we played football together a few weeks back”. Interestingly, he neither knew his name nor any other information. It was just their shared passion in football that connected them and of course granted us the free ride and thus contributed to the success of our assignment.

Will you believe that on our way back we were again given a free ride by another person, a total stranger, whom my football-driven friend knew from playing football in his friend’s neighborhood? Now that is some experience I will never forget. We can all be united by football without necessarily allowing all the high emotions or demons of the sport to drive us into stabbing ourselves to extinction. From this experience, I now believe that there is more to football than we see on the surface. As Joe Namath of American football Hall of Fame quarterback says “Football is an honest game. It's true to life. It's a game about sharing. Football is a team game. So is life”.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Lately, I have been thinking a lot about Coffee. I am not a fan of the beverage but somehow, my thoughts have been revolving around this drink. I do not know if it is because my friend made a funny statement about her idea of balance diet being a mug of coffee in both hands. And I wonder, will it be an instant coffee or a home-made one? What is the difference? In an sms reply, my colleague whom I expect to be a coffee-addict said the basic difference between a home-made coffee and an instant-coffee like this: “… homemade one I guess will be richer while the instant is the ‘wuruwuru’ made by coffee machine whatever…” This certainly does sound like someone who does coffee? Dissatisfied, I went on the global library to enrich my knowledge on the subject and founds some real interesting facts!

Instant coffee resulted from many attempts that was made in the past to make coffee making process more palatable and less of a difficult task. Instant coffee refers to beverage derived from a brewed coffee beans but the lowest quality beans are often used for its production unlike the home-made conventional coffee. In spite of this flaw, more people actually prefer going for the instant coffee. I mean, who does not like the easy and faster means? Instant coffee is quicker because it dissolves in hot water instantly. You can regulate its quantity by the amount you put and store up the rest. However, it loses flavor and other essentials from long storage, thus it cannot stand the test of time!

At this point, I must clarify that my thoughts around coffee is not in the literary sense. Most of us these days are almost caught up in this characteristic of instant coffee- our society seems to thrive on the spirit of “instant” and “wuruwuru” these days, thanks to technological innovation and corruption. This is seen in the way people pay their way instead of paying the price of going through the conventional way of getting a life!

Driven by a “now now” attitude, we so much despise the patience of going through a process, and often opt for the easier way or creating one when unavailable… should I give examples? Well, perhaps in the subsequent rejoinder. All the same like the instant coffee, this life style looses its flavor, lack the real qualities and cannot stand the test of time! We revitalize ourselves with all the energy drink and dive into it the race again, the pursuit of short cut. Ironically, excess of energy drinks will probably have the same effect just as instant-coffee does! In life, the coffee bean is the most important ingredient of a quality coffee. Thus, it is important to abide by the simple law of nature and healthy production that requires us to cultivate our coffee in the tedious, worthwhile process- no short cut!

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Dear Teachers,

Today, all over the world, you are being celebrated for the role you play in nurturing and guiding us through the life-long process of learning. Dr. Myles Munroe in his book “The Principles and Power of Vision” wrote: No achievement in life is without the help of known and unknown individuals who have contributed to our lives. You are known individuals who certainly have helped us achieve the gift of literacy.

You are an inspiration. Your determination to make hard things easy to learn is praiseworthy. You understand well the role to teach and do not condemn or judge your students’ inadequacies. You are our angels in disguise and your reward which they say is in Heaven is revealed here on Earth when you see a once written-off child you work hard to train become a productive member of the society. What can be more rewarding or exciting? The oxford dictionary defines a teacher as someone whose job is teaching, especially in a school. To teach means give lessons, to educate, to cause to learn and understand, to inspire, to help someone in self-improvement, to impart knowledge etc. it is a full-weight responsibility you take up so passionately! In the words of Ralp Waldo Emerson, “a teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops”.

You are life-shapers, change makers and Nation builders. Yet your contribution is often times underrated. You have been buffeted by different wave of challenges in the course of your profession (e.g. poor working condition), however, your resilience is what is keeping the Nigerian Education system together! What kind of Primary School, High School, and Colleges/Universities would we have without you?

October 5 is set aside every year to remind the government (who you taught too) and everyone the important role of teachers and the need to improve your working condition and status. It is also a day set aside to celebrate you and say thank you! Recognizing how much you matter, we appreciate your commitment and competence in building the Nation. After all, it is he who builds the youths that builds the future of a Nation.

Dis generation shout out perpetual congratulations to our dear teachers, the passionate men and women out there, for making simple things look extra-ordinary, for making hard subjects simple, for broadening our horizon, for imparting knowledge, for building a competent generation and for being committed teachers- for indeed you matter!

As you build other people’s children in truth and love, May your own not be neglected. Happy World Teachers' Day!

May God Bless you all.

Jennifer Ehidiamen
-Active global citizen, committed to working for a positive change!

Thursday, October 09, 2008


Imagine taking an elevator ride (which takes only a couple of minutes) and you strike up a conversation with a stranger who suddenly ask you to define peace, how will you define it? Well, you might be interested in finding out how a group of youths in Akute community will be defining Peace today. Inspired by the renowned primatologist Jane Goodall, Ph.D., DBE— Youths Advocate for Change and friends of Roots and Shoots USA, will celebrate the International Day of Peace today at Deluxe Pacesetter College, Ajuwon Akute (the border between Lagos and Ogun state). This event will feature Film show, Music, Discussion, Networking, Peace Declaration, and Fly Giant Dove!

The purpose of the day as stated in UN General Assembly resolution of 1981: “…is to devote a specific time to concentrate the efforts of the United Nations and its members States as well as of the whole mankind, to promoting the ideals of peace and giving positive evidence of their commitment to peace in all viable ways…The international day of Peace should be devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of Peace within and among all nations and people”.

A UN Messenger of Peace since 2002, Dr. Goodall encourage Roots & Shoots members and individuals to promote peace in their communities and around the globe. Roots & Shoots members and friends craft Giant Peace Dove Puppets from reused materials and fly the Doves in their communities to symbolize their commitment to peace. In past years, Giant Peace Dove Puppets have flown in almost 100 countries in city parks, backyards, convention centers and even refugee camps.

Held high by young hands, the Doves have spread their wings everywhere including the Coliseum in Rome, a monastery in Mongolia, the base of Mount Fuji, the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro and this year at the plains of Akute! “With the Peace Doves, we remind everyone of the truth they sometimes forget, that peace is possible. We celebrate all that is free and noble…we celebrate all that so many people have done throughout the year, and will do next year to create a better world,” said Dr. Goodall.

Peace is what you and I can sustain. It is not just the absence of tension but also the presence of justice in all ramifications. With respect, dialogue and understanding, peace can reign in our homes, community and nation. The first step is to make a commitment to be at peace with yourself. We should all come together to renew our commitment to promote peace in our community as the first giant dove in Nigeria fly high held by hopeful hands.

For more information about the Roots & Shoot Day of Peace event visit or contact Adeola Ogunlade, Youths Advocate for Change: 08083127847. Happy International Day of Peace- One Love, One Peace, One World!