Wednesday, January 30, 2008

It has been one Year and over!

Hurray! Dis generation column is one! Lets make a toast to the emergence of a generation of youths with a voice for change! I thank God for the opportunity given to me to be a part of it! WOW! It has been a time of learning, thinking, writing and reading to ensure I'm well informed enough to speak out and tell. I hope in these past months, Dis Generation has successfully projected issues affecting youths through a strong light?

I would like to shout-out a big thank you to all ardent readers of this column, both young and old, especially those who have kept in touch via email, sharing their thoughts around issues raised and giving ideas of what more they will like to read. It is very exciting when I bump into some of them live sometimes and they exclaim “I read your column...” and a long conversation proceed! Overtime, I have learnt never to take credit for it, at least it is for you I write, in as much as I write for myself. I have also learnt never to take anyone for granted. We need to develop genuine interest in every acquaintance God sends our way and ensure we leave them better than we met them. Life is too important to be spent on grudges and raising malicious voice.

Talking about voice, it is interesting to see that our society is gradually understanding the need to give youths a voice. No longer are young people seen as a shadow, a body to be seen and not heard. The government is gradually embracing youth relevance, at least the creation of youth ministry and the integration of youth council at grassroots level is a step to further realize this, even though some still complain that the people serving there are youths at heart and not really youths. As for how accessible they are, this is a story for another day. However, we all have a voice, finding a platform where we can use our voice positively will be less difficult once we identify the issues we are most passionate about and go about influencing decisions and projecting a positive change at all levels.

Since the creation of this column on January 21st, 2007 with its first published article “For our tomorrow”, the experience has contributed to our being better informed on youth issues. I have also gained a more mature sense of responsibility towards this generation and country. Indeed it has been a win-win process for change and the future, so keep on reading because the best is yet to come by God's grace!


It is no longer news that an average secondary school student’s mind is not filled with thoughts on how to pass WAEC, but more occupied with thoughts about how to “hit big”, buy a Hummer or make a trip to the Caribbean Island. Is there anything wrong with such thoughts in a society that measures a man’s importance or worth by the size of his wallet (bank account)? At least we all will once or more in our life time think about how to be a millionaire to buy the much admired car, build our dream house or feed the poor children in the world. To make such plans while in secondary school can be better termed “long term aspirations”.

If you are a fan of the “who wants to be a millionaire” TV game show, then perhaps you saw the phenomenal “children special” edition, the children took unique turns in displaying their intellectual capability of taking on the future and moving the New Nigeria to the next level! However, I must not fail to point out that even those children have a clear idea of what it means to a millionaire judging by the way their expression lit up each time they answered a question correctly and progressed towards the million naira prize.

Many people have reservations when the issue of money is raised at any level, but being a millionaire is not such a bad idea. Moreover, there are so many short-cuts of becoming one nowadays- through reality TV show, talent hunt, beauty pageant and other tax-free routes that most times require very little of your intellectual capability. Depending on the currency and the spender, a million cash can do a lot. Like Oprah Winfrey once said “What material success does is provide you with the ability to concentrate on other things that really matter. And that is being able to make a difference not only in your life, but in other people’s lives”.

However, being a millionaire comes with its own challenges and as young people, our major responsibility should be figuring out how to put the horse before the cart- that is concentrating more on developing skills and experience that will in future be more relevant than the millionaire status, let us forget the fame and let go of the overwhelming desire to get rich quick because it is this very nature of thinking that defeats us!

Monday, January 14, 2008


I often reminisce about my experience living in England because it brings pleasurable memories that actually gets me optimistic about the future of Nigeria . The standard of living and organized system in that country is something that has always excited me. Almost everything I watched on television and read in magazines was exactly as they were spelt but better expressed in reality. But most eye-opening was getting to understand that young people there face almost the same challenges as us here in Nigeria ! However, it is easy to get carried away by such development and become oblivious of the fact that that country and other developed ones paid the price during their long process of development to become what they are today- a place so many young Nigerians will love to migrate to.
In Terry Wogan’s autobiography “Is it me”, the renowned broadcaster noted that there was a time his father made long walks barefooted to get to school, where they used slates and chalks due to lack of writing materials. Does that not sound like a scene that can be found somewhere in today’s Nigeria ? It seems a very long time ago when developed countries were at the level Nigeria is today. But is it possible that when we get to the level they are today, we would have achieved much more? After all, we are very ambitious and strong-willed people who are good at knowing better than our teachers or colonial masters! I believe with a good sense of togetherness and workable government structure, we can really get there!
By “there”, I mean a corruption-free country where others want to visit and live in, a level where things work right- good electricity, equal access to clean water, good road, standard healthcare, qualitative education, decent wages for services rendered etc., a level where there is a prompt and accurate response to enquiries by the right authority, a level where we are all active citizens of Nigeria working together for progress. But, we must be ready to pay the price too, we shouldn’t be afraid of change, as long as it is for good of everyone. So many people resisted and are still resisting Abuja’s master plan, we complained when slums in the city were demolished because many people we rendered homeless, so that means every change that comes must come in a correct form. For example, the Lagos state government’s plan to ban molue buses should be well structured so that the drivers won’t be left jobless.
With God, I believe nothing is impossible, even though our economy, government structure etc. seems to be struggling right now; a secure future is possible for Nigeria . We should all support the government, and we youths should be allowed to fearlessly dream it and work towards it for indeed the New Nigeria will come to stay!

Jumping January!

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Wow! Its 2008…New Year, New Dreams, New aspirations and New ideas to help us succeed academically, socially, financially, spiritually and all other “ally” you can think of. January is one of my favorite months because it is like a door to the year! Most people actually make their New Year resolution every January, while at the same time making their big plans for the rest of the year. It is called “Taking responsibility!”. Do you know what one of my New Year Resolution is? It is “Do not to eat any noodles this year”. C’est possible? I made this resolution along with my 5 years old niece on the 30th of December 2007 , over a plate of my then favorite meal: Indomie noodles. My niece also made the same but she changed her mind about it later.
The believe nowadays is that young girls of this generation rely too much on drive-through meals which are very addictive and unhealthy. It has also made us lazy cook, I mean cooking noodles does not require any special skills- open, cook, eat! Anybody can do that. Moreover, health-wise, all these processed food are not really doing good, that is one thing those fancy adverts will not tell us. They keep bringing up all these creative ideas and brands to prompt us to buy! Not me, not any more! Well, I hope I’d be able to resist. What is your own New Year resolution? Whatever it is, I hope it is for the best? For example, my not eating noodles any more will make me more active in cooking healthy meals and really improve my cooking skills.
Moreover, this year, we should all also be aiming towards taking real responsibility of our lives (Not over from God o!), in the sense that we should resist the present fashion of blaming our fathers who married our mothers that gave birth to us. No matter how many mistakes we made last year, we have better opportunities of making up if we really take responsibility for these goofs or flaws. It is easy to become cynical and too hard-hearted for change if we allow past frustration to overwhelm us.
January should be a time of gazing into the mirror darkly and taking note of all those pimples, oh I mean problems, no matter what form they have taken. We can really have a better future by God’s grace if we plan towards it well. Most importantly, Time will not wait for anyone; it is the same time that controls other months, January is more like a door to usher in the other months. Let us be on the alert and not waste our future now.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Heartfelt Thanks!

How much do you have to be thankful for this year? Are you in a better or worse position than you were this time last year? It does not matter which way the world has turned, rocking us off balance a bit or placing us on a firm footing, having the breath of life is enough reason to be thankful to God. Like the saying goes, when there is life, there is hope! Since we have come this far, it means God is not finished with us yet, so we must not give up on the thanks!
So many people have been an inspiration to me this year, and have contributed immensely to my success thus far. I must not feel any shadow of guilt about how easily some things have come to me this year because I also had a glimpse of things falling apart in my personal life but yet, it is how one turns out in the end of such hiccup that counts. On this note, I’m dedicating today’s article to all my role models who inspired me to keep my head up. Like Asha Tyson, author of “How I retired at 26!” states: I call them role models and not mentors because they had little if any conscious participation in my life the way mentors do. These role models simply live their lives so powerfully that they inspire me from a distance.
My role models are ordinary Nigerians doing extra-ordinary things with their lives. I see them out and about- the men are smart, intelligent and polished while the women are beauty, brain and brawn. They are not perfect but they are God fearing and positive in a country where corruption seems to thrive. They are hardworking and successful individuals of integrity, who have refused to tip toe through life without apology and this is one of the things that excites me about them.
But for space constraints, I would have mentioned their names. Perhaps you know them, they might be one of your role models too! God has placed them in a position to influence our lives and they have not abused it! How about us in this generation? In days to come, will someone be thankful to God because we are living a positive life that is influencing them? That is a responsibility we must think about! Wishing you and your family a New Year filled with good tidings. May God Bless the good works of your hands and make your efforts a resounding success in 2008 and beyond, our youth will not be a barrier!