Monday, June 22, 2009


I love the University of Lagos (UNILAG) for all the most obvious reasons so many people love her- its academic and social vibrancy, as well as its ability to always be the first to break new ground. The rave of the moment is the exciting 1st Nigerian campus marathon, taking place June 24th, organized by the HKHE UNILAG students’ sports forum in conjunction with African Youth initiative on Crime prevention.

On a personal note, my interest in this event is stemmed in its significant role in closing the yawning gap between the students and staff of the institution. “Most lecturers and students have this master-slave relationship,” said Chris Ibe, the pioneer of the event. Thus, the programme is aimed at fostering a community where students will be able to relate freely with their lecturers on the positive light of Mentor-Mentee relationship. Dr. Adeyemi Awopetu, the staff adviser to the programme, said that the event would also create an avenue for new talents to be unleashed for the world of marathon that is currently being dominated by athletes from Kenya and Plateau state. “Exercise is a difficult pill to take…but we have to exercise to increase our fitness level and live longer.” In his view, the programme will achieve so much if embraced and sustained.

Meanwhile, Dr. Grace Otinwa is a keen advocate for youths to be engaged positively, thus her support for the event. “We encourage youth participation in active lifestyle as a means to meaningfully engage them.” She defined an active lifestyle as a lifestyle that is engaged in physical activity at least 30minutes to one hour everyday. “Our body is designed for movement, thus you have to move by way of walking, jogging, or running in order to alleviate diseases.” Fitness is a requirement for productivity and longevity. She also hopes that the students will be challenged to eschew cultism and other social vices and embrace activities that will contribute to their social, spiritual and mental growth and development.

Prof HOD Longe, the dean of student affairs, who threw his weight behind the concept did not hide his enthusiasm about being the first school to hold such event, “It is a noble initiative, and within the context of University, we have never had such an event in Nigeria.” He said. “Everything is not work, work, work! Fitness is very important because you are healthy when you are fit.” Now you have one more reason not to loathe UNILAG- she is a good at being the first to do credible stuff!

Monday, June 15, 2009


If you were not at the National Theatre Iganmu Lagos last week then you missed a lot! Yeah, you missed the Crown Troupe of Africa’s live concert- the great music, the acrobatic dance, the thrilling cultural choreography, and the rib cracking jokes- all powered by a group of talented young people!

Five years ago was the last time I visited the National Theatre (shame on me right?), thus I was shocked by how intact the whole place is (well, the toilet was a little bit out of shape), and impressed by how so many fans turned up at the Cinema Hall 1 to watch Segun Adefila’s dance-theatre group at their best.

You know, a famous quote by Plato says “to sing well and to dance well is to be well educated.” And this group testifies to it with their commitment towards projecting our culture through the art of dance and music. Segun Adefila, the group leader once said “Some say art is for Art’s sake but I say art if for life sake.” Thus they make it a duty to pass a message about life through all their dance performance and songs, last week was no exception.

The star studded event, which was organized to celebrate Crown Troupe of Africa’s 13th anniversary and give a sneak preview of their anticipated/soon-to-be released album, brought together the likes of Sound Sultan, W4, Yinka Davies, Tosyn Bucknor a.k.a Contradiction, Princess, Modella, Tunde Kelani, Marian Travis, Yemi Sodimu, Beautiful Nubia and a host of other artistes.

The group set the stage ablaze with their first performance “Ere ti ya”, even those that didn’t understand the Yoruba language couldn’t help but dance to the rhythm and heavy beats displayed by their rich talent. Adunni and her Nerfititi vocals, all clad in white attire and armed with shekere, sang their own song with a passion that sent jitters down my spine.

“Mi o ni choice” another music-dance performance by the Crown troupe also deeply rooted in satirical lines and afro centrism cheered the audience up before sharing the stage with other artistes. Beautiful Nubia left us all with something to think about in his poetry performance titled “Can’t you see?”. Some performances were dipped low while some reeled to high heaven. For Segun Adefila and his group- The Crown Troupe of Africa, I am optimistic that the days will be good to them as long as they stay true to the course.

Friday, June 12, 2009


Children are important. Every society that wants to secure its future must invest in the children…the foundation must set right! Bad home training and bad influence from peers are some of the factors that contribute to the increase in juvenile delinquency…The CATE Green Africa trip to Badagry is not one I will forget in a hurry. Not because it gave me an opportunity to associate with people who are keen about greening the environment, or the significant experience of visiting the renowned Badagry Heritage Museum and the First Storey building in Nigeria but also because it gave me the opportunity to hangout with some brilliant kids who revamped my perspective on some critical issues. Yes, you can never underestimate how much you will learn from children by listening to them and taking note of every thing they say. That was exactly what I did…here are excerpts of our conversation:

So guys, did you have fun today?

All: Yes!

What is the significance of this trip to you?

Immanuel Oke: Well, the significance of this trip is to celebrate the Bicentenary of Bishop Ajayi Crowther and learn about the values that distinct him.

Sometimes we overlook the importance of history, did you learn anything at all from the tour?

Daranyo Omotunde: History has a role to play in the development of every child because it helps them learn where we are coming from and understand why things are the way they are.

Oluchi Amakoh: Learning about Bishop Ajayi Crowther really inspires me to aspire to become great too. The Nigerian children today are terrified because of the kind of environment they are exposed to- fighting, quarrelling etc as a result; they tend to define Nigeria based on such exposure, without knowing there is more. My visit to Badagry today has really challenged me to appreciate Nigeria better, despite the present challenges, because our forefathers faced worse situation. Imagine being in the generation where slavery thrived! We should endure and believe that Nigeria can change anytime just as it changed in the days of our forefathers. But we all have a role to play to change Nigeria .

Immanuel Oke: Yes, we all have a role to play. We can’t really leave everything to the government. Growing up in a bad environment is not an excuse to become bad. We must learn not to allow our environment influence us.

Michael Daranyo: the environment children grow up in matter too. But it is just that we are too quick to criticize the government in Nigeria , forgetting that the dirty environment we live in today was not made dirty by them. For example, is it the governments that drink pure water and litter everywhere with the sachet? If we don’t help ourselves, no one else can!

Israel Joseph: I think the Nigerian children should concentrate on their education right now and not worry about money. Our government only thinks of themselves. I am sure when we become leaders, we will not be like that.

Monday, June 01, 2009


Good morning madam” greeted the JSS 2 Class of Sophia Group of schools. “Good morning students. You may have your seat.” said the young principal. “What do you have now?” she asked in impeccable English. “Business studies” the students chorused. “Good. Go and call your teacher.” And with those words, 12-years old Nellie Egun walked off to another class. As part of her responsibilities as a principal, she was making her morning rounds to the various classes to ensure that activities are going as smoothly as they should.

Twelve years old Nelli Egun was awarded the school super-hero of Sophia Academy after emerging winner of the weekly school quiz competition that was held for the term. One of her prizes included serving as the first one-day principal of the school. Asking about her experience as a student in a principal’s shoe, she says “It has been fun. This morning I made some announcements on the assembly and went round the classes to ensure that things are going smoothly.” To be an outstanding student in all ramifications, Nellie encourages her peers to be current about what is going on in the society. “Read wide and read newspapers in order to be up to date and knowledgeable about general issues.” She said.

For Mrs. Dupe Ajayi, the Principal of Sophia Group of schools, the idea of awarding super-hero to students every term is to encourage them to sit up and be competent in every field of knowledge. “We do this by engaging them in healthy competitions called who wants to be a hero. The quiz covers their curriculum as well as current affairs.”

“The first super-hero is not just an excellent student in academics but also an excellent student morally and in other areas of life. From our record, everything about Nellie stands her out, thus other students are encouraged to emulate her and conduct themselves well because leadership is something you work for and not something you steal.”

She encouraged the Nigerian students to fear God in order to walk in wisdom. On the challenges of today’s education system, Mrs. Ajayi said “The only challenge we have now is that there is no much emphasis on moral studies. In our days moral study was an important aspect of our curriculum. We need to return to our first love which is the love of God. Our curriculum is faulty because we are trying to copy others when we don’t have the right infrastructure. The government needs to start looking inward and stop talking from the two sides of their mouth when implementing new policies.”