Tuesday, April 28, 2009

WORDS FROM DIS GENERATION READERS (The Column on The Nation Newspaper)

I’ll like to share with you some of the comment/text sent in by readers. I’m usually excited to receive such messages which serve as a feedback mechanism or a medium of appraisal for the column. Be it to criticize, share ideas or experiences, feel free to always keep in touch. Dis generation remains an active platform and voice for youths and the young at heart!


Re: The Heart beat of Nigeria

I commend you in regards to your publication “Dis generation” dated February 22nd 2009 . There are many youths being deceived and tricked that they will be traveling by flight but end up trekking.


Hi Jennifer, I just read your piece on the Nation. Nice hairstyle. It reminds me of Monica. Nice piece though. Kudos! Nentawe


Re: The Heart beat of Nigeria

Jenny, thanks for your wonderful write-up. The Value of parenthood has actually depreciated in our society, with Edo ’s case as a reference.


You are doing a great work but I should think you need to change your hair outlook. This one is a little bit… don’t forget you are a mentor. Thank you.

Dr. Dosunmu


Re: Schizophrenia

Jennifer, Youths should be encouraged to avoid drug abuse and to obey God’s law. Thanks. Mr. S.O Igwe.


Hello emerging leader, you are doing a great job. Keep it up! I know that our generation will make Nigeria what it should be. More grace to your elbow.

Arisa Chinedu, Youngstar foundation Displayer, Abia State .


Hello Jennifer, your hair style is unique considering the trends and changes we now have in modern style and fashion…

Mr. Ige Aruya


Hi, I want to tell you I really enjoy your articles. What you talk about is really “Sine qua non”. Kudos!

Monday, April 20, 2009


If you are one of Mr. Fela Durotoye’s fans who keenly follow his inspiring and motivational teachings, then you must have noticed that lately he doesn’t end his presentation without mentioning the importance of being known by Google. Actually, the first time I heard this, I was flabbergasted by the concept but after listening to his explanation on two different occasions, I couldn’t help but respect his idea, which is not as frivolous as it sounds. He believes that Google actually can be used as a yardstick for measuring people’s relevance or impact.

Google is a search engine that helps people find stuff on the internet. It knows something about everything that exists online. When you type in your key word appropriately on the search tool, it zooms off to fetch back related results- from text to images. The inspiring thing about the origin of Google is that it started off in 1996 as a research project by two students of Stanford University- Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who wanted to change the way people search the internet. Today, Google has become a world celebrated phenomenon. “As we go forward, I hope we‘re going to continue to use technology to make really big difference in how people live and work” said Sergey Brin.

From Mr. Durotoye’s perspective, Google has gone beyond just being a research tool for finding Essay topics or raw materials for Thesis. You can actually unmask people and learn about the “who is who” locally or globally by searching for their name on Google. In a nutshell, it is like a yardstick for measuring people’s impact or relevance. For example, I received a call from someone who sounded too grandeur to be true. Google searching for his name actually brought back no result. This confirmed what I suspected all along- he is phony! Or how can Google not know such a prominent (as he claimed) person in one of Nigeria ’s leading oil companies?

The internet has a way of archiving every single thing recorded online as a cached item, and it is the search engine’s business to dig it out. Now we have one more reason to watch our activities online because there is nothing hidden under Google. Moreover, one cannot tell when it will stop being “Does Google know you?” into becoming “What does Google know about you?” and then, employers of labor and other related officers will start using it as a means to checkout their prospective employee or people they deal with.

In this technology age that breeds global connectedness, the Google experience has become more pronounced. “Some say Google is a god. Others say Google is Satan. But if they think Google is too powerful, remember that with search engines unlike other companies all it takes is a single click to go to another search engine.” Said one of the Google founders.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


With News about the global Economic Meltdown showing sign of little improvement, it is obvious that Easter celebration will involve less spending as most people have over the past months curbed their spending habit. Traders are complaining bitterly about hesitant frugal spending of people while buyers are complaining about the way they have lost their purchasing power due to the drastic inflation of price of goods and services.

Taking a cue from BBC’s Educational Cruncharama project that seeks young people’s opinion on what they think about the current global financial crisis, I interviewed some youths from different parts of Nigeria to find out how their level of Easter celebration is affected by this global phenomenon. There is a cut in pocket-money, no employment opportunity or temporary job placement for youths who would like to work during Easter holidays etc. Is the effect seemingly the same for all youths despite their economic or cultural background? Who is not affected?

Timothy Oghene, Asaba Delta: As a Christian, I’m taking out time to reflect on the significance of Easter despite the financial crisis and key into the anointing and life given by the power of Christ’s resurrection. I will share this hope with others by encouraging them to come back to life no matter the stumbling block imposed on them. I’m taking time out to visit the Old people’s home in Asaba and just associate with them. You don’t need money to celebrate Easter so the global financial crunch is not affecting me because my celebration is not materialistic.

Chinwe Oguamanm, Abuja: How can I be affected by the global Economic crunch? I’m having a positive Easter celebration. I’m going for a youth camp organized by my Church in Jos and we are going to have fun. The financial recession is not affecting my level of celebration by God’s grace. In fact, this recession has made me richer than I was before.

Williams Iwuoha, Enugu: I will be traveling to Owerri to spend the Easter holiday with my Aunty instead of coming to Lagos where I’m bound to spend more. The cost of things are high and even dollar exchange rate is so ridiculous. We are forced to celebrate this Easter in low-key.

Dada Oyindamola, Lagos: From what I have been hearing from the news, the economic meltdown started from America and being the strongest country in the world, whatever affects them affects the world. However, I’m not going to allow the financial crisis affect my Easter which is going to be celebrated in a bigger way than last year.

Ayodele Samuel, Lagos: Celebrating Easter is a little bit tedious this year because the global financial recession has recessed my pocket. There is no money to buy new clothes. I’m cutting down on my spending by 50%. Last Easter, I traveled out of the country to Benin Republic but this year I can only afford to travel to Ogbomoso for the holiday- so you can see the difference.

Thursday, April 09, 2009


Every young person who says, “I want to be like President Barack Obama”, most likely means that he or she wants to be audacious and bring about a resounding change against all odds. The name Barack Obama is now synonymous to change.

Barack Obama: Can it happen in Nigeria ? This was the question youths in Lagos sought to answer when they gathered at the Green Vanguard open discussion initiated by the Legacy Youths of The Latter Rain Assembly. Mr. Gbenga Sesan, Mr. Fela Durotoye and Mr. Dare Babarinsa were some of the selected Panelists to chair the event. One would have expected these renowned men to mount the podium and analyze the concept of change in professional terminology to incite the youths. But there was no such thing, and that in itself was a change, a paradigm shift from the norm.

“ Nigeria is not poor, we are only conscious of our poverty” said Babarinsa in his opening remark. And proceeded to encourage the youths to make conscious effort like an Army in securing the future. He pointed out that the three types of Army needed to enforce change include intellectuals, workers and educated Christians willing to participate in politics. Elucidating on the factors that contribute to ignorance in Nigeria , he pointed out that Lecturers give handouts instead of teaching and the students cram these handouts instead of researching. “A country where people do not think for themselves is doom!”

He encouraged the youths to break through the jinx of cultural dislocation and invest in themselves to be competent enough to effect the Obama kind of Change. “You are competing across the Continent, no more borders, start reading….” Mr. Babarinsa gave his take home assignment by asking them to start the change process by improving their knowledge in current affairs such as knowing who their local Government Chairman is. “Decide how you will become part of decision-makers in Nigeria to move things forward.” In a nutshell, the Obama kind of change is not one person standing on the pedestal and shouting for change but about self-development, keen interest and active participation.

Meanwhile, most young people who are obsessed with the “connection” syndrome were orientated on the need to build a Net worth instead of limiting themselves to having connections. “Connections and influence are two different things” said Fela Durotoye. “While connections points out who you know, Influence (net worth) points out who know you and is willing to do anything for you”. He urged the youths to stop being pursuers and begin to develop themselves into a sort after brand. Thus, the Obama kind of change is not about boasting of one's connections but the ability to influence others to make impact. After all, Obama had no connection, just a big dream and powerful influence. Gbenga Sesan, in his brief but refined presentation reminded the youths that change is not comfortable. “Are you willing to invest time in yourself?” Obama did!


We live in a society where young people are encouraged to keep mum, and never question their elders- even in the face of injustice. But does this culture not have a long-term effect in the character formation of such youths, as well as our society as a whole? “Young people should be seen and not heard” they say. And at the end of the day, these young people become timid when faced with the challenge of tackling issues that affect them.

“In our society young people are not allowed to talk or express themselves. It is a norm for them to always be submissive. But unless we change such mentality, we cannot really change our society.” said Natha Ajir, a Sociology student of Ahmadu Bello University . “Recently, I had issues with my School Academic Board. I was given a lower grade that I know I didn’t deserve. When I tried to challenge it by calling for my script to be remarked, I was discouraged. I was told to be content since it was not a carryover mark.” She added.

Like Natha, so many people have different horrific experiences whereby they are denied their right and restrained to tears. It was like acting in a poorly written script where the main character is deprived the right to play his role well. The script is poorly written because our culture has patterned us into believing that it is wrong to argue or question any adult, no matter how right you are.

Daring to challenge the questionable characters or views of those set above us sometimes means exposing oneself to victimization for what the adults will term arrogant or rude. But for how long will we continue to sit tight-lipped as variety of injustice fills every nook and cranny of our society? Joe Hookeham, a British youth, while sharing his perception of the Nigerian society once said: …It is in their culture…there is this notion of unconditional respect, no matter what, to your superiors. These spans from kowtowing to your parents to not questioning those in power, ultimately, not challenging those above you.

The freedom of expression is not just about allowing people to talk at home, in school or in the "marketplace". It also allows them to ask provocative questions and challenge the inadequacy of those entrusted to run our affairs. Those who keep others under their thumb will soon realize that they are the ones denying our society of governments who are accountable. After all, you can’t have accountability in leadership if nobody is free to talk and, ask questions that breeds accountability.