Sunday, June 26, 2011

Preserve my Saltiness: Love Notes. Comments. Reviews

Poetry Reading at Atlas Service Corps Gathering, Washington DC
First a wonderful presentation, from the very beginning. The preface, dedication, all of it. From 'an idle heart' to "under the shadow of the almighty' you captivated me. Your passion, desire, and love you have for the written word is demonstrated beyond the readers imagination. It lifts ones heart and takes us on a journey that only one can do when they have been blessed with a talent that only our Lord can give. And blessed are we the readers for you answering his call! This book is amazing and Jenifer I will highly recommend to anyone."  - Shannon Wendler, Writer and Poet- Founder of

I was going to wait until I had read through it to send you a note so I could comment at the same time.  That was a mistake.  After taking a couple opportunities over the weekend to read into it, I realize this is a book not to consume, but to savor.  The individual pieces demand reflection, which requires a quiet time and full attention…Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us, and others, through this special book.” John

In this book I see that Jennifer has wrangled in the electrifying bull of creativity to possess her words in a way that will speak to others deeply. She speaks to you in these pages from a place of strength and the calm assuredness that this is exactly what she would like to say. I hope you listen. Because by recording her truth, she has recorded our truth. So, take a moment and learn of your soul as you read the poetry of hers. Jennifer, you speak truth in a way that seems as though you are a hundred years old and have lived the lives of many. Your truth is unforgivingly raw, uncut crystal - like all truth that is worth telling. Thank you for sharing your gift of poetry with the world. Because, as we know, the world needs it. My favorite poem is My Brothers Wrestle.” --Jess Rimington, One World Youth Project

As a writer, I have carefully looked at these poems and believe that you will enjoy reading Preserve My Saltiness. You will enjoy reflecting on the threads of meaningful didactic and philosophical images, which help to enhance the encoded meanings. These poetic thoughts could only emanate from one who stayed close to grandma, picking eternal words of wisdom; I bet Jennifer did, as shown in these poems which are all her original pieces.” Isi Agboaye, Editor, Step Out Creatives


·      Author: Jennifer Ehidiamen
·      Paperback: 81 pages
·      Publisher: Step Out Creatives Publications U.K; First Edition edition (20 Feb 2011)
·      Language English
·      ISBN-10: 1906963266
·      ISBN-13: 978-1906963262

Preserve My Saltiness by Jennifer Ehidiamen is a collection of poems, featuring various topics. You will enjoy reflecting on the threads of meaningful didactic and philosophical images, which help to enhance the encoded meanings. Copies are now available in some local bookstores in Lagos-

To buy your copies, please visit:
  1. Naija-Sistas Book-stop- Henry Nelson Consulting, 26 Festival Road off Adetokunbo Ademola Street, Victoria Island, Lagos.
  2. Terra Kulture (Bookshop) Plot 1376 Tiamiyu Savage Street Victoria Island Lagos. 
  3. Florence & Lambard Publisher and Booksellers 202-204 Ikorodu road, Palm Grove, Lagos.
  4. Latter Rain Assembly Bookshop: Plot 4 Akilo Road Ogba, off Oba Akran Avenue Ikeja Lagos Nigeria

Don’t forget to share your comments after reading! THANK YOU!

Want to start up a Business? Get your idea funded!

“We should not be afraid of failure but see it as opportunity to do better.”

I was speaking recently to a young Entrepreneur who started his first company during his NYSC and presently partnering with other entrepreneurs to launch a digital marketing company- in three different African countries. I guess this re-affirms NYSC is not a total waste of time? Some youths actually discover themselves during that one-year of service.

Drawing from his experience of starting up a company from scratch in a rather harsh economy (as Nigeria’s), this young entrepreneur says youth can reach their dream:
·      If they can create new opportunities (most people often think opportunities always have to come knocking on their door- sometimes we need to step out of our comfort zone or oppressive zone to create the environment that will allow us thrive).
·      If they don't think they can make million the first day (our over-ambitiousness often make us think we have to start out with a huge budget and hit millions afterwards).
·       It doesn't take money to start a business; it takes your mind (the priority is set at- Idea, people then money).
·      If you have idea and you refuse to go out and mix with the right people that can project you, then the idea is as good as no idea! (People, the right people are great resource to a new business venture.)
·      If you know your onions, life is interesting.

This entrepreneur’s passion is different from what he studied in school- so he focused on making his passion a profession/career. “I read books a lot, not novels- Investment books.” He studied Business Education but today is an expert in digital marketing. On the opinion that Nigeria has a harsh economy thus preventing people from thriving, he said it’s a flimsy excuse youth give... We eat, recharge our phones, buy latest designers wears etc and yet say the economy is harsh? “The economy might be harsh but that's not a factor not to start something.”

Meanwhile, if you are a young budding entrepreneur with a business proposal that needs investment from N50k to N200k, send mail to for an opportunity to pitch your idea and get funded! An example is a true-life story of a National Diploma graduate that had no employment for 2 years. He gave a proposal a month ago that he needed N250k to start a Cyber Café. Today, he has a cafe with 10 computers and 2 play stations. He also employed an attendant. He makes over five thousand-naira daily.

The last time I checked, the statistics read Nigeria has over 43million unemployed youth. With universities and colleges churning out graduates every year, the queue is getting longer. Thus, the earlier we all embrace the era of entrepreneurship, the better. If we all can support each other, things would be fine in Nigeria!

"Raising money is the second hardest part of starting a startup. The hardest part is making something people want: most startups that die, die because they didn’t do that. But the second biggest cause of death is probably the difficulty of raising money. Fundraising is brutal."

Checkout these relevant info on starting up:

Saturday, June 25, 2011

An emerging Nigerian artist’s new release titled "Gracias, O se, Merci" (Free Download available!)

 MAYOWA ADEBAJO, popularly known as "eMJOY", is an artist, songwriter and performer of primarily gospel music in the HipHop genre. He has been performing to a small group of family since a young age but had his first concert stage performance in High school at the age of 15, which opened up more opportunities to perform.

eMJOY has performed across Toronto, Canada, including during Jesus Family Church events, RCCG Covenant Chapel youth events, Haiti Community, Worship 4 Life Concerts, Emua Fashion Show 2010, York University NSA (Nigerian Students Association) Gala 2011, etc.

He currently lives in Toronto where he is also studying for Higher Education. He says “My vision in the music industry is to make beautiful, classic-lasting music for the world that should draw us all nearer to the mind-blowing Love of God. Through the good news of Jesus Christ, I should expectedly bring glory to my nation Nigeria, and Africa, at large.”

Listen to the new reverberating track and download for free following this link here

"New Nigeria Spirit" is another tune released earlier this year, which captures the spirit of new Nigeria and can be found at along with other music by eMJOY.

To invite eMJOY to perform at your event, you can contact his manager through:

For media interviews or features, email

Watch out for more releases from eMJOY!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Dancing flood...

When it rains very hard,
making loud crack crack sound
like broken beads falling on our roof,
Every movement cease on our street.

It is raining hard today,
Our street lies desolate
The only movement in sight,
is the flood dancing its way
to the gutter
That separates my street from yours.

The flood dancing its way,
In twist and turns,
into the gutter
that is already vomiting water.

Houses are squeezed here and there
No room for the flood to pass or rest.
Baba Ali’s unpolished building
sway left and right like a drunk,
His foundation was built on mere sand.
The Dancing flood...

(c)Jennifer Ehidiamen
culled from "Preserve my Saltiness"

To buy your copies, please visit:

Naija-Sistas Book-stop- Henry Nelson Consulting
26 Festival Road off Adetokunbo Ademola Street, Victoria Island

Terra Kulture (Bookshop) Plot 1376 Tiamiyu Savage Street Victoria Island Lagos.

Florence & Lambard Publisher and Booksellers 202-204 Ikorodu road, Palm Grove, Lagos.

Preserve my Saltiness

•    Author: Jennifer Ehidiamen
•    Paperback: 81 pages
•    Publisher: Step Out Creatives Publications U.K; First Edition edition (20 Feb 2011)
•    Language English
•    ISBN-10: 1906963266
•    ISBN-13: 978-1906963262

Preserve My Saltiness is a collection of poems, featuring various topics. You will enjoy reflecting on the threads of meaningful didactic and philosophical images, which help to enhance the encoded meanings. These poetic thoughts could only emanate from one who stayed close to grandma, picking eternal words of wisdom; I bet Jennifer did, as shown in these poems which are all her original pieces. Copies are available on and or your local bookstore in Lagos- Terra Kulture, Florence and Lambard, Naija-Sista Bookstop etc. (see list below)

In this book I see that Jennifer has wrangled in the electrifying bull of creativity to possess her words in a way that will speak to others deeply. She speaks to you in these pages from a place of strength and the calm assuredness that this is exactly what she would like to say. I hope you listen. Because by recording her truth, she has recorded our truth. So, take a moment and learn of your soul as you read the poetry of hers. Jennifer, you speak truth in a way that seems as though you are a hundred years old and have lived the lives of many. Your truth is unforgivingly raw, uncut crystal - like all truth that is worth telling. Thank you for sharing your gift of poetry with the world. Because, as we know, the world needs it. My favorite poem is My Brothers Wrestle. --Jess Rimington, One World Youth Project

As a writer, I have carefully looked at these poems and believe that you will enjoy reading Preserve My Saltiness. You will enjoy reflecting on the threads of meaningful didactic and philosophical images, which help to enhance the encoded meanings. These poetic thoughts could only emanate from one who stayed close to grandma, picking eternal words of wisdom; I bet Jennifer did, as shown in these poems which are all her original pieces. --Isi Agboaye, Editor

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Global Youth Summit 2011

2007 Summit

In November 2011, the sixth Global Youth Summit will take place in the UK, bringing together social entrepreneurs, community activists and volunteers aged 16-19 from around the world. During the summit, the new Changemakers will be exchanging best practices and developing action plans for projects that tackle issues ranging from AIDS/HIV and corruption to education and human rights. Register on the site today so you can be the first to learn how to apply.
The call for applications for the Global Youth Summit will go live on 4 July 2011 and will end on 24 July 2011.
Download the Global Youth Summit 2011 one-pager (PDF) for more information.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Lessons from “Aramotu”

The movie depicts a lot of social-economic elements present in our society today. Aramotu (Idiat Sobande) represents a powerful woman. Yes, like today’s 21st career woman active in the boardroom as well as the bedroom and kitchen. She is an epitome of beauty, brain and charisma. But the movie is not just about one woman, women liberation or a voice to project the importance of women empowerment.  You have to read between the lines and dissect every bit of it to get the full message.
As the plot unfolded, I began to compare Agesi Village to our present day Nigeria. Except, the movie is too deep to be seen as a satire. There is no difference between our greedy politicians today and the greedy and manipulative leaders, especially Chief Olookanda (Ayo Olabiyi) who was willing to do anything just to get the lands of his subjects and egoistic Iyalode (Ireti Osayemi) who was more concern about materialism than tackling the real issues affecting the women she claimed to represent.

It is no longer news that as Agesi Village was freed from the shackles of confused, greedy and manipulative leaders; Nigeria is also on its way to being free! Maybe we need an Aramotu to rise against the tradition and move our Nation selflessly to development. We do not just need women liberation; we need a collective human liberation.
Enough of the suffering and smiling- we must hold our leaders accountable to ensure they represent the interest of the people. And maybe sweep out all the corrupt and hypocritical leaders (at all levels) into exile. That part of the movie was very hilarious- the people used brooms and leaves to sweep out the greedy elders from Agesi Village.

Aramotu was a trader who traveled to other parts to sell her goods- it was through her experiences that she was able to dream and aspire for a better life for her village. She became a pillar of strength in her household and community. Yet she remained humble. The world is too round for each of us to just sit silently in a corner. Nigeria is a big country, if you have not started traveling yet, hope you take up the challenge- travel, broaden your horizon and allow yourselves to see and do more. The movie sure reminded us of the importance of traveling and interacting with others.

It is no surprise that Aramotu, produced by Yinka Kolapo, and directed by Niji Akanni, won the Best Nigerian Film and Best Costume Design at the just concluded African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA). The movie is epic. Right from the minute the movie started playing on the screen, I knew I was about to watch something exceptional. It was worth the N1,000 (N500 discount with my student ID) I paid at the Silverbird Cinema last weekend. If you have not seen it yet, please go and give yourself a treat and come back to share your experience! Even if you don't understand yoruba, you will be able to follow the story line via English subtitles, laugh at the rich humor in the movie and maybe shed some tears at the tragic-happy ending.

The kidnapped corpers, Olumide & the 4 ladies have been released!

The kidnapped corpers, Olumide & the 4 ladies have been released...!
Thank God who moved our government leaders and the hearts of the kidnappers.
Life Lesson: The hearts of the Kings are in God's hands. The hearts of brutal kidnappers are in God's hands.
God heard our long list of why Olumide Yusuf and the four ladies must be released, but at the end of it all, it is His mercy and grace that prevailed. To Him alone be all the glory.
Hallelujah! May God continue to protect us all. May He remain the covering of our heads in the day of battle. 

Kidnapped corps members regain freedom in Rivers


 PORT HARCOURT- FIVE corps members kidnapped two weeks ago in Rivers state have regained their freedom, says the Rivers state Police Command.
A statement from the state Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, DSP Ben Ugwuegbulam, said they were freed, Sunday night, at Ama, Omoku in Rivers state.
According to him, they were rescued by Mobile Policemen on Stop and search Operations  at Omerenu checkpoint on Port Harcourt-Owerri road. Adding that they have since been handed over to the Director General of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, Brigadier General M.I. Tsiga.

His words, “Release and rescue of five kidnapped corpers. While Police SOS and Anti kidnapping teams supported by DPO Omoku were making efforts to rescue the mother of Chief Okoroma kidnapped on 17/6/11 at Obrikom, that effort not only led to the rescue of the old woman at about 15 hours today 19/6/11 at Ama Omoku, it also added to pressure sustained on the kidnappers of the corpers by the Police, State Security and the military since the 14/6/11 incident. “
“Thus, at about 1930 hours the five kidnapped corpers were sighted and rescued by Mobile Policemen conducting stop and search at Omerenu along Port Harcourt-Owerri road.
The victims have been handed over to the highly delighted Director General NYSC, Brigadier General M I Tsiga in good state of health. Investigation to arrest all the culprits continues please”.

It would be recalled that the corps members were kidnapped two weeks ago at Omademe on their way from a school in the community where they had gone to commission a library project, built as part of their community development service.
The released hostages were four females and a male.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Call for Application: PROGRAMME SUPERVISOR – Youth Xchange

Through the International Volunteer Exchange, the Global Xchange builds active global citizens, committed to working for positive change. Global Xchange is a partnership programme between, VSO the British Council and an implementing partner. This programme works with 18-25 year olds from the Nigeria and the UK giving young people the opportunity to live and work together in communities as volunteers on a six-month exchange, with 3 months in each country.

Based 3 months in Calabar, Cross River state in Nigeria and 3 months in the UK, we are primarily looking for someone with substantial experience of working with young people and people from different cultures, to start a 9-month contract in September 2011.

Volunteers will work in each of the communities; the work will be of practical value to the people in each community.  They will also develop values, which will help them play a positive role in their own societies and gain experience and skills which will enhance their future employability.

Each cross-cultural team of volunteers is supported by two Programme Supervisors, one from Nigeria and the UK. The Nigeria Programme Supervisor is responsible for developing the programme in the Nigeria host community (Calabar) and, with his/her UK counterpart, for facilitating the implementation of the 6-month programme in Nigeria and the UK.

The programme supervisor will be expected to live in the Nigeria host community (Calabar) for the planning and preparation phase and during the three months of the Nigeria part of the exchange.  Hours of work will be irregular and the Programme Supervisor will need to be available on call for volunteers and take a lead in providing support during the Nigeria phase of the programme.

It is important for applicants to realize that this is a very demanding role – and definitely not a typical 9-5 job!


1. Project development in the host community
  • Work with a community partner to design and implement the programme.
  • Identify support for the development of the core components of the programme
  • Maximise the impact of the programme for both the participants and the host community.
 2. Volunteer Support
  • Working with the host country counterpart to provide adequate support and supervision of volunteers throughout the programme.
  •  Promoting and encouraging appropriate behaviour
  • Ensuring safety and security standards procedures are met and understood.
3. Facilitation
  • Promoting learning amongst volunteers on global, cross-cultural and intercultural issues through the delivery of training and learning tools
  • Supporting youth led and on-placement training throughout the programme.
4. Relationship Management and Partnership Working
  • Work effectively and with host country programme supervisor and act as a representative of GX and partners at all times.
  •  Ensure that all programme partners and stakeholders are kept regularly informed about the progress of the in-country programmes, including any medical or health and safety issues.
5. Monitoring and evaluation
  • Ensure learning from the programme is captured from all volunteers and stakeholders
  • Record outcomes in accordance with overall purpose and objectives of the programme
6. Budget management
  • Managing budgets and undertaking accounting procedures.
  • Present monthly accounts to VSO accounts department.
  • Account for the programme development and implementation expenditure during the phase of the programme.

1. Working with Young People: Proven experience of working with and providing support to 18-25 year olds from a wide range of backgrounds with proven ability to facilitate learning in a non-formal environment.
2. Cross-Cultural Working: Direct and substantial experience of working cross-culturally and able to communicate to a range of audiences and promote sharing and learning between cultures
3. International Development: Knowledge of issues which are common to communities in developing countries, possibly achieved through working or living in a developing country. Should have experience of promoting learning about development issues
4. Communication: Possession of strong written communication skills needed for writing reports, publicity materials and corresponding with a wide-range of community members.
5. Supervision: Significant experience of working in a supervisory role. Possess the proven ability to promote self-awareness, learning and development among individuals.
6. Planning and Organising: Able to develop clear and realistic plans to deliver agreed objectives within deadlines, involving key individuals in the planning process
7. Volunteering: Sufficient experience of working with volunteers to understand the key factors which make volunteer placements viable, effective and rewarding.
1.              University degree in Social Science or related disciplines.
2.              Have a background in community development and experience working at the community level.
3.              Ability to fully engage with young people, support and supervise those who work with them.
4.              As part of this exciting and dynamic team you will be helping to make a real difference to young people and communities around the world.
5.              Minimum of 3 years experience working in an NGO and community level programs.

Experience must reflect the knowledge, skills and abilities listed above

Interested applicants should forward their applications with detailed CV and a personal statement of how your experience fit with the qualification through email to

All applications must be received not later than 12pm, 24th June of 2011.
Only short listed candidates will be contacted on 30th of June 2011 for interview.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tana Adelana: She is Young, Nigerian and a Diva

In an age desirous of female role models, Tana is fast carving herself into one. A number of things rolled into one. Christiana Adelana, popularly called Tana, is veejay with over six years international experience, a Nollywood actress, a wife and a mother of two.

For six years Tana was the face of Channel O where she hosted the interactive O-BOMA show. With Channel O, she also hosted the magazine-styled 100% Naija show. Tana also worked with the Big Brother Africa reality series for three (3) years as the Nigerian correspondent. Also hosted the eviction parties for Big Brother Nigeria and West African Idols Reality TV shows. She hosted DSTV’s Mnet’s Let’s Dance  reality dance series.

Tana, in 2007, hosted perhaps the biggest entertainment event, Hip Hop World’s Award with arguably the biggest name in Nigerian entertainment, D’banj. She has also gone on to work as host with other events, such as MTN Y’ello, LG karaoke Mega Star Show, Coca Cola Fc Tv Show and Zain Naira Rain Promo.

Tana is the current face of the peak talent show which captures the audience of many across Africa and produced kida kudz as its 2010 winner with the next season of peak talent show 3 kicking off soon and this year promises to be bigger and better.

The graduate of the University of Lagos has recently moved on to develop her talent in acting. She played a lead role in one of Nigeria’s finest producer’s series ‘Disclosure’ earning her critical acclaim and widespread interest from various casting supervisors and film producers. She also starred in Blessing Effiom Egbe’s production ‘2 Brides and a Baby, which is scheduled for cinema release in October.

A winner of the Grind Awards and a two time finalist & winner of Nigeria’s biggest youth event, The Future Awards, Tana describes herself as ‘passionately motivated’. For her, what is important is to be “deeply passionate about who you are; whether as a wife, a mother, an actress, an On Air Personality and work to be the best you can in those fields. That is my source of strength”.

Tana is definitely here to stay with her own show in the pipeline as well.

Monday, June 13, 2011

President Goodluck Jonathan's Deafening Silence :( #FreeTheCorpersCampaign

The State and Federal Government have to take on a better attitude if #NYSC must continue. Their attitude towards safety of corpers is 0/10 so far...

Tomorrow 14th of June, 2011 would make it exactly 1 week since Twenty five years old Olumide Yusuf (in the picture) and 4 other female corp members were kidnapped from Community Secondary School in Omademe village Ikwerre LGA of Port Harcourt, Rivers State. All efforts to track them had proved abortive and their kidnappers are allegedly asking for N100M from their families. (Click to read his mother's plea)

Rivers State government has concluded it won’t pay the ransom in order not to encourage future occurrence while the FG has remained mute over the kidnap saga. NYSC authorities in Rivers are yet to release the identities of the other victims while the families of these patriotic young lads wallow in confusion and unimaginable heartaches.

Our concern is not that they were kidnapped. Our rage is borne out of the ‘deafening silence’ that has been prevalent over the kidnap saga so far. It would interest you to know that all 5 of them are Batch ‘B’ corp members and are supposed to be discharged by the NYSC and rejoin their various families on Thursday 16th June, 2011; after having served their fatherland ‘under the rain and in the sun’ for a period of 12months.

"What value does the Nigerian government place on its citizens? If the government can pay ransom for foreigners why not for Nigerians? Its time the government seeks all avenues to get this corpers released while our security system is improved upon especially the training and welfare of the Nigeria Police." -Cousin Canary
Although, as young people of Nigeria, we do not have the ransom money being demanded by the kidnappers, we hereby make the following demands:

1. That all Batch ‘B’ corp members, across the federation, boycott all Passing Out Parade (POP) activities in solidarity and to ensure NYSC hold a press conference to unveil the identities of the other 4 female corp members.

2. That the FG brief the nation on the situation of things and plans being adopted to free them. The families have made it clear that they do not want the N5M paid to families of deceased corp members. They prefer to have them alive.

What Can You Do To Help?

Simply broadcast this message and send to all the contacts on your BB, Email and media houses. Write on President Goodluck Jonathan's FACEBOOK wall, calling for his attention to address the Kidnappers/issue!!!

Free The Corpers Campaign

UPDATED!! June 20th 2011- Corpers have been released, click to read:

Sunday, June 12, 2011

What is your passion?

“How can I find my passion?” This is a question many young people often ask me. Finding one’s passion often times appear daunting or very difficult to figure out, especially in cases where people think having a passion should automatically translate into monetary gain. Peer pressure or companionship that erodes originality also makes the course flaky. 
In reality, it is not difficult to find one’s passion- especially since it was never lost in the first place.  To turn your passion to action, you need to first reflect and identify on what that passion is. A passion is something that arouses excitement. Everyone have sometime they are excited about, something that gets them out of bed in the morning or something they feel naturally drawn to do.  
Some questions that can help you include: What am I excited about? What gets me out of bed? What stirs my interest? What is my talent?
The reason why passion seems so evasive is because not everyone takes time to explore, concentrate and develop this passion- it could be a talent or skill we need to hone. It could be something we are naturally excellent at doing, but which needs the right platform of expression.
Our passion is never out of reach or beyond what we are capable of doing. What matter’s most is our willingness to commit to maximizing that potential. But passion is not an end in itself. What happens if your passion is different from your profession? For example, you could be passionate about football or sports but studying to become a Medical doctor. You could be passionate about fashion design but studying to become an Aeronautic Engineer.  Or passionate about facial make-up but professionally inclined towards Banking and Finance. What do you do?
In such a situation where your passion conflicts with your profession, it is crucial never to be discouraged. The conflict could help develop your skill on how to harmonize. Where it proves extremely difficult to harmonize your passion with profession, you can pursue the one that brings you more fulfilment and a sense of completeness, without turning you into a pauper. Having to give up football or music for a profession in the Banking Sector does not invalidate your passion for football or vice versa.
Sometimes, your profession can be your passion! If you are passionate about music, write lyrics that will inspire, offer hope or impact. But do not stop there. Get the words out. Turn the lyrics into songs- if you cannot sing, locate an artist who can. As a passionate designer, create innovative designs that make people look better, feel good about themselves and boost their self-confidence. 

So, what is you passion?

A Firm Unity. A Strong purpose. An Unshakable Determination

Did President Goodluck Jonathan’s inauguration ignite a sense of belonging and optimism in you last week? Were you swayed from the position of “siddon look” and cynical cheer into really thinking “Yes we can!”? I got the opportunity to read the transcript of his speech again and reflect on the message he was passing on to us, compatriots.

This is not an article to dissect the content of his speech. However, like I would bookmark interesting paragraphs or lines in any book I read, I took out time to highlight some of the things that stood out to me in his speech.

First off, President Goodluck did not sound like he is going to solve all the problems and challenges in Nigeria overnight. Thank God! However, he pledged to fight for a transformed system and emphasized on the need for more collaboration and partnership. 

Mr. President understands that we are in an Era of global interconnectivity and intends to apply this strategy to local issues. He says, “hey! If we want Nigeria to work, we have to do this together. Don’t just sit there and think I have a magic wand I am going to spin to solve our challenges.” (Well, he did not really say that, but that is my interpretation).

For many years, a lot of people trapped themselves into believing that government leaders have all the solutions. We need to change our orientation and continually develop ourselves- knowledge and capacity. You see, as Mr. President noted, “being a Nigerian is a blessing. It is also a great responsibility.” We (including leaders at all levels) need to continually build our skills to effectively and efficiently develop and implement innovative ideas needed to transform Nigeria.

He reminded us that Nigeria is “a land of justice, opportunity and plenty.” But it seems only 1% to 10% of people control and enjoys these resources. But Mr. President cautions that we stop the pity party- “the time for lamentation is over. This is the era of transformation.”
How can we turn the pyramid of our Nation’s wealth over, for more people to begin to enjoy the so much talked about wealth?

Mr. President promise to start local before taking it global- “unite our nation and improve the living standards of all our people whether in the North or in the South; in the East or in the West.  We will not allow anyone exploit differences in creed or tongue, to set us one against another.” And then “form technical and financial partnerships with global businesses and organizations.”

Saturday, June 04, 2011

An Era of Entrepreneurship

For a minute, imagine if Michael Adenuga, the founder of Globacom Nigeria, Consolidated oil and Gas (Conoil) and Equatorial Trust Bank, Aliko Dangote and other leading multi-billionaire entrepreneurs in Nigeria never branched out to create their own company. Imagine if Adenuga had played safe, jumping from one full-time employment to another while his big vision went stale. Millions of Nigerians today will be unemployed or at least not earning a good employment package provided by Glo. There will be no Glo to give other telecommunications companies a run for their money by introducing per second billing system.

An excerpt of his profile on “Strategic Business Team”, an online news stream, reads “Mike Adenuga is not on our list of school drop out billionaires because he attended Ibadan Grammar School, obtained a degree in business administration from Northwestern University, Alva, Oklahoma, and an MBA, majoring in marketing from Peace University, New York, both in United States of America. He also has an honorary doctorate degree from Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye Ogun State. While schooling in the United States of America, Mike Adenuga worked as a cab driver and security guard to pay his tuition fees.

A qualitative education- be it formal or informal, plays a critical role in raising a generation that is willing to create wealth for sustainable development. It can be recalled that last year, the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) developed a new Senior Secondary School Education Curriculum (SSEC) that will be implemented in September 2011.

"The new SSEC structure is to ensure that every senior secondary school graduate is well prepared for higher education, and has acquired relevant functional trade/entrepreneurship skills needed for poverty eradication, job creation and wealth generation; and in the process strengthen further the foundations for ethical, moral and civic values acquired at the basic educational level." Said the Executive Secretary of NERDC, Prof Godwill Obioma.

Like most people, I am unapologetically excited about this new initiative and have my fingers crossed that the average Nigerian student will be able to adapt to this change. The introduction of Entrepreneurship into High School curriculum means, it is no longer business as usual. Hopefully, it will allow more room for creativity and critical thinking in our classrooms instead of the usual “handout” and textbook cramming. The average teacher/educator will also need to be well prepared enough to competently teach the subject. Infrastructures that will encourage the subject should be provided in all schools.

What Nigeria needs right now, to curb the increasing rate of unemployment and underemployment, eradicate extreme poverty and sustain the private sector is to stay committed in developing entrepreneurial skills among young people- right from primary school age. We need more Michael Adenuga and the likes in our generation and beyond.

Image via The Urbanlife

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Cultivating the Right Attitude

Joy Ekeledo, a first year student of the Nigerian Institute of Journalism shares an interesting insight into the life of a young person struggling to gain admission into university.  Can you remember your attitude during this period of your life? What is your attitude towards any challenges you might be facing right now? Remember to keep adopting a positive attitude towards life! Enjoy Joy’s story:
By Joy Ekeledo (Guest Writer)
Attitude is the way one feels or thinks about something or somebody. It equally refers to how one acts or behaves towards someone or something. I can vividly recall the trauma I passed through during the four years I waited patiently at home for a university admission. It looked more like a nightmare than a preparatory ground to get me matured for the system. I saw everything and everyone as a hindrance because the urge to gain admission increased tremendously overtime, like a dry grass sprinkled with petrol and set ablaze.
However, the tune changed when I finally gained admission. And so did my lifestyle. I felt that I didn’t have any role to play at home. All I did was go to school, and receive lectures. I began mixing with the wrong people at school. We went clubbing a lot. My attitude changed generally (I knew it) and because I went to school from home daily, it created enmity between my family and I. It was like becoming a stranger in my home.
It was not like socializing  at school is bad but like they say, too much of everything is not good.  Keeping bad company at school got a greater part of me and I started going down academically.
The consciousnesses of my running down fast on wrong lane made me realize the need for me to sit down and take stock of my life. It dawned on me that if I don’t retrace my steps, I would end in ruin. The following semester was a huge battle.
Developing the right attitude leads to a successful realization of a right life. If you have the right attitude, you can improve your life and change your life for the better!
My experience has taught me that the worst nightmare of any man can be changed with the right attitude.  We can differentiate our right from wrong, like separating the wheat from the chaff.