Sunday, August 17, 2014

Who Owns Nigeria? By Onyi Uchegbulam @prettyonyi

After careful observation accompanied with deep thoughts, I dare say that our root problem in Nigeria is ownership- ownership of our country; people, community & environment. In my opinion, about 80% of Nigerians look forward to absconding (and probably never come back) or staying back with the intention of taking as much money possible for self gratification. This thought made a deep impression in my mind as I travelled through the states (as a result of the nature of my job) and realised that every state had one thing in common: lack of maintenance. Yes, lack of maintenance of structures at first but when I began to brood on it, I found out, it goes much deeper than that.

Think about this; if something belongs to you, and it is of value to you, naturally its wise usage and maintenance will be of interest to you, to ensure its effectiveness. We've used up and keep using up our country (carelessly) without a maintenance plan.

An average Nigerian does not 'believe' this country belongs to him/her and so cares less about her. Take a look at our structures. As simple as a good maintenance plan for our existing structures can comfortably make our country almost as beautiful as any developed country. I say 'almost' because I acknowledge that their rate of development is faster than ours (for now).

Jos, the capital of Plateau State, used to be a town worth going to on vacation but following different crisis perpetuated by certain Nigerians, Jos has become a shadow of itself. We have misused the town following various crisis created by our minds.

Nigeria is gifted with beautiful natural sites but who will own the land and make it a duty to harness & create something out of it?

Our human capital are both misused and not 'maintained'. Consider how our youths are used to perpetuate evil, in a country where they should be making innovative decisions as leaders. Our current leaders do not see the need to own us and invest wisely in us, knowing that our success is their success and that of the entire nation.

Who cares for Nigeria? The pains of dis-unity it bears, the effect of our molestation on her, the damage our malignant tumour-ous activities on her brain. I ask again who cares for our country?

How far do we wish to go on taking all we can from her, weakening her and giving nothing back? And then we stand and curse her with words like ' this country is not going anywhere' this country is hard' our followers are ungrateful' our leaders are selfish'.....and so on. Even the Bible let's us know that death and life are in the power of the tongue. Ironically, we speak death to our Country and complain that it is dead.

Dear Nigerian, before you throw trash on the road, run a traffic light, spoil the tap of runny water in your office and walk away, use youths to rig election, sponsor terrorists, brain wash innocent kids on the streets for evil, send your child to a UK school and watch ASUU strike for months, keep avoiding retirement such that the younger generation don't come into office, curse our leaders and followers, before you get involved in these acts, stop and ask yourself 'Who owns Nigeria?

Onyi Uchegbulam
Follow on twitter: @prettyonyi

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Building a generation of youth with sound minds

Happy International Youth Day!

"If we don't take care of our future, if we don't make sure that young people are really given opportunities to realise their potential then we cannot hope to develop our continent." – Mo Ibrahim

Building a generation of sound mind

The theme for this year's International Youth Day (IYD) reminds me of my trip to the psychiatric hospital in 2010. I had an enlightening interview session with two doctors on the alarming increase of factors affecting mental health and the socio-cultural vices limiting medical interventions and treatment of mental disorder. You might want to check out the full report here

As we mark yet another exciting IYD with a focus on "Youth and Mental Health", I hope the day will not just be a whirlwind of activities. Each and everyone of us must commit and positively reach out to a young person in our community [neighborhood] and consciously mentor, support, groom, liberate him or her for a better today and tomorrow. This will reduce young people's vulnerability to mental disorder.

If you know a young person- out-of-school youth, or undergraduate, kindly forward this link [] to download a free copy of "Half a Loaf & a Bakery," a book on youth volunteering, education, entrepreneurship and employment. It also tells the story of how five young people who are top leaders in their fields today started out. Please follow this link to download a copy of the book for FREE.

Half a Loaf and a Bakery


Author: Jennifer Ehidiamen

Interviewer: 'Funso Bukoye

Foreword: Mrs Oby Ezekwesili

Publisher: Click Weavers Communication (CWC) Limited.

Also available on OkadaBooks [android app] and bookstores near you [Media store, Silverbird Galleria Abuja; Florence and Lambard bookstore Palmgrove, Lagos; Terra Kulture, Victoria Island Lagos].

Stay mentally healthy!