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Expand Your Vision.

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Only frustrated people will move out of where they are for the mere reason of being tired of being there; but a visionary person will move out of where he is, having with him the picture of where he is going.

Have you ever set out on a journey without having any definite destination in mind? No other word will describe such person than “wanderer” because he goes around having nowhere to go. That is the simplest description one can give to people who live this life with no aim or objective as to why they should be alive just like starting this new year with no vision or mission. It is popularly often said,

If you don’t know where you are going, you will not know when you get there, or taken passed it.

I’m sure you may have practical experience to explain this when you board a cab to get to an unknown place. If you ever find yourself in situation, nothing else you would other than ask for direction from those you may think is familiar with the environment.

The above is so true for life’s journey. Many are around today and all they know about life is; wake up, get money, eat and sleep -same thing every day, no purpose or vision. They merely always desire to earn more money, have a better life but have no vision to become somebody or achieve a certain thing in their life. That is why such people are always frustrated because they run aimlessly and focus on nothing – no benchmark or landmark that can measure how far they have come in life or how far they want to go. When we go on in life with no definite plan/mission to achieve a goal/vision, we are simply wandering in the wilderness of life but when the purpose is in place, you have the drive to forge ahead, a map to trace your route and an instrument to appraise your life. What is your purpose in life? Myles Monroe said,

If you don’t have anything to die for, you don’t have anything to live for.

If nothing motivates you to live or nothing you are striving for, you simply are marking time and wasting all the resources in your life. If whether you live or die makes no sense to you, it means you don’t have any reason to be around in first place.

You don’t have a reason to live if you have no reason for living because the reason why you live is the reason why you should be alive.

Lack of vision is what makes a man settle for just anything or think that he can’t go further than he has gone or achieve more that he already has. Many people get too comfortable with what they have or where they are, forgetting that in the next couple of years, what they perceive so golden now may fast become obsolete. Have you ever heard it said that the biggest room in this world is room for improvement? Move out, step out, and pursue your vision!

Know When To Move On
Perhaps you have made any great accomplishment in life in this past year, it’s only a pointer that you can achieve yet a greater course in this new one. Why are you pending your lifetime celebrating past glory when you can launch out for bigger ones? I don’t mean you shouldn’t have jubilation on your achievements but don’t waste time on it because other landmarks are waiting for your exploration. The first category of automobiles that were ever made were so celebrated but you remember what they became several years later. Further years down the lane of inventions, you can simply tell that the first automobiles have become mere artifacts in museums. If they have been so celebrated that we forget to improve on them, where would we find the today’s Ferrari, Buggati and Limousines we have today? You think you have done anything great lately? Congratulations. Move on, and forge ahead. Expand your vision!

Expand your perspective. See every challenge as an opportunity to add another feather to your achiever’s cap. As long as you have equipped yourself and live ready at all times, you will see problems as stepping stones to move higher and as opportunity to test your knowledge, strength and capability. Many are always of plunging because they think they are not armed enough to take the risk. How will you ever know when you are ready when you will not take any conscious action to get yourself fortified and decides to take a test of strength? Whether you are prepared or not, will always have to fight because life has its way of forcing you out of comfort zone and it will become a total tragedy if life has to dictate where you go and what direction you take simply for the reason that you have no vision or mapped our plan to guide you on how you want to live your life; you will soon have breadth snuffed out of you

Break Out!
Until you depart from where you are, no matter how beautiful you dream, you will not discover new places, new opportunities and greater landmarks. Do you have a plan? Execute it! You have vision, get on a mission! You have goals, live out the plans! No matter how many times you think you have tried and failed, you haven’t tried enough until you eventually achieved it but don’t forget to always have a backup plan in case you miss such opportunity that comes only once in a life time. It all depends on you to make it worthwhile because no achievements of one person are inferior to another as long as everyone put in their best and achieve their desired result.

It’s time to break out of the box! Make your life count in this new year.

Won’t you?

1409220217757Have you ever wondered why babies cry when they come out of the womb? I’ve had a lot of time to reason it out but no answer comes to mind. Some would say that it’s biologically normal. In a deeper thinking than that, I would say that they realized that they have come into a war zone. It’s really a war zone! Truly, they don’t know it’s a war zone. How could they have known when they get everything done for them, everyone loves them and everyone even carries them and dance around. But then, the reality pops in when they are grown enough to realize they are in a war zone!
If I had known this much at birth, I would have armed myself with the best armor to engage in the fierce battle of human survival of the fittest. I use to have life like a firework- bursting out with happiness and cheering all the way until the reality began to get dawn on me.

The Beginning
My name is Naomi. I was born in the year 2000, February 23rd at St. Thomas Hospital. I am currently 14; I lived in England before I moved to Nigeria. It all started in Primary School back in England when my fears took complete control of me. I never really cared about school or studying for that matter- may be because they never made it really serious for us. Reading is one of my biggest fears, I couldn’t read well. The words were terrifying. Every time in school when I was asked to read out loud or I even hear the word- “read”, my heart would start racing like a cheetah running after it’s pray. I would start shaking almost instantly and my eyes would slowly fill up with tears. All the air in my throat would leave my body in haste and I’d start to breakdown. I have never been my parent’s favorite child to praise because I’m not that smart with school works. My siblings, Michael and Tiffany were the best at any subject and they would always get praises from my parents. Do you know what it feels like to live and not feel alive? Even at my young age, I was depressed. I couldn’t spell or make my own family proud of me in any way- or so I thought.

I’m a very shy person; I don’t like talking. I’m the girl that cries out so loud in the silence and no one hears nor notices. I hated myself so much that I had to live behind masks- hiding my true sadness with a happy-face mask – so everyone would think I’m okay. No one knew the real me or how much I was hurting.

People would say “in time, things get better”. But for me, it only got worse. I was failing in school and failing in life; the battle was fierce. Everyone was a lot smarter and better than me. I never had faith in myself. When I got to Secondary School, oops! It was too much for me to handle. I would cry every day and every night, wishing that I could be someone else, because I hated myself. Nothing I ever did was right. I thought of the quickest way out and that’s when I fell in love with music. It was my only good friend that brought me happiness. I got bullied a lot at my Secondary School- Dame Alice Owens. People would always pick on me and call me mean names because I wasn’t smart like them and because I was shy. They kept filling my head with negativity and soon enough, I started believing them and developed social anxiety and phobia. I cried myself to sleep every night. Suddenly, it occurred to me that my parents were really supportive to me, helping me keep my head up, telling me that what the bullies said to me were lies and I am worth a lot.

…yet another leap
Then my family and I moved to Nigeria. This was another huge leap for me. I was terrified of what would happen to me even though it seemed a way out my horror in England. Would I be able to cope, I always ask myself? Until one Sunday that I went to church and the pastor was preaching about “Challenges in Life” – how what you say is what you become. He said “All things are possible with God. You need to believe in yourself and prove to the people against you that they are wrong about you. God loves you!”.

After that day in Church, my life started to change for the better. I told myself that if I keep on living negatively, I would never be successful. I changed the way I was thinking and believed in myself a lot more. My faith grew stronger. I know I’m still shy and have some difficulties; I’m a work-in-progress, getting to success. My school work improved and I got along fine in my new school – International Community School, thanks to my private teacher. Mr. Beejay has been a god-sent. He always has the right word for me at every time I am on my down-side. With how much he has taught and shown me, I know I can reach my life goal which is to become a Trial Lawyer, through the help of God. My future is bright and I couldn’t be happier.

“All things are possible though Christ that strengthens me” Philippines 4:13 (Paraphrased).

STORY BY: NAOMI.

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As we celebrate another Independence Day, I will like to go in retrospection of the 2014 West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) result that was released couple of months back; I never stopped wondering how worse this situation will get. Yes! It will get worse if we choose to continue to tread the path that led us here. It will be fantasizing to think it may get better and we do nothing critical about the condition of our education system. This is not pessimism because you don’t expect that you will have a change when you do the same thing same way you have always been doing it. How will the change come?

Nigeria education system is one that is very amusing. The decline in student performance is not a sudden sharp fall as some may think. For those that have been observant, the decline is has started for some years now but no one seems to care to do anything about it. There was a time when the Council used to award best performance in the examination and if you vividly remember, Nigerian students are always on top of the list. I’m certain that the reverse is now the case with this kind of outcome we have began to record. Gone are the days when Indian teachers were everywhere and Ghanians rush to our country to study. We have missed it so much!

Almost everyone had something to say about this ugly position of Nigerian students in the 2014 result released. From the wide range of people and persons that I listened to on the matter, some were quite right while others had nothing far from gibberish to blab in their analysis and bulk-passing to determine the root of the menace. I definitely do not have the absolute say on the issue, but permit my simple reasoning as I will like to share my view on the subject. Let me breakdown my analysis into few of the various segments of stakeholders in the Nigeria education system.

The Government
I am totally in the support of the idea that the Federal Government should have no business in the nation’s education in first place. This should be totally a State and the Private Sector affair if we truly are to practice true federalism. Education that has prospect of developing should be left in the hands of the concerned Private Sector and organizations while the state government only regulates their activities in a way that is peculiar to them.
But in this situation where the federal government makes it her business, why not give it the best shot?! Take a look at the education policies, how efficient have they been? In the last couple of years, the government has done nothing but putting old wine into new wine-skin in our education system. They have restructured syllabus severally but to what end, other than what many have suspected to be a way the government helps some people to make money by helping them to sell their books?   What about the annual budgetary allocation to the education sector?
Take a look at the this analysis on Vanguard’s release on the 16th of November, 2012 about some the other African countries allocation for their education in the same year 2012 and compare with the acclaimed giant of Africa- Nigeria:
Bostwana 19%, Bukina Faso 16.8%, Ivory Coast 30%, Ghana 31%, Kenya 23%, Lesoto 17%, Morocco 17.7%, South Africa 25.8%, Swaziland24.6%, Tunisia 17%, Uganda 27% but Nigeria was at 8%.
No country listed above had an allocation that was less than 15% but our dear Nigeria stands even short of 10%. As at this 2014, the budgetary allocation for education stands at 7.1% which is far below the United Nations’ recommendation.
It will not be surprising if this is further reduced in the country’s coming financial year. Public schools in Nigeria have resulted into learning practical by theory because there is no equipment and facilities for practical studies. Imagine a science student in secondary school that knows what a conical flask look like only in the pictures he sees in the textbooks. How many of them have laboratory before we even begin to ask if it is properly equipped? Imagine this school in the cover picture of this article, that is a Senior class in a school in one of our States. How do we then expect to have best performance in external examinations? Imagine the learning condition of the students in the cover picture of this article.

School Administrators and Teachers
Let’s take a look at this other stakeholders, funny enough, I belong to this group. Though I do more of private, contract and freelancing teaching, I have intermingled with countless number of school proprietors and directors as well as instructors and teachers. With what I have seen so far, most of our school owners are out there on business venture and the first thing that makes sense to them about the system is how to make maximum return on their investment. School is business to them and it’s really among the most lucrative actually. That is why every other thing is secondary to them as long as they make their rising profit at the end of every academic session.
Most of the teachers are no difference. Teaching is always the last result for most Nigerian job seekers. Without passion and enthusiasm for the students and teaching profession, they enter into the sector only to earn a living. Imagine teachers that wouldn’t read and do research, what will such have to offer the students in this fast pace world of developments and innovations? I recall a lecturer I had when I was in the Polytechnic, his study material as we noticed has never changed since ages as he kept on passing the same to every new set he’s assigned to lecture. Another very funny lecturer was one that will face the board and whisper the entire lecture to the few that manage to get the front seat who barely even understand what he’s saying. We’d always wondered why this man always give us tough assignments and test and it was later discovered that he was doing a post-graduate studies and some of his works are what he always pass to us and as fortune will smile on him, there were some of my mates that will go all miles to get the answer to his questions by checking through every relevant book in the library. I am sure the only reason he was doing PGD in first place is to have promotion (to earn more pay) and not for the love of study or lecturing.

The Parents
Parenting, as I know is a full-time job on its own but it amazing that many do not have this understanding. Some people just gave birth but are not really worth to be called parent if you look at the way they have handed over the nurturing of their children to the hands of the teachers and maids in the house all in the name of career and work. Tell me, because of who are they working? If they have been so busy instilling good morals and values into their children, how do they think they will manage the wealth they are amassing for them? When you see grown up adult and parents carrying chips and textbook to cheat in promotional and professional exams, what do you think they would not do for their children?
It starts from not having time to ask your children at the end of each day, what they have learned in school, what else happened in school etc. They barely had time to sit with their children to revise with them during examination period; after all they have paid a lesson teacher to handle that. I recall a particular mother, who will call me- the lesson teacher- to ask why her boy didn’t get everything in his school class work. “It’s your job to make sure he knows everything,” she’d say. Some parents go extra length to purchase answers for their children and if you ask why would they do that? They will tell you, “that’s what Nigeria has turned to.” Like they are not the ones turning it?! I had this guy I was preparing for WAEC some years back, each time I complain about his lack of seriousness, he’ll tell me not to worry myself that he will sure pass no matter what he does or do not do. Well, he did pass; much beyond what he could have gotten legitimately. I had no doubt to what transpired but I kept wondering how come he had access to that much cash that was required to do it? We should ask the parent, you will agree with me.

The Students
The level of laziness you find in students these days is very alarming. As much good internet has done, it has also made our student to be very lazy when it comes to sourcing and reasoning out answers. For those who may have a little time for study, once they google the question, they have the answer to copy straight away. Others will whine away the chunk of their reading hours to play video games, social networks, movies, gist etc. The ones that have performed exceptionally well and dedicated themselves to studies, how have they been rewarded? That takes us to the next stakeholders to take from the bulk:

The Corporate Organizations
Many Organizations today that are into one reality show, competition or the other will actually say that they are engaging in Community Development Services (CDS) or Corporate Social Resposibility as it is called today in terms of given back to the youth and society but is it not  obvious that they are doing great job in diverting their attentions from academics? The Organizations, as much as they are bringing out talents in youths, want popularity and patronage to boost their sales; they want a face for advertisement and approval for their products and services but why can’t they look in the area of what will enhance education, academic prowess and intelligence in the youths?

“They can give hugely for irrelevant and nudity of girls but rarely have anything for intelligence and academic prowess”

How do we convince the students that hard-work and education pays when they can become instant millionaires in one game or reality show? Look at the enticements they get from some of these Organizations;
MTN Project Fame winners get N7.5m and SUV with a recording deal, Etisalat Nigerian Idol is N5m and multimillion recording contract for winners, Glo Naija Sings awards N5m and SUV with recording deal, Airtel’s Nigeria’s Got Talent gives N10m to the winner, Gulder Ultimate Search N10m, endorsement and SUV, Maltina Dance All gives N10m, Star The Winner-is and Star Trek dole out millions as well and so many others.
Now imagine the few Organizations that are educationally inclined in their kind of programs and compare prizes with the ones stated above;
Cowbell National Mathematics Competition gives 100 thousand naira, Lagos State Spelling Bee awards 50 thousand naira, School Scrabble Competition is 25 thousand naira, Abuja Cultural Competition for Schools gives a Laptop to the winner and others give lower prices you can’t even imagine.

Conclusively, at the time that WAEC 2014 result was released, many people and concerned groups took to their usual event analysis that is either myopic in consideration or totally futile in its outcome. There were daily rouses on every media, the issue became the topic of discus on every program and interviews but I ask, after all the noise was made, what has happened? What step has been taking to disallow a re-occurrence? Your guess is as good as mine, none! Take a look at the cover picture of this article, that was an examination mood and imagine what kind of condition and psychological influence the students are in.

Let’s wait till next year to see what will happen and you will see many coming out to make their noise as usual.

But in earnest, what do you think we can do differently? Kindly post your comment below.

You may also find this link interesting; how a beauty queen in Unilag got a car prize while a winner of debate competition got a laptop.

saharareporters.com/2014/10/03/beauty-vs-brains-most-beautiful-girl-unilag-rewarded-brand-new-car-most-brilliant-debater
https://m.facebook.com/ReportYourself/posts/10152306885372703

African ChildrenCouple of months back, I was anchoring the Cultural Day program of one of the schools I consult for, it was a nice program and an eye opener for parents and the entire people that were present because it bore naked, the nonchalant attitude the today’s parents have developed towards the preservation of the African heritage through their children. Well, that will only be true for parents that know the real value of our African culture and values. But I don’t see why they wouldn’t know! Unless they don’t understand it themselves or have no appreciation for it and that makes them even worse than their children. In the Cultural Day program, I recall asking a question, “What is your name and what does it mean?” As I picked students at random to give me an answer, it was nothing surprising to everyone that more than 90% of them bear English or religious names as their parents might have found in their respective holy books and a few of them did well to know the meaning of those names. But that really satisfied my curiosity less, so I asked my question more directly, “what is your local or Nigerian name according to your tribal background.” That was the big issue! Many of them out rightly have no tribal name and the few that have had no idea what that name may mean.

Some that actually answer their local names have had the names shortened for them and the short form is what they think is their actual name. For example, a boy told me his name is “Timmy” according to his spelling and he has no idea what that means but I found out that his name is actually “Oluwatimileyin” in its full nomenclature (kind of long you may say, yes, it is) and it means, from Yoruba translation, “The Lord backs me.” My fear is this, how will such a child understand the beauty and soundness in the meaning of his name? Unless he gets curious enough to make enquiries at the time he thinks it’s important he knows. How will they know, when the parents see nothing important in educating their children about the beauty of their origin and identity? What happens to those days when grandparents carry their grandchildren on their laps or circle them around their old rocking chair to tell them about the moonlight tales, stories of the ancestors, fables, myths and sing those root songs? Typically speaking, there is no doubt that we are about to witness a generation of African children with little or no information that may link them to any particular African origin beside the colour of their skin. They practically will become lost generation that wouldn’t know where it comes from the best they will be is a second class citizen of wherever they find themselves either over the seas or worst for them, in their own lands.

Western Influence
Most will be quick to blame all these flaws on westernization and development in African continent but do you really think that development into first world countries really warrants that we get lost in transit? The countries that are called developed today; did they really lose their identity in the process of their development? Perhaps they did, and they calved out another that is most suitable for them but how come that is what we are longing to also imbibe? Why can’t we allow ourselves to evolve and we still retain our identity as to whom we are and where we are from? Many will also blame this appalling situation on the advent of religion that came in centuries past. If you will permit objectivity in considering that motion, has any of the two major religions that came into African been staunchly opposing to our culture and heritage beside that fact that they bring to us the worship of the Omni being of Supreme characteristics than the mini and semi-gods that we once believed?

What happened to our language?
As much universally acceptable some other languages have become, does this mean that our own dialects and tongues should be thrown away? In the attempt to appear acceptable to other country for economic reasons, we embraced their language and careless about our own. As diverse and multi that we are in language and culture, I strongly disagree that someone else’s should come to override ours. You will find children, especially those in diaspora, that are so proficient and oratory when it comes to speaking English, French etc but can they make the simplest sentence in their language? Even if their grandparent volunteers to teach them, how will they understand anything when communication cannot be established? Worse are those who are at home but city life has overtaken them because some parents even willingly chose not let their children speak their dialect thinking it may make them less brilliant.

What happened to our music and dance?
Here is where I think we’ve most missed it! Going back the history lane, it was reported that the African that were taken away in slavery into those other parts of the world are those that exported the African rhythms that over the years metamorphosed and transcended into all various forms of rhythms we have today. The hip-hop that is much overhyped today is part of what our rhythms and souls have been modernized into. But it’s scarier now that this so-called hip-hop has less or nothing of morals and values to whom we are as Africans. Those lyrics that remind us of worth of human life and dignity, life lessons and morals, beauty of human soul etc have all been replaced with words of immorality and encouragements of slangs that corrupt the mind. We need renaissance musicians who will preserve the beauty of our harmony and rhythms to show the next generation that Africa is the place of origin of music.
What about our dances? What about those beautiful steps to the talking drums and rolling that we use to depict royalty and excitement? They have all been replaced with erotically and mind-bugging wriggling and squirming that promotes promiscuity and sexuality even to the under-aged. So senseless of the so-called dancers that the people singing most likely will be near-moderately dressed but they are the ones wearing skimps and shorts that covers nothing beyond just the top of their cleavages and area of their rotund asset.

What happened to our dressing?
Fashion, we know is in cycle even when it appears to be evolving. When I look at my mum’s pictures when she was a single lady, with her friends and sister, the kind of big eye-glasses they wear is such you may call bottle but isn’t it what the trend is today? What about the high-hill shoes? I’m sure you know it didn’t just start recently. But wouldn’t it bother you how this evolution is playing on? Proper and modest manner of dressing that use to tells us of a well-mannered child and great family background has now become something of tremendous concern because we are fast losing the difference between ladies’ and men’s wears in the present age. Nudity seems to be more convenient for today’s ladies as they try to follow the ways of the Westerners forgetting that sometimes, “what is good for the goose is not befitting to the gander.”

So on and so forth we will continue to list things that have gone wrong in our society and we gradually are losing the “we” that we are. Africa is a beautiful place. To be black in colour should have nothing to do with the content of our heart and mind. The rest of the world has rarely seen the good and great things that are coming out of African because all they have to show all the time is how impoverished, disease stricken and helpless we are.

Who will help us?
Has it not bothered you to see how the westerners seem to know more than most of us when it comes to history and legacy of our land? How come they have to be the ones to write our story for us and we expect it to be accurate enough to pass to our children’s children? This is a collective effort of all of us! Let us all be proud of our heritage and preserve it through the coming generations as we teach them our morals and core values that distinguish us from every other continents of the world.

Let’s help ourselves. Please teach your children our language. Let them learn our culture. Give them our cloth to wear to understand our fashion. Take a clue from the cover photo of this article, these are children that we can count on to preserve the heritage of our beautiful African culture. No matter where we go or any place we have found home or even become citizen, the first fact can never be denied, “we are first Africans.”

Sign up your comment below to join the renaissance movement to preserve our African heritage.

817030.TIFI read an anonymous quote, “Not all persons that call to check on you really care about you; some of them actually want to make sure you are not doing better them.” It is very disheartening to know that some people think your success is impedimenta to theirs whether they are in the same field with you or not. They are typically so concerned and believe you have no reason to do better than them because they have better education, qualification, skill and talent so you have no reason to be better than them or they think why should you have so much when they don’t? They think they should have been the one occupying your position.

From one of John C. Maxwell’s book, I read a story of when he met an old school friend who walked up to him at the end of a conference meeting where Maxwell was a speaker and after they had exchanged pleasantries, they began recalling few other colleagues that they both knew. The man was very comfortable talking about how a couple of those people he had seen recently were not doing so well but his emotion sharply shifted when it came to Maxwell and few others that had risen above average. According to the story, he almost got near tears as he was asking Maxwell how he has come to make it so much but he is still struggling with everything in life. From the conversation, Maxwell wrote that the man wasn’t so concerned about what to do or how he could change fortune for himself. Rather, he kept asking how come Maxwell has made so much success. It was obvious he could have been happier if they both had been on the same level or if he was doing better than Maxwell. There are people like that everywhere.

A friend like a brother, Mr. Oluwaseyifunmi Peters also shared about his High School mate who made a comment that one of the reasons why most of their mates hadn’t been turning out for the alumni meeting is because they feel they are not doing well enough compared to how some others that were their mates are doing. That got me to thinking. That means they would have not mind the open if they are doing better than others or perhaps just as others are doing. Such attitude unconsciously breeds resentment and bad wishes towards those we perceive to be doing better than us.

It is very important to realize some facts about this life that we’re living in; some things are predetermined and you can’t change them. What you choose to do with these facts is the only control you have and the good news is, you can make absolute difference by what you do with you have. Here are some of the facts of life:

We all begin at different spot.
Nobody born into this world ever chose where he/she wants to be born or into which family to be born and that is the beginning. No man ever choose his starting point, it was predetermined and chosen for you by destiny. But it is good to also know that your starting point has nothing to do with your destination. Some started very big but ended up small while some started not only small, but with nothing. Yet, their habour was incomparably huge. Note: never trust or get troubled because of your beginning, where you come from, financial background, family history or parental status. They did not choose you, neither did you decide them. Just accept it!

We’re all giving something.
From the popular parable of the master that shared talents to his servants, we get to know that no one in this race of life ever came empty. No matter how tiny or seemingly insignificant you think what you have is, it is just enough to get you what you want and where you are going to. Most people face the same problem the last servant in the parable had; he thought he could do nothing with what he had and rather trashed it. Worst situation for some is that they don’t even know what they have! Note: think and figure out what gift or talent you have. Develop it into great skill and let it make fortune for you.

Life’s a choice.
Many people have not come to terms with this fact about life. I always say, “Whatever comes the way of a man is meant to be but he decides whether it remains temporal or permanent.” Life and living are choices. How we live our life is the choice we make irrespective of whether we consciously or otherwise make the choice because failing to make a choice is also a choice you have chosen to make. In case you fail to make any choice, it will be made for you and you have to live with it. Note: your life is in your hands, if you fail to make decisions or take bold steps that will take you to places you desire, then you have no one to blame for remaining at one spot but yourself.

“If life’s a choice, what choice have you made?”

Life’s a race but we run in different tracks.
Everyone knows life’s a race but we need to realize the fact that we run on different tracks. Some are in marathon, double relay huddles and some are in single relay, sprints etc. We run on different tracks and we don’t have the same finish-line so there’s no point running on someone else’s timing. How fast or slow others are does not determine your pace and yours has nothing to do with theirs. Note: we will all get to our destinations only if we are tenacious enough and it matters nothing whether somebody gets to theirs before you get to yours. No one can take your destiny or run your race. Even if you fall and it doesn’t matter how many times, rice again. Don’t hate!

Life’s a bus.
Life is like a bus; it goes nowhere in particular but can take you everywhere. Imagine yourself in a commuter bus, everybody has different destination and you will be a fool to alight at someone else’s bus-stop simply because they’ve arrive on time. Your dilemma will worsen if you don’t even know where you are going because everywhere will look like it; you will end up in a cycle. Note: know what you are cut out for and how you want to get to where you are going to avoid wasting your life and dissipating energy on fruitless ventures that may cause you to lament or resent others. Blame no one for your failure.

I can go on and on with these facts but I will assume that they are not what you don’t already know. My dear lady friend, Elizabeth Ezekiel will always say, “Happiness is not an option.” Sure it is not but some still never make the choice to be happy and they blame other people for their sadness, that’s cruel if you ask me. If you haven’t ever come across the book “Who Moved My Cheese” by Spencer Johnson, M.D, I’ll recommend you get it to read and understand how things get to happen right under your nose and forming ignorance of these events will only be at your own detriment.

Thanks for letting me share some of my insight with you.

You mind to share some other facts of life? Post them here in the comment box.

1409220217757Naomi is one of the most wonderful amongst the students I have because of the peculiarity in her nature. When I first took her on for tutoring, she’s absolutely not the most brilliant I’ve ever seen yet never the dullest but there’s one word that was never printed on the life dictionary of this my precious student, that is, courage! Beside the fact that she was so scared, she thinks she’ll mess up her academics and disappoint lots of people. Self-confidence was another thing she thinks is reserved for the angels or may be specially chosen ones like her two siblings who she thinks have no fear and are better off. I kept wondering what to do reach out to her but truth be told, I practically had no idea. Until I gradually began to unfold and understand who she is, that’s when I started to think of what to do differently to help her because one of the greatest mistake a teacher or parent can make is to think of all the students or children to be the same and try to apply same method of tutoring or nurturing to them all.  

It was very funny how I got to have the brightest light into Naomi’s personality. She was asked to write a poem and when I read it, I noticed that she’d personified herself in the poem and she bared herself in words she wouldn’t have ordinarily thought were describing her. I was thrilled by the way and manner she lived herself inside out on paper and I realized the beauty of her mind.

Here, read Naomi’s poem;
I’m standing here, can you see me? No, you can’t
I am invincible to the eyes of the world, the land and the seas
I sit here quietly, shhhh! Not making any sound
I am like a statue of steel, skeleton of iron
Covered with clay and coated with brass
Beautiful to behold, not talking just looking

My heart is beating; can you feel it?
Like that of a prey fleeing for its dare life
From the chase by a cheetah on its fours
I am like the voice crying out in the silence
When you shout with pride, all I do is fear
Wishing I can stand so tall up and match up

It’s like I am trapped in my own world
How will I ever get out of this wall they or I built?
Everyone’s in the real world of theirs
But here I am in the corner as a side-kick
Locked up in my very own thoughts and mind

I guess that’s my life and who really I am
But I don’t know what to do nor way to take
There’s not that much time yet, I need a break
Everything’s closing in on me, so I have to run
Only that there’s no place willing to take me

Life’s so strange and weird. Funny, if you ask me
One second you’re like a child learning to walk
The next, it’s already time to fly and even to soar
But every time I try to fly, I fall
I don’t know why, I have no clue

But this time I will fly and achieve
It wouldn’t matter how many times I’d fallen
Even to the bruises I will pay no attention
My wings I’ll renew, broken ones I shall mend
Because not this time, not this time will I fall.

I believe. Yes! I believe!

Just like every other teenager, I see the battle of life that ravages my dearest’s heart. It is such a battle that every adult had once fought too but it’s unfortunate that this generation is having this battle close to its peak and in another dimension not in their favour. Then I wonder what the yet unborn generation will have to scale through! Like my Naomi, most teenagers think no one understands them or knows what their yearnings actually are because they are so preoccupied and more than a million questions in their heart shout for answers.

Formative years in a man’s life are his childhood years but the teen years are the decisive years. They decide who they want to be, life they’ll choose to live and how they want to live it. This is why it’s very important that parents/guidance don’t lose touch on their child at these critical years. Teenagers will be tempted to overrule the counsel of their parent in favor of their friend’s or outsider’s advice but this will be no issue if they have trusted their parent much enough. The onus of trust falls mostly on the parents based on the manner they have handled the affairs of their teenagers. Some parents can’t even beat their chest to say categorically who their teenager is, in terms of the personality, temperament, abilities etc and these are most times the silent part of the teenager’s life that cries loudest; who am I or nobody knows me!

Well, after a while, Naomi gradually found her feet. She’s finally ready to fly and soar like an eagle, trusting that even when she seem falling, there’s an invisible hand of her Maker ever ready to lift her up; and with her understanding and caring parent, she can achieve anything.

What a privilege and grace I’ve found being used in shaping a life!

pen-and-pad
Life is like paper and we are the pen. A plain paper is this life that is waiting to be written upon because every waking day is a blank page that presents us with the opportunity to write on in the manner of what we desire to write. For some people, it’s very long and plenteous pages while others are not very lucky to have wide and full pages to display their prolific endowment.

The life we live is the ink writing on the pages of life. Every acts and actions we display at any moment are the letters and words that make sentences and subsequent paragraphs on the pages of life. Shouldn’t we be mindful of what we do and write on these pages because they are very conspicuous for all to read? Just like you will take a pause to think each time you hold a pen to scribble on a piece of paper, you should learn to take a pause to think about that act or action you’re about to display because it’s a chain reaction. You can’t afford to be inconsistent in your writing but that’s what happens if your writings are not linkable in any form. Doing that makes you like a child that is meddling with a pen on paper and you can be sure of what to read when he’s done- jargons! Is that what you’ll want your life to be? Same way, when you find it difficult, as a result of negligence, to write a readable sentence even when you have the right letters (acts) and words (actions) but have no link to form the simplest sentence because of your inconsistencies in what you do now and in the next minute, or you write in a language that is strange to your environment, everyone around will have no doubt than to tag you “jotter” where they can only take note and make occasional but less important writings on, and treat you same manner unlike if were a diary.

Consider this fact, inks are indelible on paper just like whatever you write on the pages of life are permanent- you cannot erase it, you can only correct it. Have you seen what a piece of paper with shaded jags on every part in the name of trying to erase or cover mistakes? Rough! That’s the term that will characterize such life when you waste your time tracing backward all the time in the attempt to clean up or better say, cover up your mistakes. Rather, you should move on in writing by doing what will remedy your previous error. This is why you cannot afford to mess up your pages. Take time to consider by proofreading every line and paragraph because they are the only precedents and foundation on which subsequent actions and behaviors will be built. The life you lived yesterday is simply what leads you to the one you’re living today.  

Here’s one other thing to note; when the ink is out in every common and available pen, the remains that is; the casing become of no value than to be trashed or crushed. The quantity and quality of your ink is the only thing you have no control over because they are determined by the Maker but you have the absolute liberty to write what will either thrill or throw away the people around your life. Some people have wasted their ink on careless and non-profitable writings and it becomes unfortunate to see how the other pages and spaces of their life are wasted. What could have a brilliant piece of work will then turn out to be an incomplete and a simply wasted life not well lived.

We should also not forget that the entire usefulness of a pen is in the content- the ink it has. Someday the entire ink shall be used up; all spent and finished! What will remain will be the useless casing. What do you do with an empty casing? Trash it?! Yes, trashing is the end of the casing no matter how nice it is or looked. The body is trashed to the dust from where we come and we’ll return eventually. Nobody will remember how beautiful the case looked; everyone will quickly forget how gorgeous your face looked when you’re alive. It will no longer matter whether you were dark, brown, white or red in colour but all that will ever be remembered is what the ink has written; what life you have lived. The sentences and paragraphs you’ve composed with your acts and actions that will make up the story or novel is all that will be available for people to read and remember when you are gone but never forgotten.  

Have you been writing good and making nice sentences all along? Congratulations to you because you are leaving a bestseller behind for people to read and be blessed with. But if you’ve have been writing so badly or making whether deliberate or unintended mistakes, don’t waste your time looking for cleaner to rub it off because inks are indelible. If you force an ink on paper to clean, you will unavoidably cause bruises on the paper of your life. Your mistakes are enough pain to bear, why making it more grievous and sour? Leave behind all the shading you’ve done to cover your errors and rather determine to turn a new leave on your page of life and move on writing entirely new things. It doesn’t matter what you’ve been writing before now but what you’ll begin to write as from now is what matter most.

Your life is the paper and the way you live is the pen that writes on the paper!    

NCP_LOGOEnglish language came to the Sounthern Protectorate in 15th century before it was amalgamated with the Northern Protectorate to form Nigeria years later in 1914, through Portuguese traders and later the missionaries and colonial masters. English found its way into education gradually through the education code of 1882 which recommended the payment of grants to schools where English is taught. Today, it has become an all-important language in Nigeria. It is the language of science and technology, commerce, trade, administration education and means of national and international communication.

One would have expect or wish that the attainment of independence in 1960 and the casting off of the yoke of imperialism, the language referred to as the language of conquest and oppression would have been abolished. On the contrary, the English language has come to stay as the official language despite the fact that Nigerians have their indigenous languages before the arrival of the white man. The imposed language has since then become Nigerian language. Our indigenous languages have been replaced by English even at homes where there is inter-tribal marriages and worst still in intra-tribal marriage homes where the children could have picked the language of one or both of the parents. But it’s saddening that most parents do not see the need to typically get their children to identify with their mother-tongue and heritage beyond what they in their certificates as an indigene of a certain place. Unfortunately, most parents will be so ashamed if their children will attend any contest in local language speaking because they can hardly say a word in that tongue. English is been used as a medium of communication and instruction. I conclude that most children of this generation are simply lost but worst still, it may not get better with the current trend if we all don’t rise up to see this as a menace.

Our Language and Culture
We put aside the fact that one of the characteristics of language is that, it expresses our culture and values. The white man has eventually taken over our cultural heritage or I should say we’ve sold all to them. English language has become the means that determine the progress that students can make in their quest to acquire higher education and prestigious employment. Similarly, students are not promoted into higher classes it they do not do well in English language in school. It is the medium of instruction from Primary up to the University level and beyond. Internal and external examinations are written in English except where the indigenous language is learnt as subject.

This being very necessary should give the government of Nigeria a great concern over the decline of students’ performances in external examinations in English. No wonder some UK schools will still require prospective students seeking admission to take TOEFL and some other English test to ascertain their ability to learn and communicate when they eventually gain the admission. We have embraced the language yet it’s amazing how poorly most people even students use the language both in oral and written. At least if we must use it, let it be properly used.

Apart from the role English plays in Nigeria education, it functions as a language of accommodation. English is in fact, the world language. Nigerians use it at international functions; it is the language of diplomacy. For instance, at Common Wealth, ECOWAS or any other international body or organization, Nigeria has no other provision for any other language than English for taking part in the deliberations. The mass media, both print and electronic use English language. In religions domains, English is used for sermons. The realistic role of English in Nigeria is endless. It is our unifying factor for development, since language in a human phenomenon is used to establish social relationship and interaction.

It is therefore unrealistic to think that any of our Nigerian languages can replace English as far as globalization and development is concerned. Though, the language was imposed on us, we still have to “let the sleeping dog lie” and face reality. English language is indeed the necessary evil that cannot be done away wish in Nigeria. The English language and its people has taken a lot from us yet our generation today is never tired of giving more considering how our daily lives encircles round western ideologies while our culture and heritage gradually slip away from our grasp.

Summarily, we should appreciate the good English language and its people have done to us as a nation and people because amalgamation of Nigeria would have in first place been impossible noting the fact that we have overly diversified ethnics groups in Nigeria with different languages but personally, I fair for the extinction of our languages, culture and heritage in this status-quo be maintained without any pragmatic action from the homes and society of every tribe and tongue in this country.

“Anyway, I could I have been able to communicate this piece to the world if not in English language? My point, let’s learn to write and speak English the way it ought to be and alongside be as versatile in the oratory and prolific handling of our own languages to preserve our treasure and generation. God authored every language and some evolved from another but we should not undermine the creativity of the Creator with our voluntary or involuntary acts of causing some into extinction.”

A Successful Relationship

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DSC07697I can’t be sure of what you may define a successful relationship to be but in my opinion, it is such that graduates you into engagement status; a guarantee level if I must say.
My belief, and confirmation from elders and people I consider to have authority and good moral ground in marital affairs is that relationship level is not a ground to test-run girls/guys but you can always double-check even till you’ll say “I do”. I’m of the school of thought that believes marriage to be sole essence of every relationship. If not, it shouldn’t have
been taken beyond dating level.

Relationship should be mutually consented into by both parties involved although it is also common that a guy and a lady who has grown fond of each other may find themselves rolled into relationship but it must not be left to chance as soon as they both come to the awareness of what they have gotten themselves into. It must not be assumed or pretended if you wish for its
success. This simply gets down to 2-basic facts that are the core ingredients of every successful relationship.
They are;

1. WILLINGNESS
You cannot expect to have a successful relationship when either of the parties is not fully aware or pretends to be unaware of what is passing emotionally between him/her and the other person. More importantly, there must be mutual agreement to consent to relationship
with the other person after both parties have thoroughly considered the pros and cons of what they are getting themselves into. They must willingly begin and agree to continue or discontinue the relationship instead of nurturing the thought of “things will sort our itself or time will tell”.
Relationship should not be “implied” because it will be an act of seriously malicious emotional suicidal mission to assume you are having an affair with someone who thinks otherwise after you must have given your all in response to his/her simple act of kindness-without-a-string-attached. You can simply be
judged to be selfish and unjust if you lay any claim or allegation that he/she broke your heart.
Why should you let your heart be broken?
Do not let the melancholic nature of a guy/lady cloud you to think that he/she has an uncompromising feelings for you because that is just whom he/she is in nature and you forget to take the bitty-gritty to decide your life.

“Safe your fragile heart by discerning if he/she is just playing out him/her caring self or has genuine interest in you. “Express” yourselves in clear and agreeable terms to relief the pains of assumptions.”

2. COMMITMENT
This is the most simply-complex part of every
successful relationship. Yes, simply-complex! That is, simple but yet complex in the sense that you can choose to make or mire your relationship based on your commitment level. Most people are of the opinion that both parties to a relationship must come to the table to share a 50-50 kind of love but I’ll will rather subscribe to a 100-100 tender that can be combined to form another whole 100.
Successful relationship requires total participation and a committed effort from both parties to make it work. You must be ready to stand up for each other, face whatever fact and truth available to make a decisive decision.

Struggling through a relationship is not fun especially if you have no prospect of clear victory at the end. There are always road signs and warnings that give you the insight as to what to expect in the relationship.
Although, it should be noted that road signs and
warnings on the trail of relationship exodus are not necessarily road blocks. They can sure be worked on and converted into chances if both are committed to make a significant meaning of the relationship.

“Commitment to each other and to the goal of a successful relationship leading into peaceful marriage is important, not only to help each other get better but also to foster close friendliness between the duo. With commitment, you will learn to tolerate, appreciate and celebrate your spouse.”

Conclusively, take the formula; “willingness and
commitment,” they are the decisive factors of love, trust, endurance, etc that are called the Fruits of the Spirit.

Above all, God is the absolute, final and total way to a successful relationship. Get God, you will get a new and good live to enjoy lasting marriage resulting from successful relationship.

Freedom of Speech -Hate: A Good Fuel For Religious Intolerance.

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International-Religious-FreedomMy best novel Author- Ted Dekker must have written his 2008 award winning book “SINNER”. These things are fast coming on us but we seem so insensitive. When all will become chaos, then we’ll turn to bulk passing. The future is here but lots are so blind to notice, let alone see it.

Read the Vanguard report of an incidence in England by Rotimi Fasan:

THE brutal murder of British soldier, Lee Rigby, by two religious terrorists on May 22 is the immediate trigger for this week’s column.

The murder which for its sheer brutality has been rightly identified for the barbaric act that it was has left many wondering what kind of hatred could have caused it. It was a throwback to the age of tribal wars and battles when relatively crude implements were the preferred weapons of offense.

The attackers momentarily turned a space in the 21st century into the age of head hunters when alike sharp and blunt knives and machetes came in handy as tribal groups tackle their enemies. And so it was that Rigby’s attackers, one of whom has been identified as Michael Adebolajo (Adeboloja?), a Briton of Nigerian descent, set upon their victim with machetes, knives and a meat cleaver.

While meat cleavers may not be very familiar sight here in Nigeria, anyone who has seen one of these instruments of British butchers would know what horror was enacted on the streets of Woolwich, the southeast London community, where Rigby was hacked down in broad day light and before moving cameras.

To make their gory job easier and in apparent recognition of how uneasy it would be to take on a soldier straight on knuckle for knuckle, these terrorists who tried to pass off their ignoble acts as one motivated in defense of their religion, had two things in their favor. One was surprise. The other thing was that they ran their victim down with a vehicle thereby seizing the unfair advantage as they, these cowardly terrorists always do.

They proceeded to put on a performance for the cameras with their bloody hands and clothes in full view while asking outraged passersby to take their pictures and/or call in the police. Well, these religious showmen never like to pass up any photo opportunity. Where they do not exist they create them- they simply must have their time in the spotlight no matter how brief.

In the wake of the attack, Muslim leaders in the UK and around the world have been loud in condemning a terrible murder they claim gives a bad name to their religion. They want the world to believe and accept that their religion is all about peace. This may well be the case but these leaders need to ask themselves why one religion spawns so many murderous elements from within its fold or creates room for people who use its name to perpetrate unspeakable evil.

The answer to this may not be so difficult to arrive at giving the kind of utterances some of these so-called leaders routinely spout. The increasing and misleading radicalization of Muslim youths may not be unconnected to the rhetoric of hate some of the people who speak as leaders of their religion adopt when addressing sensitive issues of religion.

They make it look like the religion is always in need of defenders whose only means of operation is violence. We see and hear these in the utterances of some of these self-styled leaders of fast mushrooming organizations that their founders routinely use as platforms for spreading hateful rhetoric.

With Nigeria and Nigerians increasingly appearing on the world stage as terror artists there is the need for the state and those genuine Muslims who can truly see what moral burden their religion is being put under to be bold in their condemnation of the activities and, especially, utterances of their members and others who simply use the name of the religion for their own purposes.

One such organization in my view is the Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC, whose so-called director, Is-haq Lakin Akintola, has attacked the Lagos State governor and the State’s Commissioner of Education, Olayinka Oladunjoye, as declaring war against Muslims for restricting use of hijab in public schools in the state.

Mr. Akintola has probably never witnessed a riot to say nothing of a war yet he makes perfunctory statements on war as if he is ready for one. His belligerent rhetoric, as reported in the Vanguard of May 23 is the stuff on which murderous elements like Adeboloja are weaned. ( And talking about Adebolajo, it is right that Nigerians should reject any attempt to link him to this country.

He may be of Nigerian descent but he is a British product who probably has never set his foot on any part of Nigeria. Nigerians are in my view within their rights to reject any link with this scum of the human species. We can do without the negative publicity from him and his likes).

When acts or policies people are opposed to are viewed in martial terms, as belligerent actions targeted at particular groups/religions or communities rather than issues that could be debated amicably, members of such groups or communities, especially the lunatic fringe, feel justified to launch what they consider appropriate acts of war in retaliation. The process for such radicalization is often subtle and subliminal but the consequences are not.

The attackers of Rigby claimed they wanted to start a war. Indeed Michael Adebolajo has been described as quiet and easygoing. The same thing we heard about Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian underwear bomber, who tried to blow up American planes a few years back.

When did people like these get to that tipping point when they believe they have to commit abominable acts of terror against defenseless people if not by constant exposure to the hateful utterances of so-called religious leaders who turn around, Pontius Pilate-style, to wash their hands off violent acts their utterances caused?

There have been too many hateful preachers in our midst in recent times all making glib pronouncements on war- from Asari Dokubo, the expired militia man who blows hot and cold in his attitude to the Jonathan administration, to the cowardly terrorists who have turned Northern Nigeria into a war zone. This now is time to rein in these preachers of hate before they bring the house down on us all.

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