Thursday, May 31, 2012

UNILAG - MAULAG: What is in a name?


I have tried hard to refrain from saying anything about this UNILAG/MAULAG 'ish', but it is just not working... I have to say something!

I don't particularly care much for the renaming of UNILAG. I must have been in Secondary School when NEPA was renamed PHCN; today - almost everyone refers to them as NEPA! The University of Ife was renamed Obafemi Awolowo University in 1987, before I was born; today, I refer to myself as a graduate of 'Ife' - reserving the name 'Obafemi Awolowo University' for my resume and job interviews. Last I checked, we were still human - creatures of habit - such name changes just don't stick!

What I care for is the logic behind the name change, and the choice of date to announce it. I have long thought that there is a National Distraction Committee at work somewhere in Aso Rock, whose responsibility it is to distract Nigerians from the real issues...

I mean, Mr. President gives a speech on the first year anniversary of his election (about two years since he has been in office) - and the only thing Nigerians can take away from his speech is the name change! The Distraction Committee must all be on vacations to Las Vegas for a job well done... They got us!

Insecurity has grown wings... There is still no light, despite the various promises made since 1986... The cost of doing business continues to rise by the day... The number of unemployed youth has never been larger... Foreign nationals dare not go out in many cities without police escorts, and yet - kidnappings are on the rise... The roads have never been worse... And Mr. President has the presence of mind to rename a Federal University!!! You've got to be kidding me.

The new name does not guarantee UNILAG graduates any more jobs on graduation... It does not provide them direly needed funding and power to start their own businesses... It does not improve their status in foreign embassies... It does not change anything!

We need to grow up as a country... Or these guys will take us on a ride till the end of time... Imagine Obama renaming a University during a State of the Union address... Go figure!

Those are my thoughts... Hardly coherent, I guess, but that's just my anger coming across in my thoughts... Differing thoughts? Please share...

PS:
Next year, it will be the University of Ibadan becoming the Lamidi Adedibu University or the Bola Ige University... Just watch. :)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Happy Birthday, Wale Osideinde



All of us have that one friend that is always there...

You know, the type that you go to for a loan even when you have owed them since forever; the type that you drop into their house unannounced and bounce them from their own bed; the type that continues to give you a 'second' chance even after you have turned 'messing up' into a full-time job; the type that sticks so close - you forget you don't share the same second name... (doesn't apply when it comes to their girlfriend/wifey though)... :D

Well, maybe I have a couple of friends that fit this description - but there's one that stands heads and shoulders above all others, Adewale Osideinde, and he's a year older today...

Happy birthday to my friend, brother, and role-model in many ways...

May God make you bigger!

(Please comment if you know Wale and want to wish him a Happy Birthday)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Unilever IdeaTrophy 2nd Edition

Unilever Nigeria's IdeaTrophy competition is now in its second edition.

How to participate:

  • Form a team: this competition is only open to teams with 3 members.
  • come up with a mind-blowing business idea; you will be up against some of the brightest young people in Nigeria, so put in your very best.
  • register your idea at www.ideatrophy.com.

The winning team gets to discuss it with Unilever Vice Presidents in the UK and in Singapore!

Open only to full-time University students below 24yrs, with at least a 2nd Class Lower.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Proposed Wage Increase for Nigerian Policemen


I read today that the acting Inspector General of Police, M. D. Abubakar, is advocating a wage increase for Nigerian policemen. In my opinion, this is a good move.

Nigeria needs to restore dignity to the profession of policing. Educated young men and women considering a career in the Police Force need to be assured of a respectable quality of life. They need to know that they will be able to afford decent housing, a respectable school for their kids, and an overall good quality of life.

However, more stringent entry requirements should accompany such a wage increase. The present case where many people become policemen (at the rank-and-file level) only after failing at every thing else needs to stop. We need to start demanding higher education levels (an OND might be fine, but definitely not SSCE), better communication skills (orally and in writing), and so on...

Also, on the point of the highway checkpoints - the IG seems to mean business... Every chance he gets, he reiterates that the checkpoints are not coming back, and I also think that a good move - with a balance however. He needs to establish a working highway patrol mechanism...

My thoughts... :)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Is Life Living You?


One of my earliest posts on this blog leaned heavily on the following saying by Philip Larkin:

"Life has a practice of living you, if you do not live it".

Today, talking to a friend about short term plans for our lives and stuff, I was again reminded of the importance of that statement...

We all need to learn to consciously choose how we spend our time, who we spend it with, what we spend it doing... After all, in the end, the only difference between high achievers and average people may be found in their daily schedules...

When do you wake up? What do you splurge on? What do you do with your leisure time? How many hours do you spend messaging and using Twitter? How much do you save?

If we don't find answers to these questions consciously, life will find answers for us...and then we will have to live with the consequences of those answers...

Peace.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

On Saving and Spending...


Yesterday, I discovered the following quote by Warren Buffet:

"Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving."

And then this morning, in a totally unrelated search - I discovered the following quote, also by Warren Buffet:

"People invariably do the very opposite of what is best for their personal wealth creation."

It is well known that expenses always rise to meet income, i.e. the more you earn, the more you tend to spend. Hence, the practice of saving what is left after spending will inevitably lead to fewer and fewer savings... :)

On the other hand, saving before spending ensures that earlier-set targets are met, conscious choices are made about spending, and more value is demanded per Naira spent.

As we approach a month end (with the attendant salary disbursement), remember to take out your savings first (after your tithe of course) - and to make sure your savings are safe from you. You may read my earlier financial article about escrow accounts here.

To your financial success!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Youtube Video of Rashidi Yekini's Famous Goal (Nigeria vs Bulgaria, 1994)



So I finally found a Youtube link to Yekini's famous goal... RIP Yekini.

Jonathan signs bill for new retirement ages


I read this morning that Jonathan signed into law a bill enabling University professors to retire at 70. This was one of ASUU's major demands, as it is a quick-fix to a problem that runs even deeper, but I think otherwise... Nigeria seems to have a fixation with treating symptoms - and not fighting the underlying causes of her problems.


Problem: Many professors (those that manage to stay in Nigeria) are retiring and we are having increasingly fewer professors in our Universities. Solution: increase retirement age so that they can serve for 5 years longer.

In my opinion, this is not very wise.

In my opinion, we do not need older professors to lecture for longer, we need younger people who are knowledge-driven to become professors. Nigeria needs to make a life of academia attractive. Students considering a PhD need to know they will maintain a similar quality of life in the future as their colleagues who choose careers in oil companies. PhDs need to be respected, and they should be granted opportunities outside of the classroom to contribute to societal development.

If we do not strike at the root-causes, we might be surprised to have ASUU go on strike in another 5 years for the retirement age to be increased to 75.

Any thoughts?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Happy 28th Birthday, Mark Zuckerberg


Mark Zuckerberg turns 28 today. I couldn't quite believe that when I saw it on a friend's wall, so I did a quick double-check on his Wikipedia page.

It is quite impressive that in those 28 years, he has given the world its foremost social networking tool: reconnecting long-lost friends and re-defining sharing and communication. Yes, and did you know he was Time Person of the Year in 2010? It is of little consequence that he has amassed great personal wealth in the process (a whooping $17.5 billion) - he still strikes me as the kind of guy that would do what he does without the money.

Evidently, the length of our lives is not the point. What we do with the time we have is all that matters. Bill Gates, Donald Trump, Barack Obama, Mark Zuckerberg, and you (yes, you) all have one thing in common - 24 hours a day. What do you do with your own 24 hours?

Think on these things... :)

An African Proverb...


I don't believe in coincidence, so I have to say there is something about this quote... These days, it seems to be everywhere I turn... so I decided to share it with you:

"Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed... Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or else it will starve to death. It doesn't matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle... When the sun comes up, you'd better be running."

Now, read that again...and think about it.

May we all have wonderful weeks.

PS:
I know that is a zebra up there... The picture just felt so appropriate, I couldn't resist the temptation to use it. :)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Drug that prevents HIV to be recommended for approval?


So I hear Truvada, a drug that has been found to prevent HIV, is in the works - and the US Food and Drug Administration panel (equivalent of Nigerian NAFDAC) will vote on Thursday whether to recommend its approval... Hmmm...

Read all about it here.

My Fear of the Nigerian Police

"...Patrick Okoroafor was fourteen years old when he was arrested in May 1995 and arraigned for robbery, a crime he said he never committed. The police later charged him and six others. According to Okoroafor’s brother, the police used pliers to pull out his teeth and he was hanged and beaten while he was in their custody. The brother said: “Patrick only went to the police station because the police wanted to inspect a car our mother had bought from one of the other suspects. That is when they arrested him. We tried to get him released, but the police refused..."

Stories like this make me afraid to walk Nigerian streets at night, or visit a Police Station for whatever reason.

I have heard similar stories so many times that I have developed a rather healthy fear of the Nigerian Police Force. I have also had a close encounter of my own.

I have heard of guys who were arrested in their rooms, and labelled armed robbers on getting to the police station. I have heard of guys who refused to pay bribes and were dragged to police stations, only to be lumped with seasoned criminals and actual murderers. I have a friend who was arrested outside his home and taken to a police station, where he was made to take pictures with six other guys; the next day, they were labelled armed robbers in a newspaper.

Why?

I have a simple principle these days... I never stay out late, and I do all in my power to avoid police trouble. In the event that I am stopped while driving, I am so respectful to policemen - you would think they paid my fees through University. I avoid areas where 'gangs' are known to hang out, and I generally dress and walk smartly when I have to pass through trouble-spots. Till further notice, if you live in Nigeria - I advice that you do likewise - and trust God to protect you always.

Read the story of Patrick Okorafor, who was sentenced to death at 16 for armed robbery, a crime he supposedly committed at 14 here.


PS:
To read about how officers of the Nigerian Police stormed my hostel room at night and arrested two roommates who were working with laptop computers, labeling them 'Economic Fraudsters' - please follow the link.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Keeping Lagos Streets Clean


In my estimation, the job of keeping streets clean involves two broad approaches. One is to actually clean the streets by providing street cleaners, neighborhood collection centers, and trucks to remove accumulated refuse.  The other is to sensitize the public, and keep them from dropping refuse around indiscriminately.

The first LAWMA does excellently, the second - they could do better.

It is not enough to have waste-bins when people will drop their sachet-water nylons and La Casera bottles around indiscriminately. It is not enough to have neighborhood collection centers when people will drop their waste everywhere around the metal bin - but not actually inside it. It becomes necessary to spend a little more on creative TV and radio adverts to provide orientation to the public.

Plus, it starts with every one of us. Next time you buy La Casera in traffic, hold on to the bottle until you can dispose of it in a proper waste-bin - as opposed to throwing it on the road. Next time you take a sachet of water on the go - neatly fold the sachet into your bag or purse - until you can dispose of it properly.

LAWMA does an excellent job at cleaning our streets, we can help them to keep the streets clean.

Think on these things... :)

PS:
LAWMA is the LAgos State Waste Management Authority. They have an excellently designed website which may be found here.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Lagos State Government Sacks Striking Doctors


News has it that the Lagos State Government has sacked over a thousand striking doctors...

I am not sure of the details of the case, and so will not comment - but I have a question: where does the State Government plan to recruit over a thousand highly-trained professionals from over the next few weeks?

Friday, May 04, 2012

Office of the Former Deputy Governor???


Is this for real?

Letter to a War President


Excellent article by Victor Ehikhamenor on the Daily Times blog...

Excerpt below:

"Dear Sir,

There is no other way to put it; you are now a war president. Very few presidents have such opportunities to prove their mettle. The enemy has sustained a senseless bombing campaign where nothing is sacrosanct anymore in your country. It's a tough situation to be in, but men who have led their countries during wars have one heart and two balls like you. It is not the easiest situation; but as a mouth finds its teeth, so shall it accommodate them..."

Read the full letter here on the Daily Times blog.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Interview With a Homeless Woman (One)

(This is not a picture of the woman whose interview I present below)

What you are about to read is ENTIRELY true. I have a very, very creative imagination - but I assure you none of this was imagined... I am sorry I have to put this in English, because we spoke in a mix of Yoruba and pidgin - and many of the sentences lose their meaning on translation... Here we go...

Me: Good morning ma. How are you and the twins today?
Her: Good morning to you too. Who are you and where are you from? (ta leyin o, ibo le de ti wa).

Me: I'm just a regular boy, a concerned 'neighbor'. I have been noticing you on the bridge for a while now, and you were not here yesterday - so I thought to ask if you are alright.
Her: We are fine. God is taking care of us. (olohun n toju wa).

Her: I don't know your face. Do you (usually) give me money? How did you notice I was not here yesterday?
Me: Ehm, I sometimes give you money.

Her: Ehn, so why are you talking to me? Are you going to give me money today or not?
Me: I was just concerned. I wanted to be sure you were fine.

Her: Your concern will not pay the bills. In fact, it is not appreciated. Oya start going.
Me: Ehm, please. I will give you some money, but I want to talk to you first.

Re: Pull a Seat; Let's Talk About Sex




So Osemhen of www.eurekanaija.com took the time to write a long-winded response to Temitayo Olofinlua's 'Pull a Seat; Let's Talk About Sex' post...

"The initial premise of this article is that human reproduction is a commodity which must be regulated. I think this is flawed because it reduces the dignity of the poor. You saying in essence, "You're poor. You don't deserve to have children."

"It means more people at the bus-stop jostling for the few buses. It means more students writing JAMB to get into the few universities. ..."

This is rather pessimistic. Do you honestly think that the problems we have with the bus-system boil down to the number of commuters at the bus-stop? Or the problem of education lies with the fact that too many people are writing JAMB? In engineering, there's a tool called Root Cause Analysis. It helps to solve problems from their root causes rather than attacking the symptoms. A symptom: People fighting at bus stop. The cause: Not enough buses coming at regular intervals. The solution: Put more buses on the road.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Pictures of two homeless mothers






Above are some of the pictures I took during my 'amebo' quest to understand the high rate of population growth among lower-income and unemployed people in Nigeria. Isn't this plain unfair to these children?

I am so sorry I have not posted the interview transcripts... It is just that there is so much to do these days... I don't want to make any promises, but I can say I am almost done transcribing the first one...

I am sorry, you hear? You will have them soon.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Nigerians not fit to be houseboys?


Have you noticed the practice of certain expatriates in Nigeria? They come to work in Nigeria, and bring along their cooks, gardeners, and in the worst case I discovered recently - barber. I mean, how can you 'import' your barber from India? Why? No Nigerian barber is good enough?

Salisu Suleiman has put together an excellent article on this topic:

"MTN is a major investor in Nigeria, but apart from the ‘savage survivalism’ of selling recharge cards, how many real jobs has it created, and at what cost in terms of capital flight? Is MTN listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange? Most Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Nigeria goes to the oil sector. How many Nigerians are employed in the petroleum industry and how much real value has it added to the Nigerian economy?

Who regulates the activities of foreign investors? A cursory look clearly shows that many so-called foreign investors are taking advantage of lax regulators to carry out practices they cannot dare attempt elsewhere. A few examples would illustrate this point."

Read the complete article here.