Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Sheryl Sandberg's Advice to Grads: Believe in Yourself, Chase Your Dreams, Change the World!!!


I enjoy reading Commencement Addresses. I love it when the older generation returns to Colleges to share their thoughts and experience with young graduates. Today I read Sheryl Sandberg's commencement address at the City Colleges of Chicago, and was struck by the 3 points she shared:

1. Believe in Yourself. This is something I still confront many times within any given week. On quite a few occasions, I have chosen to walk away rather than introduce myself to someone I'd love to meet; I have sometimes chosen to clam up and go with the crowd when I have thought things could be done differently; I have sometimes chosen to sit in the back - rather than the front - for fear of being 'noticed' or singled out...

Here's what Sheryl thinks:
"Over my many years in school and the workforce, I have seen so many people hold themselves back. I see people sit on the side of the room instead of sitting at the table. I see people sit in the back rather than at the front. I see people lower their hands rather than keep them up. And I see people lower their voices when they should speak up

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

#OAUSaysNo to Outrageous Fee Increments!


I was going to write a piece about the recent fee increments at my alma mater, Obafemi Awolowo University, when I discovered this piece by Suraj Oyewole.

"Ife is a school for the brilliant poor.  If some universities have turned education into a commercial venture, Ife must not be tempted to join the train."

He most accurately captures my thoughts in the sentence above, and I thought to share a link to his piece...

PS: To strike the right balance, I must mention that the Students Union 'zero-increment' policy is unrealistic under the present circumstances. Both parties must return to the Negotiation table, and the Senate must be willing to shift stance to fees of a more affordable nature.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Happy Birthday, Daddy


I have written precious little about my dad in the years since starting to publicly share my thoughts. So little that people have sometimes messaged me trying to understand what role he has played in my life, and why my mom has been the focal point of my writing.

I have a theory that explains my tendency to propound the ‘single story’ of my mother. Correct me if I am wrong, but African men don’t generally sit around telling their fathers (or sons) how much they love them.

I thought I’d address that today – so this one is for you, Dad.

*****

I must start by admitting that alongside my mom, you are the biggest influence on my life to-date. All the things I am – and a few of the things I don’t want to be – directly link into you.

Monday, May 05, 2014

#BringBackOurGirls

I can think of only one phrase to describe how I feel now... "Holy anger". I'm not even sure what that means, if it means anything - but I am more angry than I have ever been in my life.

You see, I just saw the video of Dame Patience Jonathan shedding crocodile tears...and for the life of me I cannot fathom how she and her husband ended up in Aso Rock. If you haven't seen the video yet, please go here:



You see, our leadership is clueless. Very clueless. When the Commander-in-Chief of Africa's largest nation cannot man-up and handle insecurity within his own borders; when his wife thinks it best to insult our collective intelligence by charading on National Television - then you know something has gone horribly wrong.

I strongly wish the Heads of State visiting for WEF would show some empathy to the Nigerian people at this time and decline the invitation to register their solidarity.

I strongly wish the Nigerian Army would get the support and resources they need to smoke out Boko Haram and end this menace once and for all.

I strongly wish the Nigerian populace will commit to voting for the future in 2015, and look beyond freshly minted N1000 notes and branded umbrellas.

I strongly wish these kids will be returned to their families safe and sound, that Shekau will post a video to Youtube tomorrow saying this was all a joke...

Unfortunately, wishes are not horses...therefore beggars do not ride.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

How I Would Run A Presidential Media Chat...



I was catching up on my daily dose of gossip from Linda’s Blog today when I happened on the sentence highlighted above.

I have watched enough Presidential Media Chats to know this means he will only address the easiest, low-impact questions. The tough questions will be ignored, denying Nigerians the right to understand ongoing events.



Here is how I would run Presidential Media chats if I could…

1.    A few weeks to the Chat, a custom-designed web-portal would start to accept questions from Nigerians everywhere in the world. Questions could be posted directly to the site or via SMS.

2.    The portal would be open for people to read, comment on, and share the questions they would really love answers to. Most importantly, people would be able to up-vote (and down-vote) questions (very much like Pigeonhole).

3.    The President would be obligated to answer the top-five questions (i.e. the five questions with the most up-votes) in as much detail as possible – regardless of the subject.

4.    The President’s media team would write and post detailed answers to the questions that were not up-voted enough to be answered during the media chat. (This would give them a chance to earn their salaries after all).

5.    The cycle would re-start for subsequent media chats.

Admittedly, this approach leaves out the majority of Nigerians without internet access – but would be more useful than the current farce. One might also posit that those who would actively participate in the up-voting/down-voting process would reflect the mind of the Nation at large.

However, until we elect a President who actually owes his mandate to us and is obligated to answer our questions – we have to continue to suffer the current farce.

Cheers.

Friday, May 02, 2014

Thoughts on Nyanya II

Picture from Nyanya I

***1***

Chances are you already know there was another bombing in Nyanya yesterday. Chxta echoes my thoughts in this piece where he admonishes the Prez, "Depart, I say; and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!".

However, when I put sentiments aside and think about the situation...I come to the conclusion that it is better he stays.

Firstly, we will be saddled with Sambo if he leaves. Is Sambo any better? By making GEJ leave (as if we can), won't we be exchanging the frying pan for the hottest depths of hell-fire?

Secondly, we will be sending the wrong signal to the many interest groups that abound in Nigeria: "Make Nigeria ungovernable, and you can force a sitting President out".

No. He should not leave. He should man up, borrow some balls as he doesn't have any of his own, and confront this situation head-on! That is what Commanders-in-Chief do!!!

 ***2***

This morning I want to turn my sights again to the Nigerian Church.

I am tired of hearing Christians proclaim that they live in a "different economy", implying that they are not (and will not) be affected by the recent spate of bombings.

This is balderdash.

Do you mean to tell me Christians who have lost their lives in these bombings were not in right standing with God? Do you mean to tell me Christians who die in avoidable road accidents had sinned and as such were no longer under His protection? Do you mean to tell me all Christian graduates secure optimum employment in Nigeria - leaving the 'non-Christians' to wander the streets?

Seriously?

We have a responsibility to the world we live in, whether we call it home or regard ourselves as passer-bys. Things have gotten this bad for a number of reasons, including the complacency and apathy of the church.

It is NOT well. Quit lying to yourself.