Category Archives: NEWSPIRATION

Ex-Commonwealth chief tells youths to seek Nigeria’s restructuring

‘Sola Abe


Anyaoku speaking at the event

A former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, has urged Nigerian youths to mobilise themselves and channel some of their youthful enthusiasm and activism into clamouring for a restructuring of the country’s governance structure.

Anyaoku stated this at an event organised by Rise Networks in commemoration of the United Nations’ International Youth Day 2016 in Lagos.

While speaking on the theme, ‘The Road to 2030: Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Production and Consumption,’ Anyaoku said, “If the country wants to rid itself of poverty, there has to be essential national action in the areas of politics, social change and economic activities.”

According to him, the restructuring of Nigeria should pose no threat to her unity as there is need to realise that a truer federalism will give the country greater political stability and faster socio-economic development.

“It is the continuation of the ongoing agitations in different parts of the country which are encouraged by present governing structure,” he said.

The ex-Commonwealth chief explained that politics should be restructured by devolving more power to the federating units to provide more viable basis for economic planning and development.

Anyaoku emphasised that the Nigerian society in its present state was in great need of social change.

He explained, “Corruption permeates all levels of the society starting from examination malpractices in our schools and education institutions through primary and receiving of gratification before the performance of ones’ obligatory duties to outright embezzlement and stealing of public and private funds.”

He argued that hard work was no longer recognised as the only path to success in Nigeria but the society had placed the possession of wealth over and above the possession of good hard work, hence, the heavy presence of corruption.

“I urge our youths as powerful agents of quality change to be in the vanguard of a campaign for the restoration of the societal values and ethics that guided people’s behaviour in the past in the growing up of young people.”

While speaking about the massive poverty present in the country, Anyaoku said it was closely linked to the unacceptable level of youth unemployment.

According to him, to effectively address the challenge of youth unemployment, entrepreneurship must be embraced.

“I believe there are vast opportunities to be tapped in the spheres of agriculture, and agro-based industry and also the small and medium-scale manufacturing of things that will boost the economy of the country,” he said.


Adeyemi, Oyemade warn against self-centredness, rent-seeking mindset





‘Femi Asu

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2016 Mandela Washington Fellowship application opens Oct. 1

1,000 young Africans to benefit

Credit: Presidential Precinct

Credit: Presidential Precinct

The United States’ Diplomatic Mission to Nigeria on Wednesday announced that applications for the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellowship will begin to be accepted on Thursday, October 1, 2015.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is the flagship programme of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative, and a key part of the US commitment to invest in the future of Africa.

Beginning in 2016, the fellowship will bring together 1,000 young African leaders across three tracks – business and entrepreneurship, civic leadership, and public management – for a six-week, in-depth academic and leadership training at 20 top American universities.  Afterwards, the fellows will converge in Washington, D.C., for a Presidential summit, featuring a town hall with President Obama.

According to the statement, eligible candidates should be between the ages of 25 and 35 and have a demonstrated track record of leadership in a public, private, or civic organization, and a commitment to contributing their skills and talents to build and serve their communities.

It said, “Interested candidates should visit to apply and seek further information.  The application deadline is November 11, 2015.

“Prospective fellows needing access to the Internet may visit the Information Resource Center at the US Embassy in Abuja or US Consulate General in Lagos or one of the 11American Corners in Nigeria to complete the application. “

According to the statement, nearly one in three Africans are between the ages of 10 and 24, and around 60 percent of Africa’s total population is below the age of 35.  The Mandela Washington Fellowship initiative is part of the President’s overall effort to encourage investment in the education and training of the continent’s next generation of leaders.

In 2010, President Obama launched YALI as a vehicle to support an emerging generation of African leaders.  In 2014, the programme was expanded to include 500 young African leaders from sub-Saharan Africa.  In 2016, 1,000 young Africans will participate in the fellowship.

Since its inception, 86 young Nigerians have participated in the fellowship, and over 26,000 young professionals in Nigeria have joined the YALI network.  In 2016, approximately 100 young Nigerians are expected to participate in the fellowship.  Grace Jerry, a Nigerian fellow and an advocate for people living with disabilities, introduced President Obama at the 2015 presidential summit.

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1,000 ‘champions’ poised for Emerging Leaders Conference in Nigeria

‘Femi ASU

The Guardians of the Nation International (GOTNI), the organiser of the Emerging Leaders Conference, is bringing together 1,000 young people from all over the country and in the Diaspora for the two-day gathering of champions, where Andrew Pocock, British High Commissioner to Nigeria; Chinedu Nebo, minister of power; Akinwumi Adesina, minister of agriculture and Olajumoke Akinjide, minister for state for the Federal Capital Territory, others are billed to speak.

Linus Okorie

Linus Okorie

The Conference, which will hold in Abuja on August 29 and 30, is aimed at addressing the challenges of leadership and governance as it will bring together experts, business leaders, captains of industries, entertainment icons and distinguished Nigerians who will teach on the realities of today’s leadership crisis in view of a desired future.

“Young people from all over the country and in the Diaspora will gather to discuss the future of our country in ways unimaginable. It is a leadership development system that inspires young people to develop their leadership skills and not just that, to build a huge network of young people from all over the country who are doing great things,” said Linus Okorie, founder of GOTNI.

“We will adopt a peer review mechanism, where a young person from Ekiti who is doing something great, but at the conference discovers that there is someone that is doing four times better and it will inspire them to be able to think Nigeria and act Nigeria.”

He said GOTNI had been asking Nigeria, for the past 18 years, to give young people an opportunity to grow in leadership content which will enable them define and redefine the future of the country.

Leadership competence is key for national development and so I am asking young leaders in each institution, company to come together so that we can redefine this country and set this country on a path of gold, said Okorie.

“It is good for government to create policy that will can empower young people to get involved, but however if young people do not grow and stretch, learn, build, do, become and begin to make a difference like never before, what is going to happen is that when you give them leadership tomorrow, they will mess it up,” he said.

We have not really addressed the need to build leadership capital in our nation and that is why for the past 18 years, my heart’s beat has been to build leadership capital for this country, said Okorie. “I am expecting socio-change makers, those entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, who are willing to do something. Young people who are already making waves across the country. In fact corporate organisations, banks should send young people who are outstanding in their companies. I am expecting farmers, young people in the villages who are outstanding as well,” he added.

Taxi driver who returned passenger’s N18m gets rewards

The National Orientation Agency (NOA) on Thursday gave a taxi driver, Mr. Imeh Usuah, a N30,000 award in Abuja for returning N18 million left in his car by a passenger.

NOA Director-General, Mr. Mike Omeri, said these in Abuja while giving the award of N30,000 to Usuah for his honesty and patriotism by returning N18 million to the rightful owner.

The taxi driver was  given an award for his courage to do the right thing when most people would have seen the money as a way to enrich themselves.

Omeri said every Nigerian who does good deeds will be honoured by the agency.

The NOA DG, who eulogised the exemplary life of the taxi driver, said every Nigerian “who toed the path of honesty and displayed a rare integrity must be celebrated.”

Omeri said the award would be given to any Nigerian, irrespective of status or class that showed act that depicted the values and culture of Nigeria.

The DG said that those harbouring a negative idea about Nigerians should change their impression, adding that peace, honesty and love should be taken as “a Nigerian factor.”

He said that for Usuah, a taxi driver, to have returned N18 million showed that Nigeria still had men and women of integrity.

Usuah, who plies Airport Road, Abuja said he was at the car wash when he discovered there was a bag left behind by a man he had earlier dropped off at a hotel.

He said he immediately returned it.
“My mind went back to the man whom I dropped at the hotel and I immediately alerted my chairman.

“He instructed me to go back to the place where I dropped him. I saw him and delivered his bag to him,” the taxi driver said.

Mr. Oche Elias, who represented the Minister of Aviation, Ms. Stella Oduah, said it was a rare display of honesty.

He added, “”It was a huge act of integrity and trust exhibited by Usuah.”
He said that with that act, the country’s image was being corrected. He also urged all Nigerians to be involved in the management of the country’s image.

Elias said the aviation ministry would organise a dinner in the taxi driver’s honour to show to the world that integrity pays.

Source: Punch

Running a business is not a game for only experienced graduates, professionals’

By Faith Olaniran

Fela Durotoye, motivational speaker and Chief Executive Officer of GEMSTONE,   last week faulted the notion in some quarters that running a business is for only experienced graduates and professionals.

Delivering his presentation last week at the maiden edition of Ondo State Youth Economic Summit at the Adegbemile Cultural Centre Hall, Fela shared his thoughts with over 2000 participants from Federal University of Technology Akure, Joseph Ayo Babalola University, Rufus Giwa Polythenic Owo, Adekunle Ajasin Univeristy Akungba Akoko, Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife, Ekiti State University, among others.

Said he: “Business is an activity you engage in for the purpose of achieving a stated goal which is usually to make profit. Every business comes with risks but ability to take these calculated risks makes you a business person. If you can’t take risks then you cannot run a business. I am going to show you five reason why that belief [that running a business is the game of experienced graduates and professionals] is wrong.”

“Starting a business requires several things but the three key requirements are: Idea – without an idea you can’t start a business and your ability to generate ideas depends on your mindset, environment and information at your disposal. If you are positive, and informed you will be able to discover opportunities in your environment that can translate to a viable business.

“Capital: Every business requires capital no matter how small.

“Plan: Plan is very essential to the success of any business, you must ensure you have a very good business plan.”

He gave the participants five reasons why they should start a business while they are students.

1) Taking risk is easier: Taking risk is a common thing in business. As a student, you have the liberty to take risk without burning your fingers. Even when you fail, it is always easy to move on.

2) It is Easier to Discover Opportunities: Business opportunities, ideas are best discovered while in school, this is because school environment is like a small sample of the real world.  Likewise it is easier to study the school environment and exploit opportunities that can still serve the outside world. Furthermore, the school environment provides you with free tools (internet access, library etc) to carry out your researches and gain knowledge.

3) Free and Effective Promotion and Consultation: As a student you can leverage on your colleagues to help you grow your business. your friends at school will easily promote your business for you at no cost and most effectively. You can also get advice from your family and your professors free of charge.

4) It is Fun: Starting a business as a student is fun because you treat it as a game, losing hurts but not much. Remember the feelings you get as a kid when make money for doing a menial job? Thats how you feel when you run a business as a student.

5) Others have proved it: Most of world’s famous and richest today started out while they were in college. Successful Entrepreneurs like Bill Gates (Microsoft Inc), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Kevin Rose (Digg), Pete Cashmore (Mashable), Sir Richard Branson (Virgin Airways), Steve Jobs (Apple), John D. Rockefeller, Sr(America’s First billionaire), Orji Uzor Kalu (Ex Governor of Abia State) and many others. Some dropped out while some completed school, but the most important thing is that they discovered an opportunity while in school and utilized it effectively.

#Faith Olaniran is a graduate of Biochemistry, Federal University of
Technology, Minna Niger State.He is into Community Service and
Development Consultancy, Journalism (New Media), Child Advocacy; he is a
Creative Speaker , HIV/AIDS PET Advocate and has a strong passion for
MDGs related issues alongside Climate Change.


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22-year-old Nigerian makes history in United States

By Segun Olugbile

A 22-year-old Nigerian, Emmanuel Ohuabunwa, has made history at John Hopkins University, United States of America.  Ohuabunwa from Arochukwu, Abia State, has done the nation proud by becoming the first black man to make a Grade Point Average of 3.98 out of 4.0 to bag a degree in Neurosciences in the university. He was also adjudged as having the highest honours during the graduation that was held on May 24 this year.

For his efforts, he has won a scholarship to Yale University to pursue a degree in medicine. Besides, he has been inducted into Phi Beta Kappa Society, a prestigious honour group that features membership of 17 US Presidents, 37 US Supreme Court Justices, and 136 Nobel Prize winners.

According to Wikipedia, The Phi Beta Kappa Society is an academic honour society. Its mission is to “celebrate and advocate excellence in the liberal arts and sciences” and induct “the most outstanding students of arts and sciences at America’s leading colleges and universities.”

It was founded at The College of William and Mary on December 5, 1776, and thus it is the oldest honour society for the liberal arts and sciences and among the oldest undergraduate societies in the US.

In an online interview with our correspondent, Ohuabunwa, who was born in Okota, Lagos and attended Lilly Fields Primary School, Lagos, said he left Nigeria after his junior secondary school education at Air Force Comprehensive School, Ibadan, Oyo State.

“My parents moved the whole family when I was 13 years old. I was about to begin SS1 at Air Force, Ibadan. When I got to the US, I was enrolled with my age mates, which meant at 13, I was in middle school. I went to Fondren Middle School, which was in the middle of the ghetto. That was one of the darkest years for me because I encountered a lot of peer pressure. Some of the students, ignorant about Africa, bullied me and called me names such as ‘African booty scratcher’ because to them, Africans were dirty and scratched their butts all the time.

“Some asked me if I lived in mud huts and ate faeces for breakfast. I remember one day, when I was walking to the school bus, a boy came from behind and punched me in the face, called me an African and walked away. It took everything in me not to retaliate. I knew that God had put me in the U.S for a purpose and it did not involve fighting or selling drugs or doing the wrong things.

“My experience during that year gave me a thick skin. I learned to stand for what I thought was right even when the opposition seemed insurmountable. I also learned to look at the positive in all situations. Even though these kids were bullying me, I was still gaining an opportunity to school in America and nothing would stop me from making the best of this opportunity.

“The shocker was that the kid that punched me in the face was black. I would have expected the blacks to be nicer to me. Nevertheless, I don’t blame those kids because they were ignorant about Africa. All they knew about us was the stuff they had watched on TV or documentaries, showing primitive African tribes, living in the jungle and making noises like monkeys.

“In regards to the whites, there might have been some minor episodes but again I don’t blame them for it because it is a problem with stereotypes,” he said.

But in spite of this humiliation and racial prejudice against him, the first in a family of three was not discouraged. He faced his studies and was always coming top in his class. After he completed his middle school education, he passed the entrance examination to DeBakey High School for Health Professions. It was at this school that his interest in neurosciences and medicine started.

“By the second year of high school, we were able to interact with doctors, nurses and other administrators in the hospital. The more I learned about medicine, the more it felt like the thing God was calling me to pursue and by being in the US I got a lot of people to support me to do this. Even though in high school, I got to see first-hand what it meant to be a doctor. We studied advanced anatomy and physiology, learned medical terminology, and learned important skills, such as checking blood pressure, pulse rate, and many more.

“I knew I wanted to go to the best school in the US. I had heard that Johns Hopkins Hospital had been ranked the number one hospital in the US for the past 21 years and I wanted to be in that environment.’’

Worried that his parents might not be able to sponsor him to the university, Ohuabunwa purposed to work very hard. He did and when the result of the PSAT came, he performed so well that he won the National Achievement Scholar.

By virtue of this award, he received certificates of recognition from various organisations including senators from the Congress of both Texas and the US. He also received scholarship from the University of Houston; Rice University, Texas A&M Honors College and many more.

He had also won the Principal’s Award during the annual awards ceremony at DeBakey High School.

“During our graduation ceremony at DeBakey, I also won the Award for the Most Outstanding Senior Young Man and the student volunteer award for my volunteer activities in the State of Texas,” he said.

But his breakthrough came when he won the Bill and Belinda Gates Foundation full scholarship to any university of his choice. He worked hard and gained admission to Johns Hopkins University to study Neurosciences.

But why Neurosciences, Ohuabunwa said, “I studied Neuroscience, because I was fascinated with the brain, its control of our behaviours and how various diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, lead to a decline in its activity. I also minored in Psychology because I wanted to understand disorders in the psyche. What causes bipolar disorders or schizophrenia. I did not just want to label them as crazy but to understand what causes these conditions and how we can treat them,’’ he explained.

But what does he consider to be the missing links in the education sector of Nigeria when compared with that on offer in US, Ohuabunwa said unpredictable academic calendar, corruption, examination malpractice and inadequate funding were some of the problems confronting his home country’s university sector. These, he said, were absent in the US.

“There were a few problems with Nigerian higher education that contributed to our emigration in 2003.  The first was the number of strikes that occurred in schools. It took my uncle seven years to graduate with a degree that should have taken him only four years. A second problem was the corruption. We had heard of people going into universities, because they paid someone to look the other way. I also heard of a few cheating scandals, where people would pay someone to take their exams for them or get a copy of the exam a few days before,” he said.

But is he saying that US university system has no such problems at all? Ohuabunwa said, “Although this sometimes occurs in the U.S, it is less common because of the strict security. I remember when taking the Medical College Admissions Test,  test required before one can matriculate into medical school, each student had to get his fingerprints taken every time we entered and left the hall. The whole place was packed with cameras and security staff that monitored everything we were doing. The exam was computerised to make sure that no one saw the test before the actual date.”

Another difference, he said, is that America rewards hard-work while the system also emphasises on a balance between academic life and extracurricular activities.

On how he won the scholarship to Yale, Ohuabunwa said his 3.98 GPA in Neurosciences, and many awards he had won and God’s grace, contributed to his winning the scholarship.

“As at the time of my application for medical school, I had a 3.98 GPA of a 4.0. This made me  the only black student inducted into the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa. I was also awarded the Becker Family Scholarship for being the most outstanding student in the Neuroscience major at Johns Hopkins University. Furthermore, by God’s grace, I took the MCAT and scored in the top five percentile.

“That, combined with my hours of volunteer service in different hospitals across the US allowed me to gain acceptance into every medical school I applied to, including Harvard, Yale, Johns Hopkins, Columbia, and Cornell. As the time came to make a decision, I had narrowed it down to Harvard and Yale. Both schools, I enjoyed visiting. Nevertheless, while my parents prayed, they asked God to give us a sign of what school to attend. A few days later, I received a letter from Yale Medical School, offering me a full ride scholarship for all four years. That was the sign from God,” he said.

But would he come back to Nigeria after the completion of his programme, he said yes.

“I am absolutely interested in the health care policy decisions in Nigeria. Because there are many changes that need to occur, I will not rule out the possibility of coming back after my studies, in order to join hands with the leaders to make these changes possible.’’

He added that his ambition is to become a medical doctor specialising in brain surgery.

“Two weeks ago, my grandmother passed away after a long battle with strokes. Even during emergencies, it was difficult for her to get to the hospital, let alone get treatment. This is a common theme not only in the health care system of Nigeria, but in different countries in the world, where the poor get neglected.

“Second, Nigerian hospitals lack the infrastructure required to compete with major hospitals around the world. It would be an honour to one day contribute to this transformation that is necessary for improvements in Nigeria’s health care sector,” he said.

He, however, advised Nigerian youths who have the wherewithal, to go abroad to study. Ohuabunwa also called on  wealthy Nigerians to invest more in the education of the poor rather than in acquisition of material things.

Ohuabunwa, however, said that his parents, who he described as his greatest role models,  contributed a lot  to his academic feat through Godly training, counsel and guidance. He also did not forget the impact  that his short stay at Air Force school had on him.

“I was definitely not the brightest at Air Force. At that time, I felt like I spent more time running away from seniors than focusing on my studies. Nevertheless, I learned three things at Air Force that have served me well in the US. I learned discipline, adaptability and resilience. These attributes helped me a lot in US,” he said.

Source: Punch


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‘When I was living in the mud house, I knew it was not going to be a permanent abode’

By ‘Femi Asu

Dr. Otive Igbuzor, the Executive Director of the African Centre for Leadership, Strategy & Development has stressed the importance of personal goals and vision in combating poverty.

Speaking at the 1000 Points of Light Summit, last Saturday, Dr. Otive wowed the youthful audience with his speech titled “Heads Held High: Maintaining Self-Esteem, Personal Goals and Vision in the Midst of Poverty”. 

Said he: “The challenge of poverty is probably the greatest challenge of our time… Individuals have roles to play in combating it. It is possible to escape poverty through personal vision and goals. You have to know that as an individual you are created for a purpose. That is why it is important for you to understand your purpose; it will give meaning to your life, it will simplify your life, it will give a proper focus and it will motivate you. You must understand your purpose.

“There are three key things you need to understand and know for you to hold your held high: purpose, success and happiness.

“You must define for yourself what you think success is and you must understand that success is a journey.”

He defined success as “knowing your purpose in life, growing to reach your maximum potential and sowing seeds that benefit others. It is in that context that you can have a meaningful life.

“Happiness is not about the amount of money that you have; it is the joy that accompanies positive activity. Happiness is a lifestyle. Happiness is an attitude. Happiness is contentment. Do not use others to determine whether you will be happy or not.”

He asked: “Where does success come from? Success comes from the spirit – if you look at the stories and biographies of many successful people, however defined, you will discover that they had some inspiration. The second source of success is the mind. The kind of thoughts in your mind determine a lot.”

“I come from a very humble background, but my parents were not poor because they were rich in values and ideas…I lived in a mud house, my ‘bed’ was made of mud covered with mat… There are certain things you must do as an individual that can make you come out of poverty. If you are disciplined, you work, you save and you invest, you can come out of poverty.

He gave the audience seven keys for combating poverty.

Have a vision. Let your dream be big. Vision is very important.  When I was living in the mud house, I knew I was not going to stay there. You must create a vision of where you are going to.

Have a plan. Vision without a plan is a fantasy. What plan do you have to make your dream a reality? Those plans must have priorities and targets. You must find the capacity to concentrate on one priority at a time.

Have focus. You must talk and think success. You must persevere. You must ignore distractions. The future is a clean slate and it depends on what you write on it.  If you remain poor, don’t blame your father or your mother; they are not responsible. You are responsible for what you are going to become.

Be informed. You must secure all pertinent information concerning your vision. Internet has equalized everybody in terms of access to information.

Create a climate of confidence. Excuse no matter how beautiful is not an alternative to performance.

Help others to become successful and build relationships. What you make happen for others God will make happen for you.

The God factor. You can be strategic, hard-working, but you also need God in your endeavours.”

“To move out of poverty, the beginning points are the riches which you already possess; your talents, your networks, your positive mental attitude”

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Dr. Ezekwesili, ex-World Bank Vice President inspires youths in Lagos

By ‘Femi Asu

Last Saturday, many youths converged on Olive Tree Auditorium, Banana Island, Ikoyi, Lagos, courtesy of 1000 Points of Light, an initiative that seeks to raise the ability of youth to effectively and intelligently engage their leaders, government and environment on national and local issue in a peaceful but potent manner. It was indeed a summit for change agents as distinguished public intellectuals engaged the participants.

Delivering the keynote speech at the event, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili said the summit was her first public outing since she relocated to Nigeria after her tenure as World Bank Vice President for Africa.

She told the youthful audience: “I consider your generation a turning point generation for the continent…I love the fact that you consider yourself a point of light…If you are going to be a point of light, you have got to understand what you are up against.”

Speaking on “Confronting Poverty”, the theme of the summit, Dr. Oby said: “Nations are poor because there are constraints and obstacles to growth that they have not been able to tackle. Poverty is a result of an obstacle to growth. When nations are poor, inherently they have a larger colony of poor individuals… Africa has a larger percentage of its population being poor.

“There are three types of poverty. There is poverty of access, poverty of power and poverty of money. Poverty of access means the poor essentially have no access to basic necessities and infrastructures that will enable them overcome poverty. Poverty of power means the poor most often are marginalized in the environment of politics. Even though they are already trapped in the environment of non-availability of useful services…they still are not offered the voice to ask for a new paradigm, a new set of policies, a new engagement from government to provide those services.

“Poverty of money is as a result of lack of jobs or regular stream of income. The poverty of access and the poverty of power lead to the poverty of money. These three types of poverty require a focus at the individual level. At the government level, we have found that nations overcome poverty. With sound policies, nations can support their citizens in lifting themselves out of poverty.”

“The private sector has a role to play in overcoming poverty. Many of you are trapped in a consciousness that should end with our own generation: thinking that a university degree is an automatic access to government. Your generation must understand that you are the private sector.

“Individuals must position themselves to tackle poverty. The individual efforts at self-improvement in order to capacitate himself or herself to take opportunities that are available is critical. There is the effort at improving your knowledge, your capacity, your skills. For many of you, unfortunately, that has not been the case…

She expressed worry over what she called “contemptible life of ignoble ease” which is being celebrated by many youths, adding that “effort, hard work and productivity cease to matter.”

She warned the participants: “Your generation is also the generation that faces the greatest competition…the only way you can ‘rep’ in a competitive world is to be adequately prepared, you must be intellectually sound and competent. Your world is a world where your competitor is no longer the next Nigerian youth, it is the next citizen of the world

“As an individual, you have tremendous opportunities. Don’t complain about the constraints. Access to technology is important for your generation as an opportunity. Technology has democratized know-how. Today what you know is without boundaries… The world of the internet opens you up to the lowest cost of knowledge. Knowledge has never been cheaper and it is to the advantage of Africa.

“You have got to re-prioritise. Your priority have got to change. Information is power; it’s no longer cliché, it’s real. Access to information is the most liberating context within which your generation is growing.

“You should be busy with the most relevant knowledge on how to tackle a problem… There are many problems needing to be solved at the individual level. Develop a brand for being a problem-solver.

“You have greater opportunities than your forebears. The saddest thing that can happen to you is to sit here lamenting and complaining that you don’t have opportunities… You need to unlock your mind. Unlocking your mind is so key at the individual level.”

She asked the participants: “What kind of choices are you making? The set of choices that people make today will determine their tomorrow. As it is with nations, so it is with individuals. What choices are you making with the time that you have been given? What do you invest your 24 hours in? The ones who make the right choices are those who use their 24 hours a day to define a vision for their lives. What is you life vision?

“You are actually a solution to a problem – that is the reason you are here. Have you bothered to sit down and write down what you perceive as your life vision? Your life vision will determine your choices.”

The former Minister of Education stressed on the importance of skill-based education, saying: “Understand your skills, what are the things that stand you out? You have got to know your limitations and know the strengths that are available to tackle the limitations.

“At the individual level, it is important that we should overcome the poverty of power. The most powerless set of people are those who have indoctrinated themselves that they are powerless. You’re not powerless… Build a power base with your colleagues and form a coalition of minds… You cannot work on the issue of accountability until you understand what needs to be accounted for. Educate yourself in basic economies, understand the issue of governance… The budget of a nation is the most important instrument of policy direction.

The role of government in ensuring sound macro-economic policies is key in tackling poverty… It is at the local level that poverty is tackled; so engage… If you do not demand for accountability, they don’t offer it on a platter of gold.

She also noted that government cannot be the answer to every problem.

Said she: “You must be ideas people; what’s your idea? This continent is dependent on you. As you write your vision statement also write your ideas plan. Your idea might just be the solution to a problem. What are your ideas?

“Why wake up every morning waiting for the day to come to an end? We need to be ideas people; Ideas rule the world. Innovation is the capacity to find new ways for doing old things – things that we’ve known. Actualize your thought process.”

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Unemployment: Take the bull by the horns, says Koffi

By ‘Femi Asu

”Whatever you are doing, if it is right; keep doing it. If it hasn’t yielded what you want; just stay in there.” Those were the words of Koffi Idowu, popular Nigerian comedian.

Speaking with Stand.Out.And.Reign! recently at the launching of the third edition of Gbenga Ojo’s Exceptional International magazine at Ikeja Palace Hotel, Ikeja, the graduate of Chemistry bared his mind on the issue of unemployment bedevilling the Nigerian youth.

He said:  “Unemployment is rising gradually, not just in Nigeria; it is a global thing, but I think it is becoming more obvious here because we are not creating avenues for a lot of young people. Some people are saying young people are lazy; I don’t buy that. Young people are quite industrious and creative.  There are a lot of things government can open up… I think we can tackle this rising unemployment if the right people are thinking in that direction.

“Young people should not lose hope. A lot of young people are already doing something. This young man, Gbenga Ojo, is doing this magazine; it is a great initiative. That’s a young man taking the bull by the horns.”

He urged young people to “be persistent, persevere and pray. Discover your own talent; don’t be a copy cat. Be your own person; don’t say I want to be Koffi or Basket Mouth or Ali Baba. Be you and God will make your way for you.”

If you think this piece can be useful to others, please consider sharing it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Stand.Out.And.Reign! is our unique way of telling you to SOAR.

To Our Outstanding Reign,

Let’s Make it Happen!

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We welcome your comments.

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