A NEW DAWN

Friends, one thing I promise this year is: There will be so much beautiful write-ups from here.

Keep in touch.

Sanusi Okesola S

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CALL IT WHATEVER YOU LIKE

I could have chosen to be an atheist…but it’s too easy to live without the discipline of a guardian. Too dangerous to anchor an eternity on flimsy human thoughts.

I could have chosen to be a free-thinker…but then, come to think of it: it is a life too pampered in frivolity.

I could have chosen to be a false Christian, with a big Bible. I would have enjoyed the comfort of a Christ-minded church plus the bliss of rotten worldly pleasure…but I have a conscience too lousy to be so easily ignored.

I could have chosen to be a Muslim…but the promise of the cross is so enticing, so inviting that my questioning mind won’t settle for any less.

I could have chosen to be a traditionalist. Come to think of that again…how come our fathers abandoned the glitz of wooden oracles for the sacred dusty Bible. I don’t think they had a better offer!

I chose to be a Christian because I sensed, chose and tasted the love of Christ.

Till date, nothing does it better than the old rugged cross.christain

THE DELUSION OF AN ATHEIST

image21There is no denying the grave consequence of the recent emergence of money-driven mega churches and the insatiable thirst of their cunning shepherds. This has clearly called to question the integrity of the church. It is understandably pathetic that the prospect of owing a pulpit even without the slightest relationship with the God of the altar is miles away from conventional jobs. Most times, even the so called conventional jobs aren’t in existence.

Today, high flying students in schools stand a better chance at financial freedom after their studies if they choose the pulpit than any other job. It is therefore not surprising that spiritual insight is being replaced with grammatical brilliance. The church is gradually getting overridden with spiritual mediocrity, demandable deceptions, heresies and, falsehood. Today, the government is the finest friend of the church. It unleashes enough pains and anguish on its people keeping them perpetually glued to the churches in search of help. This, in turn, ensures they are incapable of orchestrating a revolt.

Consequently, the concept of God is being modified by whoever had the charge of the pulpits. Modified to a picture drawn to drain man of his independent mind and make him susceptible to their schemes. All of these have given the atheists, the doubters and the pessimists a good ground to propagate their doctrines of “no God” “bad God” and “unexplainable God.” Much more, it makes an alarming ridicule of the altars.

The seemingly ‘winning’ argument of the atheists is based on the true and well received conception of the nature of God. They say if God is good, loving and almighty who won’t allow evil and suffering because He is just, then there shouldn’t be evil, pain and sufferings in the world. Therefore their argument follows these steps:

  1. God, if He truly exists, is good and ALMIGHTY who won’t allow evil and pains.
  2. Evil, suffering, injustice and pains are everywhere.
  • Then, God does NOT exist.

Others say if God exists at all, He is not what he’s said to be. This group unfortunately ends up with the first, atheists since they have no better explanations of the nature of God to correct the theists.

But then, who is an atheist? An atheist does not believe the existence of God. An atheist uses reasons to “proof” that He practically does not exist. Similar to them is an agnostic. He neither believes nor disbelieves the existence of God. He says the truth values of certain claims are inconclusive and unknowable. The basic and most disturbing problems with these sets are that their explanations are quite appealing to the minds. Most times, follows human logic.

I have been quite enthralled with the views and objectivity of some of these people that I spent so much time reading and studying them. I have learnt a few things. The biggest of what I learnt is that an average atheist needs help from the people around him. But most time, they don’t get it because they lock out people who can offer such help by their state of mind and the type people around them. An atheist feels such much emptiness that only a few people can grab the distortion running through their minds. Amidst the pains, an atheist still must pretend and cover their vulnerability to show they are in no need of God. Consequently, an atheist lost what he needed most with his own lifestyles: comforts of true friends.

Most celebrities today fall within this group. No matter what or how they tried, they won’t be able to bring themselves to trusting a Being who is not driven by the craze of the rest of the world to recognize their ‘enviable’ famous position. Like atheists, they live strong on the outside but frustrated and pathetic inside. It doesn’t matter if they carry a big cross on their necks; they get violent and aggressive if you ever point out their deprived state.

I have almost a chapter of a book dedicated to citing popular; unknown; ancient and contemporary atheist and their disheartening secrets. Usually, they let out the cat once in a while. The book is almost out.

Driven by my desire to get to know more about them, I listened to them on live programmes, in classes and even added a few that I thought had strong and logical views on the new media. First, I wanted to learn from them. I wanted a proof of the REASONS they claim to have. The following are my discoveries:

  1. NO AFRICAN has enough stupidity to whole-heartedly disbelief the existence of God. This continent, in its deepest views and perspectives practically breathe the existence of God. Which ever way they device at reaching Him is another discourse, away from here. NO AFRICAN includes some of our most respected figures. Almost all of them are barely struggling to get back at God for doing what they thought what unfair to them or, just needed to act without being called to questions.
  2. Most atheists are barely struggling to fill up a gap created by their refusal to accept the God reality. This is where pity should come in. It is a struggle and they know no better method at addressing it. This is the reason they spent more than half of their efforts (discourse, behavious, writings and resources) at it.
  • Several are in what I call deliberate delusion. I have listened continuously to one who claims to be a scientist on the facebook brag about how much lies theists are being fed with. He claimed to be an agnostic when his arguments aren’t flowing well for his proofs. But like I noted earlier, he depends on the arguments and explanations of the atheists. Then, he gets aggressive and defensive if you get too close at throwing his words right back into his face. Here are my discoveries about him:
  1. He wrongfully believe that to be a good scientist, you must believe in the theories of everything has an empirical explanation. This is not completely true. Any opinion without this is probably More discussion on this later.
  2. Secondly, I discovered that despite the fact that the science he is using as his source of knowledge has not been able to establish/answer countless critical questions about life and the miseries of the universe, he stick to it as the ultimate truth about life. Science is great and I am a student of science as well. But it hasn’t been be able to answer countless questions about life, the universe and here after. As far as this realities are concern, science is still in its embryonic stage. Ask science about the popular Yoruba magun, the answer comes back blank. If we stay on this planet for ten million years more, science will continue to discover new things about life. Science will continue to discover its many wrongs that were previously discovered. Now, imagine someone staking his life, his soul on a very minute fragment of the largely inconclusive knowledge yet calling every other person a fool. Can you find a more pathetic view? Even traditionalists aren’t in such alarming stupidity. They still use their sixth sense and the views of others.
  3. I discovered he hasn’t even been quoted in a 1000000th fraction of the scientific journals in life. His probabilities at making errors are damningly scary!
  4. He like most of his colleagues aren’t learning from the outside of their field. They failed to learn for their fatal assumption that others won’t make a sense against their formidable facts.
  5. He believes his life is a lot better than most who believed in God.
  6. Lastly, I discovered that he neglected countless ageless proofs of diligent, timeless reasoning and wisdom. He counted them as clear absurdity.

Imagine someone who thinks anyone that ever lived, living and (surely) millions that are yet to live are all stupid and have gotten their most important concept wrong. This is safely placed on his superior reasoning patterns and a few books he read. People hardly get more bigoted than this!

NB: I haven’t had this clearly from him, but I am sensing certain signals from his discourse that linked him with the rest of African atheists. He had a bad experience while growing that made him believe he had to get bad at God if He failed to help him when he needed help.

Science is good. In fact, several scientists thrust their lives and success on the love of God. There are however countless number of discoveries that have been birth outside of science. Today, uncountable numbers are standing the test of time: millions of years later. The ancient minds aren’t as stupid as these atheists want us to believe.

But then, shouldn’t anyone pity an atheist? He has no hope beyond this fleeing world that is gradually losing anything called peace, sense or calm. He has no God to appeal to for Mercy, no hope for the wrong done to him on earth. An atheist can only rely on the justice of their imperfect court system. They pray and hope that the vast number of theists across the globe end up as the wrong. Shouldn’t someone think about the pains and the frustration of an atheist?

Recently, American atheists sued the state and demanded the removal of the cross from ground zero after the centre was made a memorial site. I was disturbed about why anyone will be unsettled with a cross. Then, I stumbled on their reasons as tabled in court:

They said its side effects include dyspepsia (see me see trouble), symptoms of depression, headaches ( I expected this to be included), anxiety and MENTAL PAINS and anguish from the knowledge that they are made to feel officially excluded from the ranks of citizens who were directly injured by the attacks.

Somehow, you should understand when I say they carry a load you shouldn’t envy. Instead, pity will do.

As regard God allowing pains. Even our society is designed to allow individuals and their families go through the pains of their misdeeds. God allows us and our societies (including children) to reap the fruits of our seeds. This is necessarily to ensure people could stick to doing the right thing. Of course, wise people heed this and enjoy the outcome. I am sure these same atheists will call for the heads of wicked people and people that undertake violence. Do they think the pains and the effects of their justice stays with the victims alone? The major problem of this argument is that they fail to relate reality with the concept of evil, pain and suffering. God sees the bigger picture and promised to redress everything. That’s probably the greatest and fairest deal out there. No one else could give such hope.

Indeed, God saves us from our own wrongs much more than we can count or remember. If God decides to abstractly interrupt every evil, atheists will be some of the first casualties. They are pitched directly against the magnificence power and personality of God. They discredit His existence, His WORD, and dishonour him. THEY ARE ONE OF THE REASONS GOD WON’T ADDRESS EVERY WRONG FOR NOW.

Today, most atheists are so because they decided (deliberately) to become ignorant of God. Major drive behind this is perceived injustice and pains God allowed in their lives. They simply point to others affected not trying to sound personal. Only a few, like the popular football coach, Van Gaal has the courage to own up that the perceived injustice is more of personal than the one on the rest of the world. Whichever way, God will always be right.

Yes, any Christian who claims complete knowledge of God is a LIAR. However, when you hear about a Being that has done mighty things in the past thousands of years and keeps doing it without fail: he will most likely continue it even after your demise. Then, you are deluded and unreasonable to think you can disregard Him. He deserves more honour than the word honour itself could show.

One of my biggest surprises is their constant demand for miracles. They speak as though miracles aren’t happening. But, I see miracles everywhere, almost everyday. And, sometimes a countless number in church programmes all over. But they want it their ways, their place and their time. Unfortunately, no man of God does miracles! Miracles are God’s job and He chose his terms and conditions. There are explanations to His choice but He owes no atheist one.

God has been consistently powerful and continuously proven His existence beyond any reasonable doubts. The anus lies with an atheist to look and be humble in his submission.

Lastly, I haven’t written with the intention of stopping atheism, their problems are basic, most times spiritual. God holds the answer to their problems. The few words on these pages are meant to ensure simple and unassuming minds are not swayed by their lies. The proofs of a mind whose breaths ceases in a few minutes without a slightest idea of what happens next shouldn’t be made to wrecked an eternity of another whose only hope lies in his TRUST IN GOD.

The Nigerian Army I Saw Today In Ikorodu Lagos

By Stanley Azuakola

 

First, an apology: I am sorry for all the times when despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, I have tried to give the Nigerian Army the benefit of the doubt.

 

When satellite images released by Human Rights Watch showed the destruction in Bama last year after soldiers razed over 2000 homes, I still gave the benefit of the doubt. “What if we are wrong? Let’s support our military!” I told people.

 

I was touched but did not care much about the 32-year old fisherman interviewed by Human Rights Watch who said, “We had heard the soldiers say before the attack that since you people are not cooperating with us and are hiding your brothers, we will treat you as one of them. Everyone heard them say this. They were saying it in the open.”

 

That man lost his uncle who had a bad leg and could not escape when soldiers attacked and burnt the houses after a Boko Haram attack. But I still tried to make excuses.

 

Even when my Twitter friend, Salihu TankoYakasai (@dawisu) shared stories in April last year, claiming that soldiers in Kano have turned into “an even deadlier enemy than Boko Haram… and had become human exterminators,” I silently accused him of exaggerating. Somewhere in my mind, Bama and Maiduguri and Kano… were all too far for me.

 

In the last few months, I have become more critical of the army. After their ridiculous lie that they had released the abducted Chibok girls, and the back story which led to the mutiny at the Maimalari Barracks in Maiduguri, I knew my support could no longer be unconditional. I began to take anything the army said with a pinch of salt.

 

Today, I saw firsthand the Nigerian Army in action in Lagos… I have never seen anything like it in my life.

 

A soldier was knocked down and killed by a BRT bus in Lagos. Soldiers in army green stormed Ikorodu road where the buses ply and first thing they did was to close the road from Palmgrove where the accident reportedly happened. The closure immediately caused a massive traffic gridlock. But that was just the beginning.

 

 

The soldiers began attacking BRT buses on the road. They vandalised the buses, broke the glasses and windscreens, and deflated the tyres. I got a call about the incident and immediately went to see for myself.

 

 

The first scene that greeted me at Palmgrove was a journalist being viciously beaten by the soldiers. “Please I’m a journalist,” he kept saying, pleading with them. They did not care – a female soldier led that attack. 

 

The offence of that journalist was that he was bold enough to take photos of the vandalised buses. His ipad was seized and he was so badly brutalised that he had to be rushed to the hospital.

Soldiers demanded that Nigerian civilians passing along Palmgrove raise their two hands in the air, as though we are in a war situation. No one was permitted to hold his phone in his hand or receive a call. Not even those driving-by in their cars were spared. A young soldier slapped a man making a call inside a bus because he disobeyed an order he was not even aware of.

 

Things got even worse. Some of the onlookers told me that a senior officer came by and directed the soldiers on ground to burn the parked buses. I did not see that officer but I saw soldiers as they went into two nearby petrol filling stations, ordered the attendant to fill some kegs with petrol and carry it to a spot where one of the buses was parked. I watched as soldiers got into the bus and emptied the keg of fuel inside it right there by the side. Then they struck a match and it was in flames.

 

On either side of that burning bus, there was massive traffic and cars (including fuel tankers) were moving slowly. The soldiers did not care and commuters prayed as they moved past. They did not even have the luxury of turning back as the road was blocked.

 

 

I was there when a Peugeot car with a tinted glass and plate number NA-911934 arrived the scene and two young-looking officers stepped out. I do not know much about army ranks but a friend by my side saw their stars and cap and told me that one was a captain and the other a Lt-Colonel. I went close to see if I could get their names but they had removed their name tags of course. The other officers recognised the presence of their bosses with the usual greeting as the two men strutted calmly away from my spot.

I am sharing the entry of those officers because some people are currently trying to frame this story on social media as though it was something that was done by a few “disgruntled” soldiers in the rank and file. That is not and cannot be true. Those soldiers could not have been so bold to stay there for over 5 hours and all that time, there was not a call from their superiors asking them to desist. All of Lagos had heard the news, yet people who push this theory of a “few disgruntled soldiers” want us to believe that the bosses had not heard and could do nothing. That’s illogical!

At the Palmgrove bus stop, four BRT buses were parked, just in front of the MRS filling station. I saw a female soldier shout, “We suppose start one smoke from there.” I reached her and said, “Aunty please I beg, this is so close to the filling station, it might cause an explosion.” She couldn’t believe what she was hearing from this small, uniformless person: “If I send you slap ehn. Gerraway from here,” she told me, and I ‘gorrawayed.’

The soldiers got petrol, emptied it inside the middle bus and set it on fire. Before long, the four buses were on fire.

I and a few friends wanting to know the exact spot the incident happened, went to speak with security men guarding the entrance into the Palmgrove estate. They told us that they did not know what happened but that all of a sudden they saw a crowd rushing into their estate (the crowd was being chased by soldiers.) The guards quickly rushed to close the gates against the onrushing crowd. Apparently the soldiers believed that the BRT drivers had run into the estate and the guards were attempting to close the gates to shield them. 

 

They beat up the three elderly guards. One of them told us he had pains on his arms and legs, the other was still in shock, the last one was in the hospital.

 

We immediately left for the Ultima Medicare Clinic at 2A Cappa Avenue, Palmgrove where the third guard was admitted but we were denied entrance. According to them, “Chairman says it is an internal matter.”

 

By 1pm, when I left the scene, the soldiers were still there, most of them now seated in their Hilux vans with “OP MESA” written on them, others controlling the traffic, others seizing cameras, and others pushing back onlookers. Their colleague had died (some people I spoke to said the dead soldier was supposed to get married tomorrow and some said he was a colonel; I don’t believe either). Either way, he was gone. His colleagues will never see him again, but as I left, I noticed a group of soldiers, huddled together, laughing – it’s been a good day’s job. They had put the ‘fear of god in hapless civilians.’

 

On a final note, as I was writing this, I saw an update from Musiliu Obanikoro, the minister of state for defence (who was not at the scene), saying he has been briefed by the chief of army staff (who was not on the scene) that “some thugs in the area took advantage of the incident to wreak havoc and the military has taken necessary steps to restore peace and forestall further breakdown of law and order.” Obanikoro knows that he is lying, but he won’t stop – it’s just how they roll. Before there is even an investigation, there is already a cover-up.

 I know that there are a few good men in our military and I thank them for all the times they have discharged their duties with uprightness and professionalism. But all over the country, it is now clear that there are certainly more lawless men in our army than responsible individuals. An army that believes in jungle justice is a perversion. The Army I saw today was not that glorious army which we used to rave about when they go on foreign missions and who people say are the most professional on the continent. The army I saw was a gang of buccaneers, a vicious rampaging locust-like evil on green that should be utterly ashamed of itself and that is in much need of a reform. But I am not hopeful.

 

Source: The Scoop 

 

7 Reasons Employers Will Hire You

To secure that dream job, you have to think like the person making the final decision. What is going through the manager’s head when they select candidates? This is a list containing the 7 most common reasons people get hired.

1. A great resume

Sometimes an average candidate can be hired thanks to a brilliant resume. Your resume is your first impression and you only get one shot at this. Pick a template relevant to your industry, look at other people’s resumes, have them look at yours, get help from experts etc before you send anything out. Remember that your resume has to be updated consistently and it is a living document.

2. Your online personal brand

Personal branding is my personal favorite. Social media and networking has quickly become the preferred method of communication, and you will be found online by your potential new employer. By tailoring what information is available, you can turn social media into a positive when looking for a new job.

Make sure your public profiles are employee friendly and up to date. Establish yourself as an authority online by either starting a blog, moderating a forum or just being active in a Linkedin group for instance. Get recommendations on your prolife and these will serve as the old school resume references. Social media and online branding will take you a fair bit of time and effort but you don’t really have a choice so my best advice is to embrace it.

3. The right skills and experience

In this economy, you will struggle to find someone willing to hire a candidate that needs training. Think about it, would you want somebody shadowing your work and asking questions for the first 6 months? Or would you want somebody that knows the score and gets busy contributing to your targets from day one? Having the right skills and experience is more important than ever and unfortunately not something you can work on overnight.

4. Staying power with the business

This is crucial as employers want people that stay in their company and work their way up the corporate ladder. This makes them useful (and useful means hard working). Employers will look for people who have multi-dimensional personalities, meaning they can work in different departments, projects or even locations one day. Your longevity with the business and personal characteristics will be the deciding factors here.

5. You get on with people

This is significant as the employer will want you to enjoy spending time at work, thus you won’t mind the occasional/weekly/everyday late night. By having a sense of belonging to the people at work, you are likely to enjoy it more and be less susceptible to other job offers. And in general our ability to work well with lots of different people is a critical key to your success over time within any company.

6. You can bring home the bacon

Every manager has a budget and they want a way to either increase sales or reduce costs. You being able to do one of these will be music to their ears. If you can demonstrate and project how much you will put on his or her bottom line, they will be very tempted to hire you. So your job will be to present your exact plan for doing this and leave it with them. In the end you would be doing them a favor and helping them hit their numbers.

7. Positive attitude and enthusiasm

The business world is full of moaners and the last thing a hiring manager wants is another union card wielding sinker on their team. If you are able to lift the moods of your interviewers by way of charisma, humor or any other magic, you stand a lot better chance of being considered for the next round. Everyone is attracted to happy and positive people and if you lack experience and skills, this could be your trump card. By staying positive and radiating enthusiasm long after you landed the job, you can inspire others and demonstrate that you are promotion material.

BRIDGING NIGERIA SKILL GAP

ImageEducation’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one – Malcolm Forbes

INTRODUCTION

The purpose of education becomes largely defeated if a person’s mind and perspectives remain distorted after the training experience. If your circumstance and status continue to wobble after your trainings, you’ve probably had the wrong kind of education. A good education should be able to produce a set of confident, happy and self-reliant people that will contribute to the productivity of a nation and the entire world.

Allow me to state unambiguously that no nation will be able to raise a truly happy populace until it helps them discover their purpose and skills through deliberate and organized trainings. This will allow them to consciously propel their efforts towards a productive, creative and laudable project. Show me a man who lives a purpose-driven life and have a clear-cut insight at his goals, I will show you a man whose mind has been truly educated.

From the argument above, it becomes pertinent to reappraise the quality of education currently being offered in Nigeria. Are Nigerians having access to the kind of trainings that can positively impact their lives and improve their circumstances? Could quality education be the missing link that has continued to drive us crazy towards foreign trainings and certifications? Do we, as a nation, have an education system in place that can seamlessly integrate everyone into the complexity of the twenty-first century? It is just unfortunate that today, we have too many ‘illiterates’ coming out of our Ivory Towers and trainings schools. But thank God for this kind of exercise that will help give a good evaluation of the system and see what and how things can be done better.

Clearly, the questions above require more than mere just a flimsy absent-minded response as solution. Let’s take a look at Nigerians’ experiences, government efforts and what could be done to bridge the skills gap in the nation and ensure the trainings we receive are worth our time and investment.

Though Nigeria is just a few decades old as a nation, the need to educate and build a resourceful generation has been quite explicit right before independence. The problem is, despite this laudable plan, quality education has been as slippery as a fox. More pathetic is the acute irrelevance through which the certifications and degrees awarded from our schools and training institutes are gradually descending.

Countless thousands of dejected youths throng the streets after years of rigorous trainings searching for jobs that are very likely non-existing. A perfect word for our leaders’ previous efforts at training and empowering Nigerians, is the word, PATHETIC. In spite of the fact that huge resources, for a developing nation like Nigeria with several other crying need(s), have been committed to the sector.

Besides, the fact that the quality of trainings currently being dished out from the sector is, if not archaic, shoddy; respect accorded the products of our schools shows it need a new breath of life. Hope and prospect ahead of the trainees and graduates after their training experiences shows the sector needs a lot of help. Today, the handwriting on the wall clearly calls for a total over-hauling of the system or the need for something to be done differently and quite brilliantly. The daring truth is; that’s where a blissful future lies or, we roam in self-pity for as long as life continues to exist!

Like never before, the need to get innovative and break the norm in the system is rather most obligatory today. Frankly, we aren’t left with too many other reasonable options.

PREVIOUS FAILED ATTEMPTS AT RAISING AN EDUCATED NATION

The sheer cost of running our grossly inadequate institutions plus the gradual drift from qualitative trainings despite the gargantuan resources, filtered in on a weekly basis, are the loudest call for a change of style and approach.

One thing that was clearly mapped-out for the nation after independence is how to run the educational sector. It was designed as a place where all the man-power required to manage an emerging world-power (economy) is produced.

So, within a few years, several federal and state institutions were built and equipped to man the emerging new economy. As at 1970s, there are … government Universities in Nigeria. Several young brilliant Nigerians were sent abroad with enormous resources to return, teach and manage these enviable institutions and schools and, ensure they compete easily with others around the globe. This was a success for sometimes, some years until, suddenly, something went wrong.

But just before the collapse, Nigerians were on the seventh-heaven! Graduates from our local institutions were the toast of leading corporate organizations across the world. There weren’t so many troubles to think then; just come out of one of the schools and vocational schools and, you are sure guaranteed a lifestyle of a king. We never thought things could get any bad: it was all hope and bliss.

Today, the story is clearly something different. Millions of Nigerians queue in institutions where there won’t ever be enough space to admit a tenth of them. Several other millions roam the streets for lost of trust in the satisfaction the trainings could give. And yet, several others bend their frustrated minds in utter disbelief of the disappointment a lifetime of trainings has earned them. The story is a terrible one, a pathetic rendition of a story so beautifully crafted on inception.

THE DILEMMA OF A DECREPIT DWINDLING SECTOR

The problems with our educational system are hydra-headed. There are so many problems in the sector that if you aren’t strong-willed, the mere sight of them will send you to an untimely death. Very few could highlight the problems because of its complexity and, even fewer could dare confront it due to it terrifying posture. Except the points below are considered and settled, illiteracy and skill gaps will continue to widen in the nation to the shame of a people once enviously referred to as the giant of Africa.

The first of them is poverty. What is education or skill acquisition to a hungry man? Most Nigerians are said to live below what is called poverty line. Nigerian youths are roaming the streets, struggling to meet the most basic need of life; food to eat while their counterparts are racking their heads on how to land on the moon. Here, who cares about the moon while two square meals are still like a magic! In the first place, a hungry man is an angry man.

The second problem is corruption. This problem has been awarded a global golden medal as the single biggest enemy of the Nigerian nation. No matter how much the government commit to education, until corruption is checked in its tracked, and like a venomous snake in a toddlers’ park strangled, education will continue to wobble in shame and disrepute like(some) other sectors in the nation.

Another problem is examination malpractices. Knowing I can walk right into any institution and earn same, if not a better certificate, with the faithful support of our popular foe – examination malpractice, what’s the use of putting my mind to work with the serious guys? It has been proven beyond doubt that man is designed by God to constantly seek the easy ways of getting things done. To ensure discipline is enthroned in the system, someone and, indeed, every one of us should stamp our feet against malpractices.

The last problem I will like to highlight is religious bigotry. This happens in some parts of the nation when a group of people, for selfish reasons, and the need to continue to command and control the minds of their people use religious teachings to deny their youths and young people access to sound education. It is the duty of the government and international communities to disrupt such act which are a rape of privilege and ensure everyone is given same access to quality education. As far as this is left to continue and thrive at this age, illiteracy and skill gaps will continue to celebrate their successes in our midst at the expense of our future.

Other reasons why illiteracy continues to widens and stinks in our midst like an untreated sore and why the need to acquire needed skills are becoming less attractive are poor infrastructures, back-door recruitment policies in companies and government organizations, unemployment, unethical and dubious practices of lecturers and teachers, poor remunerations, industrial actions, poor policy implementation and cult actions to mention but a few.

 

POPULAR PRESCRIPTIONS ON THE WAY OUT

As panaceas to this dreadful multi-faceted problem, so many people have prescribed solutions across the nation.

One school of thought says modern system of education should be cancelled as it hasn’t served any good to Africa. In their opinion, everyone should be sent back to his or her village, allowed to cultivate the ground and explore their natural skills for survival.

The second school of thought says people should be allowed to develop only their innate skills in schools based on their natural inclination. Their arguments stemmed from the fact that the trainings in schools are too theoretical to make for a productive life. They frown at the fact that students are made to pass through too many irrelevant lessons that do not boost their unique personalities and question the rationale behind such distractive method. In return, they advised that each one should be made to identify his/her skills and sit through only the trainings that enhance and develop same.

Some others believe that the number currently allowed to access formal education is too many for the system to take care of. Their argument further revealed that trainees should be chosen based on their natural IQ or the financial power of their sponsors. Others who cannot make this cut can be vocational schools for skills acquisition and trainings.

Another school of thought stipulates that formal educational system should be disbanded. First, it widens the gaps between people and, recently, leaves more people frustrated than it satisfies.

Lastly, a school of thought also argues that formal education itself is alien to Africa. They are of the opinion that it comes as another systematic form of slavery on Africans from the western worlds. Africa should be made to develop systems of education that is indigenous to the people of Africa. Some of the reasons used to defend their arguments include the colossal failure of Africa economies despite huge investments on formal education and the enormous rate of joblessness in the African societies.

According to them, we will continue to play a second class to the developed world for as long as we continue to‘re-cycle’ their systems in our own continent.

TAKING THE BULL BY THE HORN

Without the unnecessary explorations of the views of the schools above and a critique of their thoughts, which would end as a waste of space, let me quickly point-out what I think should be a sustainable response to educating and bridging the skills gap of Nigerians.

When education becomes a mere routine that comprises sitting through the walls of schools for scary numbers of years only to be ‘awarded’ a certificate or certificates without a corresponding increase or change in mind, status and circumstances then, something really creepy is wrong. Education should be able to affect the mind(s), influence one’s status and change a learner’s circumstances altogether. Anything less is a waste of time. With anything less, we can pack our baggage and head back to the villages, dislodged PHCN’s poles so we can be fully separated from civilization and formal education.

Firstly, there is an urgent need to reverse the dwindling fortunes of the Nigerian educational sector, both formal and informal. These include technical schools, colleges, vocational centres, polytechnics and, indeed, the Universities. Instead of minds’ developing systems, what we have in most of our institutions today are dens designed to raise rogues, left to negatively impact the minds of the learners. From the prison-like hostels, the horrible and terrifying bathrooms and toilets, the war-zone postures of the dilapidated class-rooms to the sadists and morally bankrupt armies of dream-killing trainers we call lecturers and teachers, the only place comparable to our campuses, as at today, is a Syrian war-torn zone! Mind you, we have a good number of brilliant hard-working teachers and lecturers in the nation but until we extract the bad eggs, the good ones are in a big problem.

The incessant riots and unrest as well as settings cultured to nurture the growth of cultists and cult activities are just some of the proofs that those institutions are producing elements clearly unintended at inception. Or, that’s what we were made to believe!

Today, our political class see the restive but disadvantaged youths on the campuses as weapons for perpetuating and actualizing their heinous political ambitions. For all these, the schools turn out the perfect place to promote some of the vilest misdeed of the society, especially the public institutions.

Consequently, there is a need to sit down and rethink our educational structures. If an alien system is not working well in our nation, who says we can’t come up with a more unique and workable system. Should others always be left to think for us? I suggest the government calls all the stake-holders in the sector, sincerely show them what government is ready and capable of committing afresh to the sector and champion a call for a new direction.

If this is a prize too big to pay, then, the future we’ve always dreamt of is a distance too far to reach! There are not too many sides to this.

As a start, we can borrow a leave from some of other emerging economies who have been relatively successful in managing their educational sector. Education reform, as suggested in Indian recently, should focus primarily on ensuring:

–          Accessibility

–          Affordability

–          Quality trainings

I believe that Nigerians deserve nothing less. If we work building a system that is largely accessible to the masses with a price that is within what can be easily afforded or granted access to financial packages in form of loans and, whose quality is uncompromising a world-class; building a resourceful generation won’t ever be a big deal again.

Again, there is a need to commit a substantial amount of investment to the sector. No good thing comes free, goes the popular saying. After the deliberation suggested above, the government shouldn’t hide under the illusion that this won’t require a huge investment. But being innovative in raising resources might just ensure corporate and private bodies also bear a good part of this burden. Indeed, it shouldn’t be only the government. If private and corporate bodies are allowed in the process, it might just safe the resource(s) from being cornered by government officials as is popular in this part of the world.

One way to attract these people is to design the system in such a way that good returns for their investments could be guaranteed. Such investment, as the word suggests, should be plow-in to yield and sustain its re-investment and immortality.

Taking a leave from Tunisia, also an African nation, the Tunisian education sector reform process shows how government can make the needed difference with true commitment. Since their independence from France in 1956, the government focused on developing the sector and put in system to produce a rich and solid human capital base. The priority of the government on education was underscored strongly in 2005/2006 when over 20% of the national budget was allocated to the sector. Even at 2012, Nigeria couldn’t still stand the possibility of investing ….of its annual budget on education. Today, the rich reform has placed the Tunisian educational system in an enviable height among its peer. Again, it takes investment and strong commitment.

Also, the institutions should be made to run companies and industries of their own where students aren’t just learning theories but have the privilege of putting those theories to practical use in these factories, companies, lower schools, markets and industries. Managing and running these outfits should be part of the jobs of the staff members of the institutions. These will ensure that our lecturers sit-up, stop piling long list of non-productive certifications and be able to use their trainings to impact the real world. A drive for extensive collaborations with international and reputable companies and industries should be initiated with the priority clearly spelt out on equipping the coming generation with practical industry-based experiences.

Undoubtedly, this will also enable the schools to produce graduates with skills that can be applied, not only in books but also in the markets. These are currently being undertaken by some schools but on small scales. So, no one should say they are impossible.

As a follow up to the above, lecturers and other staff who are incapable of applying their trainings in the real world should be given extra-trainings to fit into the system or shown the way out if the fail to cope. There are not too many better ways of ensuring they sit-up for the success of the emerging giant Nigerian economy.

Also, there is a need for government and non-governmental organizations alike to come up with more non-formal settings where different market-relevant trainings are thought. Also, skill development centres, well equipped vocational schools and skills acquisition centres should be developed and well funded to run on modern facilities and machineries. These should be managed by trusted individuals who will allow young people with promising skills get through a finishing process and made to comfortably compete with others and become useful to themselves, their families and the society at large.

They should be given patents for their products and allow to market them in the open market without unnecessary taxes from the government.

These formal (schools) and non-formal settings should have productivity ratings that consider only the prospects of their industries in the market as well as the success of their graduates after the trainings. What’s the use of having countless numbers of high-ranking internationally respected professors in an institution that can’t even affect its immediate communities? It’s time to reset our priorities right!

To ensure this laudable idea works properly, the government should create policies that de-emphasize certificates at the expense of performance. Certificates shouldn’t override a person’s productivity and, as of today, that still rates as one of Nigeria greatest flaw in the system.

Skillful and enterprising Nigerians should be encouraged, celebrated and made to earn a good return on their ideas. Not too many people will want to parade certificates that have no productive values if this is done. There is also an urgent need to incorporate technical and vocational trainings as a cogent part of the national education reform strategies.

In a bid to achieve this, government should set up ministries and parastatal that will identify, scrutinize, sponsor and monitor laudable projects from promising and enterprising trainees at the time of their graduation. These are doable if will have the will.

More so, it is also important that government put mercenaries in place to enforce the minimum formal education experience required for all Nigerians. Whether he/she wants to be trained formally or not, the need to ensure everyone undergoes a minimum formal education experience should be emphasized and enforced. It is believe that a good educational background itself brings innovation and creativity into whatever a man does. Today, Nigeria should respect and honour the fact that everyone is entitled to good education.

Let me also harp at a very novel idea at taking the trainings and educational system in Nigeria to the next level. One of the most effective periods to hold political office holders accountable and ensure they put their plans in proper shape before coming out to seek for votes is during their campaign for votes. If our electoral system is properly sanitized to the extent that people are allowed to choose their preferred leaders, it will be easier to insist we need leaders who have a clear-cut plan for the development of education in the country.

With this, I am sure every one of them will have no option but to sit-up and draw a clear blue-print on how to revive the system and ensure every Nigeria is given the needed access to quality trainings and education. Again, knowing that they will be held responsible on their words and performances, we won’t have to force anyone to fix the sector.

In another words, it’s high time we started putting our politicians to tasks on what’s important and what needed to be done before they get hold of power.

Lastly, let me also suggest that Nigeria, as a nation, should develop a comprehensive list of its citizens, their works as well as what they do for a living. This makes planning and taking statistics of who’s doing what; what kind of skills are insufficient in the society and how to appropriately plan towards building a resourceful and productive set of people.

Conclusively, Nigeria clearly has what it takes to rule the world, both in human and natural resources. One important point is that we need to set our priorities right, decides clearly what is intended to be done, get capable and passionate people to take charge of such and commit our will to it.

Today, our educational standard is in shamble not because we lack good and rejuvenating ideas but rather we lack the zeal to undertake the many enviable ideas at our disposal. It’s time we look through many recommendations from our archive on how to revive the sector. One of the most recent of these in Nigeria is the Education Sector Reform Bill 2007 which has been adjudged as a deep and comprehensive analysis of ALL key issues in the Nigerian education sector. We definitely have more than is required to propel the sector to the height that only the developed world could dare.

It’s never late and, now is the perfect time to rise from our slumber. Now is the time to wake up and take our place, not only as the giant of Africa but also as one of the strongest and most stable economies with a viable educational system across the globe. We are able, if we dare!

 

 

NIGERIA: A GALLOW FOR ASPIRING YOUTHS

Through history, life has not been as despicable as it is today. Despite the fact that knowledge has skyrocketed with the speed of a furious ghost, solutions to our hydra-headed and ever increasing malaises are simply beating man’s finest imaginationS.

From the horror-like radical views and beliefs of today’s religious sects, views which are clearly alien to mankind since the inception of the history of man, to the several natural and medical anomalies fiercely creeping through the veins of our skins and many more problems, humans have not been bombarded with a bigger puzzle to unravel. It seems yet to me that the most painful of all these is the fact that these monsters are unleashed on man by the greatest of his enemies – man.

Permit me to zero-in the concept of humanity as discussed in this work to the slippery society called Nigeria. Very few Nigerians, to the exclusion of the self-deluded ruling class, will argue that our major challenges are self-generated, self-planted, self-watered and indeed, self-circulated among ourselves. Most pathetic and, I assume, the single biggest problem of our nation is that the youth bear the gloom of the wickedness of our myopic political class. Put in another way, the youths are the biggest victims of the atrocities constantly perpetuated across the society.

Today, the ‘normal’ societal problems that should take the concentration of a sane society, problems that should be nip in the bud while they are fragile are being left to the generations yet unborn as our mischievous contributions to them for having the misfortune of coming to a land without perspectives. Most painful about this also is that those problems would have grown enough muscles and wings that will be strong enough to terminate their destiny even before take-off. For us in Nigeria, tackling the problem of hunger is a major battle (while the rest of the real world is taking a leisure ride to the moon). Our efforts are invested into fights against corruption, ethnic and tribal differences, terrorism, religious bigotry and deceit, sexual perversion, crimes, political gluttony, greed, drug trafficking, joblessness to mention only a few.

Every day, you see “honourable’ members of the house demonstrating stark illiteracy and barbaric intolerance of one another’s views at the full glare of the world. With zero tolerance for opinions that negates their personal views, these dishonourable adults jump at one another’s throat like a dog defending its territory against an invading foe. Surprisingly, same set of people will quickly sit back and shamelessly administer laws meant to take us to an honourable destiny. My humble take on this is that until a law demands an immediate resignation or removal of any member of the house involved in a public spat or fight on the floor of the house, Bash Alli will contribute to play a second fiddle to our “honourables” in the ring of combat.

As I painfully read through the comments of young Nigerians on the social media on a daily basis, I am forced to believe that things are more likely going to get worse than better. While ancient societies like Israel and Saudi-Arabia are already using the social media to brand and promote their economies and endanger global interest and love, Nigerians have devised ways of ensuring the dirtiest of our clothes are taken to the tip of the world for a good laundry. I can only assume most Nigerians using these social devices do not know that they are on global platforms. Just go through the comments on any national issue on the internet and life itself will lose what is left of its bliss for you. Nigerians, especially the youths, exhibit unusual disregard to one another and heap insults on total strangers. It seems most Nigerian youths are on the net for one or more of the following; tribal battles, religious conflicts, fraud and/or sexual pleasures.

Most painful about the scenario above is the indifference of the Nigerian government to this national sore. It seems this gladdens their hearts as they create distractions away from their ineptitude, failure and unpardonable misgovernance.

Ironically, it seems the greatest and the brightest invention of our leaders is to tell the youths to “go and create jobs.” From where should they produce the jobs? The question we should ask them is: how much ‘physical’ jobs have they created with the sea-sand-size of resources and the power they wield? (I used ‘physical’ in respect to our amiable President, GEJ. His outstanding efforts at creating MILLIONS OF GHOST and SPIRITUAL jobs with the unflinching supports of madam Okonjo should be recognized here. I know Okonjo is a brilliant economist that however needs a visit to the streets where the practical part of the theories he did in school are taught. Somehow, GEJ government has developed an unusual gene in our political adventure as a nation. This gene allows only the people in government to see and feel the impacts of his enormous contributions to the country). Today, it is the government, not the people, that determines own performers or otherwise. It’s a case of a student standing in as his own examiner.

Instead of finding out how to perform, the government keeps charging the young poor and financially unskilled graduates to go and thrive where the state has failed. They shout with their protruding bloated stomachs, pushing these youths to delve into an economy with grossly dilapidated amenities. Added to these are zero-tolerance for green-horns, asthmatic power supplies and non-existing access to loan or financial aids. These, at best, simply plunge the youths further into outer confusion and desperation turning millions of them to fugitives across the world. Meanwhile, same set of leaders are busy cruising through the ends of the globe, stocking-off the resources needed to make the begging difference at home in non-performing private accounts. Very few cases are more pathetic than ours.

Another question that should be handed down to our greed-stricken political class is: how many of the states and federal parastatals run with less than hundreds of billions of naira interventions and allocations. Yet the best of them are debt ridden. What magic are they expecting the young people to spring?

At this stage, our political class needs to sit-back and give their strategies a new look. Today, Nigeria has turned a slaughter lab where dreams and vision are not only killed but also buried. I need not restate the fact that the youths and the ordinary man on the street are worst heat. It is time for our leaders to be brought to book and judged. It is time for the winds of revolution to blow through our world and displace all these wolves in sheep clothing. In Nigeria, we have a dynasty that should stop existing, a dynasty that should cease to exist because it is not just a non-performing one but a negatively performing dynasty.

Sanusi Okesola S, a youth crusader writes from Lagos,

shollydby@yahoo.com

A LIFETIME TIMELY MESSAGE FROM ‘A HOMELESS PASTOR.’

He walked around his soon to be church for 30 minutes while it was filling with people for service, only 3 people out of the 7-10,000 people said hello to him.
He asked people for change to buy food – NO ONE in the church gave him change. He went into the sanctuary to sit down in the front of the church and was asked by the ushers if he would please sit in the back. He greeted people to be greeted back with stares and dirty looks, with people looking down on him and judging him.

As he sat in the back of the church, he listened to the church announcements and such. When all that was done, the elders went up and were excited to introduce the new pastor of the church to the congregation. “We would like to introduce to you Pastor Jeremiah Steepek.” The congregation looked around clapping with joy and anticipation.

The homeless man sitting in the back stood up and started walking down the aisle. The clapping stopped with ALL eyes on him. He walked up the altar and took the microphone from the elders (who were in on this) and paused for a moment then he recited,

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

‘The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

After he recited this, he looked towards the congregation and told them all what he had experienced that morning. Many began to cry and many heads were bowed in shame. He then said, “Today I see a gathering of people, not a church of Jesus Christ. The world has enough people, but not enough disciples. When will YOU decide to become disciples?”

He then dismissed service until next week.

Being a Christian is more than something you claim. It’s something you live by and share with others.

ANGELS IN TROUBLE

It’s a world coated in hate and evil, clinging the wings of caring loving truthful angels, leaving the good at the mercy of the wicked – Sanusi OKesola S

I see them, every day on every corner of the street, stranded and pleading for help. I look at them unperturbed, undisturbed. I pity them, every morning and noon on my way to and from work, struggling with moving vehicles, fighting for my attention to bless their lives in an exchange for the wares they sell.

They are everywhere, vulnerable and dying searching for helps where nothing but hate and assaults exist. They bare all the hate and hope we will get better by the day. But then, you can’t just believe it, they are angels. They are pretty innocent hapless angels who have lost their rays, in a bid to keep their honour, hoping you might just be of a bit of help.

These are angels all around us, it shouldn’t take a long time to know if only we look. These are angels dying for our attentions but we’ve been buried by our intentions. These are angels with time ticking-off on their souls while we are eager waiting to give shinning pretty looking beings with white flowing gown a treat as angels instead.

There are angels all around us, bridled by the hate and wickedness of our minds. Searching ceaselessly for our love before their times be done.

They are angels. They are, in our classes, offices and homes, constantly looking up to us for guide and care in their journeys through the paths of life. Except that we carelessly sold our heart to sin and lust for the love of gain and fame and, innocently they fall in line; their souls buried in death for eternity! But they are angels, little stainless innocent looking angels.

I can see them all around us with the Book buried beneath their armpits. They spend every moment, second and breathe of their lives, searching, looking and waiting for our attention. If only for a moment of time that might last for the rest of eternity, they put a bit of smiles on our lips. But instead, with frivolous carelessness and indifference, we run after fun-coated-traps garnished with bait. At the end, we wreck a life they so happily hope to make of bliss; returning tears for all the smiles they’ve spent a lifetime to give.

They are angels, though we are blind to the sight of them. They hang on every track we thread, clearing all the stones on our ways less we stumble. They are, sticking yet still while we sleep, cos many a foes hang around in the dead of the night. They stay awake, to stop evil from sneaking in our dreams and rob us of our beauty and calm. Less we lost our splendor before the return of the bridegroom and make us unworthy of His sight.

But while they wait to present us chase and untarnished, we ruin the magnificent beauty with a painful romance with satan and sin for what we last but only a life-time on earth. And travel through endless eternity without a gleam of hope!

They are angels; we never knew because we never had the time to look.

5 SIGNS YOU ARE NOT AS SMART AS YOU THINK

ImageIt’s a concept that can be difficult to come to terms with, but like it or not our intellect (or our perceived intellect) can often work against us in life. The indications are all there once you have the eyes to see them. Have you fell into the “I think I’m too smart for my own good” trap? Don’t worry the big part of correcting a mistake is realizing it exists! Check out these 5 signs you are not as smart as you think you are and see if any or all apply to you. Coming quickly to terms with them and correcting this kind of self-defeating behavior can make you truly smarter fast! And perhaps more importantly, much happier too.

Lack of Professional Success

Opinions are by their nature subjective – think of beauty as being in the eyes of the beholder as a classic example – while end results, like numbers in a pay check are very much objective and impossible to argue with. Smart people leverage their intelligence into professional success. If you are thirty five years old, consider yourself brilliant yet are living in your parent’s basement it’s pretty clear you are not as smart as you think you are. Smart people figure out a way to make money not make excuses!

Always Being in the Center of Conflict

Smart people, truly smart people that is, don’t spend every waking moment wasted in argument, conflict and debate. The need to prove how correct you are at the expense of co-workers, friends, family and the majority of people you meet on the street reveals a insecurity that truly intelligent people rarely have. It’s a flashing neon sign that tells the world you are not nearly as smart as you think you are! Avoid unneeded conflict and watch the energy you save get utilized for positive projects and to fuel constructive behavior. Now that’s a sign you are getting smarter!

You Are Always Rushing Around and Way too Busy

Do you find most of your days fighting the clock and running from crisis to crisis? Time and energy management is a skill all truly smart people quickly learn to manage to make the most out of life, minimize stress and out produce their less smart peers. Ask yourself if you are so intelligent why are you always running around in a panic like a chicken without a head? Occasional bouts of overwork may be unavoidable aspects of our professional or home lives, certainly, but if this is a reoccurring nightmare you are hardly as smart as you may like to think you are. Smart people know this is hardly a way to live or to produce up to a person’s true highest potential!

You Talk Much More than You Listen

What do you think of when you are around someone who just won’t stop talking to even catch a breath? Don’t images of scam artists, unscrupulous used car salesmen and high school air heads flash to mind? Certainly not people with true intelligence who understand there’s much more benefit and lasting power in the sometimes lost art of listening rather than talking. Which category do you most often fall it – the endless babbler or the active listener? The answer says a great deal about just how smart you really are. Listen more and talk less.

Your Reading Habits are Hardly Challenging

If you needed to find one top quality shared by all truly intelligent people you could do much worse than focusing on the love of reading. Real reading about difficult and thought provoking subjects – not escapist low brow entertainment. Reading is an essential tool in the quest for continued self development and it’s embraced by all the truly smart. If you consider yourself in this category, but spend your free time zoned out in front of the television or wasting time reading foolish crime novels it may be time to reconsider. A few hours of challenging reading a night can help expand your intelligence and creativity in astoundingly magical ways and move you quickly towards being smart for real. Adopting this habit alone can be a true game changer you will have no choice, but to thank yourself for a year from now. Don’t hesitate to act on it if you’d like to be smart rather than just think you are smart!

culled from http://www.fitnea.com