Terror Attacks

When I stated that Faoruk Abdulmuttallab must have been a lonely youth and starved of parental attention, I was not trying to be trivial. According to foreign media, recent press releases have revealed his postings on Facebook and other social media platforms. Apparently, he had been pouring out his inner thoughts.

A posting from January 2005, when he was attending boarding school, read, “I have no one to speak to. No one to consult, no one to support me and I feel depressed and lonely. I do not know what to do. And then I think this loneliness leads me to other problems”.
As parents, we need to monitor our children and also be their closest confidants. Here, I rest my case.

Osu – The Caste System in Igbo Land

I listened to an interactive programme on the radio (102.3FM-Continental Radio) sometime ago, and the discussion was about the prevalent caste system in the south eastern part of Nigeria. It was quite interesting and the various contributions from both the audience and the invited guests made it so. From what each contributor said, the Osu people were dedicated to the gods – for their service. Contrary to negative perceptions concerning this special set of people, I learnt that they were the first set of people to be educated when the missionary people came to the South Eastern part of the country.

According to the history persona, it was quite easy to become an Osu. For instance, if an individual was trying to escape from an adversary, by swearing an allegiance to the society, such a person becomes an Osu. It was also interesting to know that due to the special duties being carried out by the Osus’, they were rewarded with choice lands, property and other valuables. They also had their own schools, markets and other social amenities. It was also interesting to note that only the fairest and the brightest people were members of this special community. I understand that within the South Eastern part of the country, they’re the most prolific and eminent individuals. So, I wonder where all the negative connotations started from.

Why would parents threaten to disown their children for marrying an Osu, who obviously has an illustrious pedigree? Why the unnecessary discrimination? I don’t know all the answers, but I’m of the opinion that this kind of abominable discrimination has got to stop.

Transition Period

Hello Peeps, I have not been around for some time. I was away for a training in Lagos on ‘Account Business Competencies’. Saying I learnt a lot is an understatement. I now understand why most people who have had a successful career with multinationals become consultants. It gave me the opportunity to understand and manage large retail chains effectively.

Yesterday, I was at a retail chain in Bodija, to submit our proposal and drop a sample pack of our product. I went through the process outlined during the training. After the product presentation, I knew we had a huge chance of our product featuring within the outlet. I was told to come back today and upon arrival, I had to conduct another presentation to the outlet manager. Suffice to say, they placed an order for 48packs. On monday, we had also conducted another proposal submission at a large retail chain on the island. They placed an order for 24packs immediately.

To top it all, we’ve been receiving inquires from our target audience on where they can purchase this unique brand. We’ve also commenced home and office deliveries for large orders. The journey has been exciting and challenging but it’ll be more eventful as we encounter more success and mistakes in building brand equity amongst our target audience.

In dealing with large retail chains, I have learnt to be diplomatic, give helpful suggestions that would drive consumer demand not only for our brand but other similar brands within an outlet. I have also learnt the importance and usefulness of floor staffs within an outlet. They can make or mar acceptance of new products. Peeps, I’m off…

Young Professional Internship Programme (2010 -2011)

The West African Health Organisation (WAHO), the Health Agency of ECOWAS, and its Partners announce its Young Professional Internship Programme for 2010 – 2011, which will commence in March 2010, and hereby invite applications from citizens of member countires of ECOWAS.
Goal: The goal of the programme is to equip young professionals with knowledge, skills and experience for effective management of health problems in West Africa.

Structure: The 12month programme is divided into 6 Stages. Stages 1 and 4 will take place at the headquarters of WAHO in Burkina Faso, during which the Interns will acquire knowledge and competence in basic principles of public health, a second official language of ECOWAS, computer and new information technology as well as basic principles of management and leadership. During stages 2 and 5, the interns would be posted to host institutions in different countries in West Africa to acquire practical skills and competencies in their technical areas of interest or professional specialisation. The technical areas should respond to the health needs of the sub-region and the priority domains of WAHO.

Priority Domains for 2010 – 2011:
The applicants for the internship should have interest in one or more of the following priority technical areas:
1. HIV/AIDS
2. REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH
3. CHILD SURVIVAL
4. NUTRITION
5. PREVENTION OF BLINDNESS
6. MALARIA

Benefits:
The Interns would be provided with accomodation and would receive a monthly allowance during the period. All travel costs related to the Internship would be paid for and learning materials would be provided free.

Eligibility:
All applicants must be citizens of ECOWAS member countries, must be available throughout the 12month period and should have:
1. obtained a university degree or equivalent within the past five years.
2. fluency in reading and writing of at least one official ECOWAS language (English, French, Portugese)
3. basic competence in Information and Communication Technologies

Application Procedures:
Interested candidates should send the following documents:
1. Letter of application to participate in the programme.
2. Up to date curriculum vitae.
3. Photocopy of the relevant pages of the National passport, National Identity Card or birth certificate.
4. Photocopies of Diplomas and Certificates.
5. Letter of motivation stating reasons for the chocie, relevant experiences and future career plans.
6. In addition, each candidate should send three letters of reference. Two of the referees must be persons who taught the applicant in the University or appropriate institution. For a candidate with work of experience, the third should be a professional with whom the candidate has worked. The letters of reference should be sent directly to the address below by the referees. All applications and letters of reference should be sent by post or e-mail to:

West African Health Organisation (WAHO/OOAS)
Young Professional Internship Programme
01 BP 153 Bobo-Dioulasso 01
Burkina Faso

Email: waho.ypip2010@yahoo.fr

Closing date: All applications must be received by the close of work on 15th November 2009.

The danger behind a single story

The above named title was coined from a recent interview Chimamanda Adichie granted ( I think it’s all over YouTube). I have not watched the video clip but from the title, it is safe to assume that she was talking of the need to project our own stories and not one woven around Famous Five, Barbie, Fawlty Towers and others.

While reading an article on Oprah’s website last week, I came across her book of the month. The title was ‘Say You Are One of Them’, written by Uwem Akpan, a Nigerian author. Anyway, while reading through its’ synopsis, I discovered that the story revolves around genocide and war issues in Africa. If Chimamanda Adichie thinks that there is a danger in projecting stories from a particular race, I agree.

However, the danger behind the single story our African writers are projecting is a continent of despair, famine, inter tribal wars, communal strife, voodooism, witchcraft, female subjugation and other dark things you can associate with Africa. No wonder, it is referred to as ‘the dark continent’. Is it just me or am I biased in thinking that for every burgeoning African writer, there’s this urge to centralize their story themes around one war or the other to continually project dark stories to be a potential winner of ‘The Pulitzer Prize, The Caine Prize and other international awards available. I’ve often wondered why books such as ‘A Man of the People’, ‘No Longer at Ease’ or ‘Jagua Nana’ never won international acclaim. Guess, we’ve been feeding the world wrongly.

Why can’t we weave our stories around more positive elements? Why must it be the usual suspects? I am looking forward to the day, an African writer will win the Pulitzer prize for stories woven around more central positive themes than what is prevalent now.

I realize we need to tell our stories and keep it for future generations yet unborn, so they can have an idea of how we waded through the storms to finally find heaven (this is assuming and hoping we do make something bright out of Africa).

Say No

I listened to an interactive programme on 101.5FM (Star FM), on my way to the office this morning. It was anchored by Moyo Oyatogun and the topic for discussion was concerning ritual rites performed, when a king passes onto the great beyond. A particular Erelu spoke on this issue extensively for about 10 minutes highlighting the age long tradition (which I believe must be repudiated), involving incision on the body of the late king, hanging the body (like a common criminal)to hydrate, while the heart and some other parts are taken out for preservation for the next king, who is expected to consume these parts upon ascending the throne.

It was ‘Tales of Horror by Daylight’ at its’ best if you ask me. We would be deceiving ourselves if we deny that this hideous practise is not prevalent within most parts of Africa. She also gave some startling revelations about what was done to the late body of Funsho Adeolu (if you ever watched ‘The Village Headmaster’), you’ll know who I’m talking about. She said, his body was hung to dry, while several incisions were made on his body, and some vital organs were removed for rituals and preservation for the next king. This was done before she assumed the title (just in case you’re wondering, what she was doing there). According to her, upon assuming the title of Erelu, the late king appeared to her in a vision, and told her of what was done to his body, and how he was finding it pretty difficult to rest in perfect peace. He led her to the people who committed such atrocities and she demanded for a release of his body parts, so a proper burial could be conducted for the late king.

It was as a result of this, she decided to start a campaign against ritualism and cannibalism. If you are wondering why such a traditionalist should be speardheading this campaign, she spent most of her years outside this country, acquiring education, skills and knowledge before coming back to assume this title. From my own point of view, I find it reprehensible that we are still engaging in such dark practices while the rest of the world (who are saner), are thinking of improving the welfare of their people. This is why Africa will never develop where such people abound. I shudder to think of the innocent souls that have been wasted. I support this campign wholeheartedly, and so did a lot of people who called into the programme to contribute to this topical issue.

My people, we can only get better. Please if you’ve got a blog, discuss this issue and raise more awareness. If you’d like to be involved in the campaign, you can get in touch with the Erelu via: saynotocannibalism2009@yahoo.co.uk (I hope I got it right)  and if I did not, do let me know so I can get in touch with the radio station, to obtain the correct email address.

God Bless and Keep your Soul Michael

I am an ardent fan of Michael Jackson and will always love him. Though, there have been alleged reports of illicit drug use, I admire this iconic legend a lot for his unparalled talent, entrepreneurial skills and his endless donations to children charities around the world. He was more than just a musical legend, he had global appeal. I’m yet to see a child prodigy who has lasted as long as Michael has lasted on the music scene.

For the past one week, a lot of media publications and audiences have attempted to get into the ‘King of Pop’s head’ to analyse his life psychologically. However, from my own point of view, I’m angry at those who have put themselves in a position of judgement over his life. Granted he may have been anorexic, suffering from dysmophobia and other illnessess, but, what I feel about him is a great sadness for the kind of childhood he had. For a man who started his singing career from the age of five, he never asked for the fame and all the attention. It was thrust upon him without his consent as a result of his father’s resolve to milk the family’s cash cow.

I don’t know of how many people who have lost their childhood due to their parent’s foolishness, stupidity and utter ignorance about that magical phase in a child’s life where, your imagination can take you to so many places. I can imagine what he must have gone through and I think it’s a miracle he lasted this long. I can identify with his need to reconnect unsuccessfully with his childhood. Most of us lost our childhood at an earlier age than we envisaged. I lost mine at the age of eight when my dad came back from overseas and I saw another side of life, I never imagined. Over the years, I have tried to reconnect with that lost time but what has kept me sane is the memories I have between the ages of four till seven when it was just my mum and us. Those days were special times in our lives and I will always be grateful to my Mum for giving us that kind of magical childhood.

There are still so many things I would like to say about this great legend, whom we’re all mourning across the world and even in the remotest parts, but, I think it’s time to let him finally rest and take a well deserved break from the tortous and lonely life he lived. Adieu Michael!

If you still think….

If you still think your business does not need a blog, ponder over the following four fundamental things required by your existing and prospective clients:

1. Get it right
2. Get it out there
3. Give them advice
4. Give them a voice

Who are ‘them’? Your customers of course…yeah! darn right. Your customers need this platform.

Waiting!

It’s 1.40p.m in the afternoon and i’m sitting here at a warehouse typing on my laptop. Today, I took off from work cos I wasn’t in the mood for any kind of serious work. Have you ever felt you were waiting for something you are entirely clueless about but your intuitive self knows that this wait could possibly make you? I was talking with a friend of mine today and I remember telling her that I was bored with my job…and I wanted something more, which I can’t define right now. So here I am, typing on this blog and I decided to check up on a company I had approached last year to become their front line brand ambassador within West Africa and to my pleasant surprise, I find that I’ve been included as one of their brand ambassdors specifically for the West African market. How exciting is that?

Does that mean I’m giving up on my day job? Not yet, but it means I have the chance to put the skills and experience I’ve mastered on my current job role in making this brand a success within the Nigerian market when we roll out next month. I’m a creative and analytical person who has recorded a lot of success within my present job role but I’m at the crossroad where I realise it’s time to move on to the next chapter of my life. I want to make use of all the opportunities I consciously seek out to make a difference for myself and the community in which I live. Life is an interesting journey depending on your personal perspective…I’ve been waiting consciously and unconsciously and I know that 2009 is the year when I have to jump off the cliff to reach out to the world.