Voters Registration Exercise

I have been thinking of a way to publish my experience while trying to get registered but I have not been able to come up with an ingenious way of stating it. So here goes my thoughts on this exercise.

For a week, the registration officials were absent from my neighborhood on the premise that the DDC machine was faulty. I had to drive down to Magodo to register. I still don’t understand why INEC has insisted you can only vote within the location you were registered. If these machines are purportedly linked to a server, it really does not make any sense restricting voters.  Since this exercise commenced, more emphasis has been placed on the pivotal role youths play within the country. We have been told that it’s time for the youths to take their destinies in their hands.

At the various registration centers observed and based on media reports, I saw youths who were largely unread and uneducated. It took me 1 hour 15mins to register and during the course of waiting, I had to write out names, addresses and determine date of births for young people born within the period 1978 – 1985. It was downright disheartening and it opened my eyes to the limited opportunities available for these individuals.

For the registration officials (NYSC corp members), they kept demanding for monetary gratification but I was glad when everyone at that centre refused to oblige them. We reminded them it was a civic duty and they could not demand for more than what the government had contracted to pay them. It makes me ponder about what the electoral process would be if these teething problems cannot be surmounted now.

I have registered and would be voting for the candidate of my choice.

The Scam called NDLEA

I am appalled at our degenerate state within this country. I was on my way to the office today and while listening to Star 101.5 FM, a caller sent in a text regarding the recent recruitment exercise conducted by NDLEA (National Drug, Law and Enforcement Agency). This individual complained about the inactive state of the website and how difficult it was to submit necessary data.

I was astounded when Moyo Oyatogun (OAP) stated that she actually came across a notice posted by NDLEA, on the national network (NTA) which denounced the so called recruitment exercise. What this means is that at no time did NDLEA post a notice concerning recruitment. If you have applied for this recruitment exercise, do note that a great scam has just been perpetrated by some unscrupulous individuals. I feel so sad for the large number of applicants who had paid N1,500 each at our various banks.

How come people get away with all manners of fraudulent activities? Where did these individuals obtain all the necessary documentation they presented at the banks. For a recruitment exercise that has been ongoing for the past one month, why did it take the NDLEA such a long time to post a rejoinder? Pheewww..this is a puzzlement.

2010 Travel Photography Scholarship – Kingdom of Bhutan

Last time I posted a Travel Scholarship opportunity from World Nomads, I’m not sure if you (yes, I mean you reading this post right now) applied. However if you did apply, let me know. This is another opportunity for budding and professional photographers out there.  We have so many picturesque spots within the African continent. I’m hoping someone reads this, applies and hopefully win. Goodluck peeps.

Photo by Christopher Potter

Photo by Christopher Potter

Join an on-assignment National Geographic photographer in Bhutan!



Applications close October 17, 2010

Worldnomads.com, National Geographic ChannelJoJo’s Adventures Bhutan are giving one exceptional individual the chance to go on assignment with renowned wildlife photographer Jason Edwards to The Kingdom of Bhutan – land of the Thunderdragon!

This your chance to photograph the deeply spiritual and mystical Bhutan as it slowly opens up to the modern world, maintaining a strong balance with its ancient traditions. Nestled in the Himalayas, bordering India and China, 65% of Bhutan is under forest cover, making its pristine ecology home to rare and endangered flora and fauna.

To help you take the best photos, the scholarship recipient will receive AU$2000 worth of Pentax photographic equipment of your choice.

Your best photos will be published on the National Geographic Channel’s websitewhere they will be viewed by thousands of travellers worldwide, offering you a once-in-a-lifetime chance to get your foot in the door of one of the most revered exploration organisations in the world!

Highly regarded for his wildlife and remote landscape photography, Jason Edwards is represented by National Geographic Image Collection.

Your Assignment Brief

* We’ll fly you in from your country of residence to Paro, Bhutan where you will meet your JoJo’s Adventure guide for your 7 day trip. You’ll need to be available to be in Bhutan between December 5 – December 12, 2010.

* On the trip, which has been specifically designed for the assignment,you will work alongside Jason Edwards photographing rare and endangered wildlife in the Phobjikha Valley including the White Bellied Heron(there are only 200 left in the world, and 30 live in this valley)Black Necked Cranes. The trip will also include historical architecture and traditional Bhutanese culture.

* You will gain invaluable mentoring and hands-on experience in everything from shot set up, technique and composition through to insights into his many years of diverse experience as an award winning photographer.

* Your assignment will involve observing and assisting Jason as well as undertaking your own photographic work. This will involve long days chasing the perfect shot!

* You will keep a daily diary about your time on the trip and upload this to a WorldNomads.com travel journal, including pictures you’ve taken.

* On your return you will submit your top photographs to National Geographic Channel for publication on www.natgeotv.com.au.(See Anna Zhu’s photos, our winner from 2009, and her exhibition at Michaels)

* Most of all, you’ll be experiencing what it’s like to be a photographer-on assignment with National Geographic!

Who can apply

* Anyone can apply – this is open to photography students, lovers of photography or anynon-professional trying to kickstart a career in travel photography.

Minimum age 18 with a good level of fitness as there is trekking involved.

* This is a global opportunity – you may apply from any country.

* You should be an exceptional photographer with a lust for adventure, ambition to grow your photographic skills and forge a career in Travel Photography, and of course a desire to travel to Bhutan.

* Remember this is a scholarship, a learning experience, and therefore will not be suitable for professional or Semi-professional photographers.

* Find out more about eligibility in our FAQ video blog

Apply now

Please look carefully at the 4 steps required to complete your application.
If your photos are not ready, we suggest you come back later to complete this entry.

1. Shoot a series of photos (maximum of 5) that tell a story about a place you have visited. ‘Place’ may be anywhere; somewhere in your own community or much further away. The judges will be looking for:

* originality
* ability to convey a story through photos
* excellent technique

Please see our FAQ video blog about the theme, making digital adjustments and Jason’s judging criteria.

2. Add your photos to worldnomads.com. Firstly create a journal, which is where your photos will be hosted, and fill in the entry form. Upload your photos either as a Flikr set or directly in the journal. (If you are already a member or have a journal, please sign-in.)

3. Tell us in 300 words or less about your photos and why you should be chosen. Your written response will have significant weighting in the judging process, so think carefully about why you should be chosen. Remember this is a learning opportunity, not a junket for professional photographers.

4. Finally the legal bit. You know the Terms and Conditions of entry.

Tipping Point

Have we reached a tipping point in this country? Do you think we have gotten to a stage, where we are thinking about how to solve problems for our common good? I think so but I don’t know what you think regarding this. While the momentum is gathering beind the strategies being devised by the presidents’wife (Turai), it is left for us to decisively engage in a discourse that will ensure a better tomorrow for our children.

We must continually strive for a better country in as much as the world has not come to an end. We cannot allow a few selfish individuals to dominate the affairs of our beloved Nigeria. Today as we go out, let’s have that at the back of our mind.

On a lighter note, after ten years since the release of Lover’s Rock, Sade is back with ‘Soldier of Love’. Grab a copy and immerse your senses in her soothing, sensual and lyrical world. My best track apart from Soldier of Love is ‘Babyfather’. Have a wonderful weekend peeps.

Now that Jonathan has taken over…

What next for our future as Nigerians? Why are we bedeviled with bad leadership on the African continent? Did you happen to watch Aonodakaa’s interview with Christianne Amanpour on CNN? It was embarrassing to say the least. When asked if it was normal for a president to be absent from his country for more than 60days, he had stated that there was nothing abnormal about the situation.

Now that the Vice President has been sworn in as Acting President, I hope things will better. Notice that I do not use the word ‘pray’. I’m not against praying, I think we have prayed too long and God would pretty much appreciate if we dust off our asses and get to work by becoming an advocate of ‘No More Mess’ in this country.

Defining your Future

I attended a meeting over the weekend. I had the opportunity of being addressed by a senior colleague, who I consider a friend and mentor. She’s simply amazing. Here are the excerpts of the address and hope it motivates you to define your own future.

  • Have a vision – continually ask yourself what your vision is. Write it down and stick it in a conspicous place, where you can put your mind to it.
  • See what you are prepared to see. If you focus on the negative, be prepared for the worst.
  • Seize the day and fulfill your dream or goals to achieve success in life.
  • Look within you; what do you feel? There’s never a particular age for excellence. YOU CAN CHANGE THE GAME.
  • Have an inner dream (ignite your fire).
  • Look behind you, what have you learnt?
  • Leadership is not definite within a particular stage.
  • Define what’s important and what’s not.
  • Struggle to be part of the top 20 (I mean acheivers).
  • Integrity is what and who you are.
  • Develop yourself (dont’wait for your employer- this is the biggest calling of leadership).

Finally, I leave you with this chinese proverb:

“If you want to plan for a year, grow rice; If you want to plan for 10 years, grow trees; If you want to plan for a decade, grow men” .

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.

Impressionable!

I would like to start by wishing readers of this blog ‘Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year’. I would also like to doff my hats to the hardworking men of the Lagos State Fire Service and Governor Fashola. As I was leaving for Ibadan yesterday, along Ikorodu Road, Obanikoro to be precise, a commuter bus caught fire, and you needed to have seen these fire fighting officers, battling to put out the fire. For the very first time, I saw a fully equipped fire force and water, oh yes! WATER was gushing out with full force, enough to extinguish the near disaster that could have occurred.

Events like this keeps my hope alive for a better Nigeria. No one can save this country except we all join forces and decide to put a stop to the madness that occurs around us on a daily basis.

It’s bad enough that we’re rated as a nation of fraudsters but adding terrorists to our ever growing list of negative perceptions is just appalling. I finally settled down to read the news about that Nigeria young man who decided to blow up a plane heading to Detroit. For the first time, I saw his picture. I mean, he’s so young, innocent, naive and can’t be more than 20years from what I saw.
How did he become involved in things like terrorism? What the heck was he thinking? A shot at 5minute fame or a chance at PlayStation reality game show? I wonder how a promising young man could have allowed himself to be used for something sinister. If you’re thinking his motive was money, it was not cos according to newspaper reports, he’s from a wealthy family and attended some of the best schools in Africa. Learnt his father is the chairman of First Bank of Nigeria.

We live in an information age where there is free access to all kinds of information (beneficial and non-beneficial). As parents, we need to be more involved in our childrens lives so that we can impart the right information. In today’s world, I’m not a big supporter of sending children to boarding schools where they can be influenced by wrong elements. This type of outlandish behaviour did not erupt suddenly, it started way back in school. If his parents had taken enough care to monitor him, they would have nipped it in the bud before this national disgrace happened. From experience, money is not everything.

Love, care and proper attention are what our children require to become responsible and law abiding citizens of any nation. It’s so sad and it simply breaks my heart cos I believe he was trying to get the attention of his parents but he chose the wrong route.

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).