Nigerian Teens Create Sci-Fi Movies With Smartphone

21 08 2019
Critic company

The saying that if you give a hungry man a fish, you will feed him for a day but if you teach him how to fish, you feed him for life is so true for 8 teens from northern Nigeria who are making science- fiction movies using a broken smart phone.

No doubt, they love watching Sci-Fi movies but unlike other teens their age, the Critics company, as they call themselves, are determined to make their own. They came together 2016, started creating short film with special effects they learnt from YouTube videos.

Using a broken tripod stand to hold up a smart phone with a cracked screen, they shot a ten minute film called ‘Redemption’.

This film caught the eye of international media organization like Reuters, Aljazeera and others who celebrated them for making history by successfully making first Nigerian sci-fi movie. According to one of the young filmmakers, Godwin Josiah, their aim was to show that kids in the north are doing something different.

Support has since started pouring in. Veteran film maker Kemi Adetiba, tweeted enthusiastically about them in June and helped them raise $5,800 to upgrade their equipment.

Imagine what they could do with a formal training in sci-fi movie production.

Ironically, this same youtube medium that can create porn addictions that wrecks the lives of other teens is empowering and enabling these 8 youngsters to acquire skills in movie production. This shows that it is not the media as such that is to blame when youths get hooked on internet porn but the lack of focus and motivation among young people.

Serious minded teens can sift out the best and useful things in social media and use them to advance themselves without necessarily falling prey to harmful contents as these 8 teen have aptly demonstrated.

Still, it takes guts and drive and thinking out of the box. It demands  finding a dream, pushing forward and following that dream to its logical consequences.

In life, honest and productive work is usually rewarded with fame and success, and Godwin Josiah and his cousins are making themselves useful with a broken smart phone

Nigeria has over 70million are teenagers, but still teen productivity is so low. Experts say that this is due to skill deficiency Nigerian educational curriculum, which is shockingly theoretical rather than practical, and many teen leave school ill equipped to earn a living. Hence the high rate of youth jobless, resulting in political unrest, economic instability, drug abuse, crime, prostitution, human trafficking, terrorism and kidnapping..

The Critics Company have alerted people to the possibilities of digital media like YouTube to tutor themselves in skills that can fetch money or jobs or even help them start their own businesses. 

Many handy skills can be learned via YouTube: from air-conditioning repairs to fashion designing and computer programming and countless free online tutorials on software development. Furthermore, an average low-end smart phone is chockfull of useful apps, such that an average user cannot exhaust 1% of its capability.  There are apps that can transform a smartphone  into a math lab, reader, and multimedia learning platform and many other things, and most are available free.

The triumph of these teen is good news for a region considered by most as educationally backward and where teens are often school shy. The Kaduna state governor, Malam Nasir El-rufai has praised their creativity, invited them to statehouse for special visit and is generally making a fuss of them. He has also offered the government’s support and constituted a team of senior officials to work on the details with their family.

Josiah and his cousin are blazing a path for African teens to follow, and confirming that with courage and determination, any African teen will not only survive, but actually thrive in these polluted waters through through hard work, unrelenting focus.

  Their fame and success has even wider relevance. Teens the world over should cease being passive consumers of social media content and become innovators, leveraging on these platforms to create and market their own ideas and become creators, and contributors to human progress.

They are an indictment of those who engage in online scams popularly known in Nigeria as “419”, a scam that has given millions of Nigerians a very bad name.

They are also showing up the so called Nollywood industry, still stuck in their abysmally low quality films, rife with poorly written scripts and stale story lines  revolving around time worn themes of sex, money and power.

They may yet give the Nollywood oligarchs a run for their money and possibly break their  strangle hold on the industry.

With sci-fi movies like Star Wars and Avengers grossing over $900Million and $800Million respectively, a sci-fi skill set is not a bad investment and the Critics company could be pioneers in a business that could bring much needed foreign exchange flowing back into African pockets. Time will tell.





No Excuses says 22yro youth born without legs.

17 06 2019

ZION

From the start, the odds were heavy against Zion Clark. His mother, a prostitute, gave birth to him while in prison for drugs. He literally hit the ground running with both hands because he had no legs, rare medical condition known as caudal regression syndrome, a consequence of his mother’s drug addiction.
He was whisked off to a foster home, where he was often beaten, hungry and unloved, yet he was determined to survive.
Had no time to brood over his misfortunes, had no on to gripe to how life has dealt him a bad hand. Rather he thankfully grabbed whatever life offered with two hands and ran with it.
One day someone offered to teach him wrestling, but how do you wrestle when you have no legs? Undaunted, he took up the challenge, began training day and night to be a wrestling champ. He wanted to be the best wrestler in the world, who could beat anyone, and he knew that without legs, he needed to work extra hard.
Daily workouts, iron pushups, he soon became a formidable opponent for his bigger two-legged contestants
He had plenty of help from his friends, especially his high school Couch Gil Donahue who guided him through thick and thin till he mastered the art of the throw
“He pushed me to the point past exhaustion,” Zion said. “And when I had mental breakdowns, he just talked me up, really got me going.”
He first heard that word “No Excuses” on the lips of his couch during a match in which his opponent jumped over him and collided with his head.
“I took a hard hit to the face,” he explained. “My nose was bleeding, my eye was cut. I had to be taped up to keep going. I said to my coach, ‘I can’t do this.’ Coach Donahue said, ‘you made it this far, you have to keep doing your job. Don’t give me any excuses.’”
“I went back on the mat, and when he jumped over me again, I caught him in midair and put him down on the mat,” Zion said. He went on to win the match – one of the most memorable of his high school career. He has since tattooed the word on his back.


As the old saying goes, “Men learn when they teach.” Coach Donahue himself learnt new ways of couching thanks to Zion.
“I’ve never seen anybody like Zion” said Donahue, “it made me look at coaching in whole new perspective. How do you coach a kid with no legs?” He said that he and his couching team tried different techniques, trying to take advantage of Zion’s strong point until the figured out a technique that worked for him.
Zion loves others.
There were many things Zion could have been mad at life about. He could have chosen the path of hate, raging at the life’s apparent unfairness, why this or that should happen to him, why people have to look at him funny the first time they see him. Why the first thing that comes up when his name is put on Google is “How does Zion Clark pee.”
But Zion chose not to walk down that path, rather his chose the path of love. He loves his present foster mom, Kimberly Hawkins, and is motivated to keep going because he wants to succeed, make enough money and by her a car.
He loves his Couch because he gets him to push himself harder to get the outcome he wanted in his matches. “Zion is one of the most coachable wrestlers I have ever coached, said his Coach, “He is a remarkable team player that is willing to do anything needed to help the team succeed.”
Coach Schlarb described Zion as a team motivator who always wears a smile and never says “I can’
So that is how he is able to take it all, how come he hasn’t come down with some major depression and wishing to kill himself big time.
Quick to point out the secret to his happiness, he said, “You want to be happy you have a challenge,” he said. “Things shouldn’t always be easy. Keep it simple, just have fun, work hard and be happy. And of course, make no excuses.” He is presently hoping to be part of the team USA at the Olympics games, and is determined to win a gold medal.
Like Zion, many African youths have great challenges. With both hands and feet tied by the economic hardships brought on them by their corrupt leaders. Studies show that 6 million Nigerians have slipped into extreme poverty recently. Sudan is on the verge of another civil war, Liberia is economically ruined, these chains threaten and submerge the African youth, many have taking to begging in the streets, and others are wallowing in idleness, contemplating crime or suicide.

Some may scoff at the fact that Zion lives in America, a land of opportunities, and hence can’t possibly be compared with their situation here in Africa, but they should remember that there are plenty of people living in the US who have both hands and legs, yet live in misery, feeling sorry for themselves and failing to make any success out of their lives. Worse, in America today some people argue that someone like Zion should be killed via abortion in their mother’s womb with their mothers consent, because their quality of life will be too low. Zion Clark has proved them wrong, and his story has inspired others to pull themselves out of whatever shackles holding them down and to fight, never settling for what has been achieved, but pushing ahead for that which is still out of sight.

So it doesn’t matter where you are, or what your challenges Zion says, “There are no excuses for those who refuse to push themselves and work at it till they get it right.”
Money cannot buy courage, but with mentorship and nature, many young Africans can triumph over the chains imposed on them by their purposeless and thieving leaders.

.Chinwuba Iyizoba





The Millionaire Who Loves Street Children

27 05 2019

by Chinwuba Iyizoba

Mully family

His father was an alcoholic and often beat his mother. At 6, he knew the pains of hunger, cruelty and indifference and at 17, he ran away from home, walking all the way to Nairobi. There, a kind lady offered him a job. He later worked for a construction company and started his own transport business, with one taxi, which grew to a fleet, then a bus company, a transport company and finally, an insurance company, and by age 40, Charles Mully was a millionaire.

He began living in luxury, enjoying the company of the rich and powerful and forgot his past.

“I associated with big people, rich people,” he said. His home life was also a happy, he and wife; Esther lived with their eight children in a beautiful, large home on a big spread of land near the Kenyan town of Eldoret.

Wake up call

One day, while parking his car, a group of street children approached and asked him for money. Suspecting that they probably would use the money for drugs, he ignored them. When he returned, his car was gone.

Shocked and dismayed, not for his lost car, but because for the first time, he remembered himself as a little abandoned boy fending for himself, with no one to help.

He saw himself in those street children. He realized that they must despise him as strongly as he had despised the rich and powerful who wouldn’t lift a finger to help him. Now he was rich and powerful, and he wasn’t lifting a finger to help.

The excuses the rich gave for not helping him were the same excuses he was not giving for not helping. He was no different. His was selfish, a coward and a lover of comfort. He wept for hours, wrestling with a hard decision that was pressing urgently upon him.

“I saw myself in their eyes,” he said of those desperate children. For the next three years, I saw the children everywhere.”

Finally, he decided. He would sell his businesses and take into his own home the children from the slums.

When he told his family of his decision, they were horrified. They had a comfortable life and didn’t want to be inconvenienced.

His wife was heartbroken by his decision. “People told my wife to take me to the hospital,” he said with a chuckle. “They thought I had lost my mind.”

Yet, she supported his plan to sell off his business and take in street children.  His biological children were alarmed when their father started bringing home children from the streets, their alarm turned to anger when they realized they had to share their rooms.

“Daddy will come home later from walking the streets, smells of streets children filling the house, and some skin disease,” his daughter said.

Soon, their large home had nearly 100 orphans from various tribes, sleeping in every corner of a house. The house was soon too small to carry on and they rented a much bigger house. After taking in hundreds of children the Mully’s needed even bigger house, and so they moved to a dry and deserted land with nothing on it, not even water.

The going was rough at first until, through a miracle, they discovered water, which transformed the land into a fertile land so that they could cultivate their own food and as time went on, they had a sizable farm from which food came to feed the growing number of children.

With God’s grace and hard work, they have transformed this dry patch land into a home where abandoned children can find a true home. Charles called it the Mully Children’s Family (MCF), and he is so happy to give these children, who call him and wife, dad and mom, a true home and loving family.

Today, the MCF has taken more than 23000 abandoned children off the streets and given them education and a future.

In Africa rife with startling inequalities, where a few have so much when millions have nothing, Charles Mully has shown that sharing with the poor is a way to make personal wealth more effective. Just as he built a great business starting with one taxi, he has built a great family starting with one child at a time, a family of every race and color. His efforts have spawned MCF vocational schools and colleges right within the community.  While the boys learn technical skills, like carpentry, electronics and mechanic, the girls are equipped with catering, fashion and dress making. The brighter children go on to college and higher education and many have become medical doctors, engineers and lawyers.

He could have used his hard earned money to build fantastic houses. He could have deposited his money in the bank, earning generous interests. Rather, he chose to lead the way by his example so that others can follow his footsteps helping and stop attributing their misfortune to laziness.

Though Mully isn’t Catholic, he would understand well the teaching of the Church on the universal destination of good, that every person should regard the external things that they legitimately possesses not only as their own destined to benefit not only themselves and their family but also all others.

Feed the people dying of hunger, because if you do not feed them you are killing them,” above all by giving them aid which will enable them to help and develop themselves. (Gaudium et Spes 68)

It is true that not everyone can be as courageous and generous as Charles Mully, but like Mother Theresa of Calcutta said, if you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed one.

Chinwuba Iyizoba





Abducted girl turns 16 in the forest

15 05 2019

by Chinwuba Iyizoba

Leah Sharibu pics

Her eyes were diamonds, sparkling brightly when she laughed. Leah Sharibu was only 14 in February 2018 when she and over a hundred of her companions were abducted from their school in Dapchi, by boko haram, the Islamic terrorist group that has been devastating parts of Northern Nigerian for decades. She celebrated her 16th birthday yesterday, Tuesday 14th May, in Sambisa forest.

They had broken into her school like infernal spirits, eyes red like open wounds; breath, foul and putrid.  Their laughter like clanging steel frightened the captured girls whom they herded like lambs into waiting Lorries and driven to the forest by night.

The girls knew neither where they were nor why they were there. Hunger and tiredness overwhelmed them. Bugs and flies tormented them. They cried until they could cry no more, and realizing that the dirty jackals could never be move by tears, they ceased wailing and collapsed in exhausted sleep.

When they woke, they realized their captors thirst for blood, cruelty and hideousness was just beginning. Soon, thugs ordered them to renounce their Christian faith and accept Islam, in exchange for their freedom. Repulsive fiends! Who would want to worship the god that made you so foul?

The ogres promised the girls freedom and food and many too tired and weak to resist, they broke down and gave in, and gave the yellow fanged jackals all they wanted. Only Leah stood firm. She will not succumb and the trees danced for joy.

Shortly afterward, they released all the yielding girls, except Leah. They then announced via social media that according to their Islamic faith, Leah was now their slave, and that they were permitted to do whatever they liked her.

O infernal vermin, who permitted you to do vile things in the name of God!! You permitted yourselves to do violence to a religion of peace!!

News of the freed girls broke the internet and parents and relatives jubilated, but for Leah’s mother, however, it was a nightmare just unfolding; she wept herself blind for her sweet child still in captivity, and called for help till her voice broke.  For 2 yrs, little seems to have been done, and nothing may be done for many years to come.

Rebecca sharibu

Like the Christian martyrs of old, Lear is ready to die for her faith. Still, how hard it was for her to watch her companions fall one after another, swept by fear, one by one, till she was all alone, like a lone leaf left on a storm swept tree. With no one to lean on, no friend, yet the Angels are with her. Her captors must have howled and jeered with their disembodied voices, flies and venom spewing between their crimson fangs.

They are fools, though. Leah has chosen to serve in heaven rather than to reign in hell, and her love is mightier than their hate, and for that we salute her. Her parent salutes her, her family salutes her, her kinsmen salutes her, her village salutes, and her Nation salutes her.

She may die before any one lifts a finger to save her, yet her blood would water the tree of life for generations of Christians yet unborn. The Christian faith that they seek to extinguish in Nigeria will only grow stronger because of her witness, her blood. If she accepts death in bondage, she would have accepted a temporal bondage that would yield eternal freedom in Heaven and it’s not a bad deal; though few know it.

Her companions testified that she sang daily in her cell praising God’s name.  Her voice carries to heaven breaking the hearts of God even as a busy bee, she flirted around the forest, and did many things to ease the pains of her companion while they were with her.

 But God is wisdom

The angels of God are watching keenly with flaming swords unsheathed. All but a nod from God and the heads of those infernal jackals will roll. Yet, God’s plans are all wise and He will not retract a freedom once given to men though they long misuse it.

They may imprison Lear’s body, but they cannot imprison her soul, dancing like a butterfly, touching us all with suffering. The curtain of night fell upon us the night they took her. The stars are still blinking and the winds still wailing nonstop until we see Leah free. Happy birthday Leah! May the Angels protect and keep you safe. Amen

 

Chinwuba Iyizoba

 





Forgive but Never Forget: 25yrs After Rwandan genocide

9 04 2019

By Chinwuba Iyizoba

crowd of Rwandan at 25 yrs of genocide

 

Forgive and forget is an old saying but not in Rwanda as it marks 25 years after the genocide that killed close to a million people. The people are convinced that peace will continue only if they never forget.

 

“We are family once again, but never again will this happen”, said Paul Kagame, the Rwandan president on April 7 during the lighting of the commemoration lamp that will burn the whole of 100 days, the time it took to end the genocide that began on April 7, 1994.

On 6 April 1994, a plane carrying then-President Juvenal Habyarimana – a Hutu – was shot down, killing all on board. The government blamed the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF), a Tutsi led guerrilla fighters in the north. The next day a well-organized campaign of slaughter began. Youth militias (Interahamwes) were given hit lists of Tutsi victims. Many were killed with machetes in acts of appalling brutality. They set up road blocks to find Tutsis, incited hatred via radio broadcasts and carried out house to house searches. The killing lasted a 100 days ending when the RPF, led by Kagame and backed by Uganda, marched on Kigali. Some two million Hutus fled, mainly to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Unlike the sowers of hatred who orchestrated the genocide and ethnic division, Kagame has fostered unity and common brotherhood of all Rwanda.

Today, the country has recovered economically, with President Kagame’s policies encouraging rapid growth and technological advancement. Growth remains good – 7.2% in 2018 according to the African Development Bank.

“The arms of our people, intertwined, constitute the pillars of our nation,” Kagame said. “We hold each other up. Our bodies and minds bear amputations and scars, but none of us is alone. He added: “The fighting spirit is alive in us. What happened here will never happen again…”

From the constant bloodletting of Boko Harm in Northern Nigeria to the threats of vicious Somali gunmen in Kenya. African sees a lot of blood and horror. The African leaders present at the ceremony are hopefully here to learn how to stop the constant bloodshed, hatred and injustice in their own countries by building bridges that create spirit of brotherhood like Kagame has done in Rwanda.

 

True peace comes from Forgiveness

Immaculee Ilibagiza

The 1994 genocide destroyed the illusion that African fault line wars are triggered by lack of religious homogeneity. With an estimated population 5.6 million, 80 percent of Rwandans are Christians, mainly Catholics, yet they ditched the truths of the Catholic faith taught to them as children to heed the screech of murder and rape.

Immaculée Ilibagiza, a woman who survived the genocide hiding in a pastors toilet for 90 days with seven other women but lost her entire family with the exception of one brother who was outside the country, in her New York Times best-selling Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust, she talked about her struggles with hatred and desire revenge against those trying to kill her, and her initial inability to forgive. Then one day like one who had since been looking at a tapestry from behind seeing only a meaningless jumble of treads, she was finally given through prayers to see it upfront, and marvel at its beauty . She tells the story like this:

One night we heard screaming not far from the house and then a baby crying. The killers must have slain the mother and left her infant to die in the road. The child wailed all night; by morning, its cries were feeble and sporadic, and by nightfall, it was silent. I heard dogs snarling nearby and shivered as I thought about how that baby’s life had ended. I prayed for God to receive the child’s innocent soul, and then asked Him, How can I forgive people who would do such a thing to an infant?

I heard God’s answer as clearly as if we had been  sitting in the same room chatting: You are all my children . . . and the baby is with Me now.

In God’s eyes, the killers were part of His family, deserving of love and forgiveness. I knew that I couldn’t ask God to love me if I were unwilling to love His children. At that moment, I prayed for the killers, for their sins to be forgiven and for the first time since I entered the bathroom, I slept in peace”.

immaculee in toilet where she lived for 90 days with 7 other women

Immaculee in toilet where she lived for 90 days with 7 other women when she returned to Rwanda after the war

True, bad indoctrination can contribute to evil actions, but every evil act is still an individual act. Those who choose evil exercise personal freedom and thus are responsible for their acts.  It is heartening to note that many  Hutus chose to die rather than kill. They were true Hutus because they chose freedom rather than slavery of evil and their action are an indictment of those who took up the machetes to kill.

One can be trapped in the most horrendous and inhuman prison and yet be free, by accepting God’s will and by loving sacrifice, thinking of all the souls on earth Immaculée found her deepest relationship with God, learning to love all mankind, especially to pray and forgive her enemies.

She reached the peak of  forgiveness when she decided to visit Felicien, the man who killed her mother, and personally forgive him. After she had told him so, she asked him: “How can you have done this? Killing so many people, you can’t be at peace.” In rags, he seemed small and confused. “”I wanted to reach out to him,” she said. “I cried, and then he himself started to cry.”

The official in charge of the jail, a Tutsi who was a survivor like Immaculée  who was initially angry at her for forgiving the man latter came to her and said, “You don’t know what you did to me, when you went to the jail and forgave Felicien.  I was shocked but I learnt the necessity for forgiveness.”

Just like a tennis ball striking a soft pillow decelerates and loses its power to rebound, violence stops when it hits a forgiving heart. This is a lesson that Rwandans and millions of African victims of violence should take to heart and never forget.

By Chinwuba Iyizoba

 





Tears to Joy (Ekundayo)

4 04 2019

By Chinwuba Iyizoba

Tybello

Photo journalist, TY Bellow, who discovered the bread seller model also discovered an unsung hero, Ms Ekundayo, a woman who had single handedly cared for near 500 orphaned children without any public or private applause.

An economist graduate, who had a brief stint in Government, Bello is a passionate Christian who has an amazing eye out for underdogs. Transforming the life of an illiterate bread seller caught in her camera by accident to a supermodel. But she wasn’t done yet.

In 2003, on a whim of philanthropic spirit, she decided to go visiting orphanages round the country to see which was in dire straight and how she could help, to her great surprise, she discovered an unknown and unsung heroine, who had quietly fed and sheltered close to 500 children in the backwaters of Kogi state.

In 1959, Mama Ekundayo, a married woman with five biological children of her own, decided to take care of orphans and abandoned children as well. Without money or power, she set about her goal and by 2003, she had taken care of well nearly 500 children without any government or international aid.

mama ekundayo

Mama Ekundayo

“Ekundayo,” which translates, “(my) tears have turned to joy,” captured Bello’s sentiments the days she met this woman.

“After talking to her about 10 minutes, I just started to cry,” TY Bello said.

“I felt so empty, you know there is something about her that is very peaceful, very wholesome. You can tell that she was happy but I felt that my whole life was just about me and my project and the things that I wanted.”

Greatly edified by sheer munificence of the woman and the gloriousness of this hidden sacrifice and the contrast of her own life Bello wrote a song for her which she turned to a music video called “Ekundayo.”

ekunday ophanage

Just like many things in life, there are many unsung heroes, people who do good quietly while the world largely remains unaware. Men and women who spend their lives serving others selflessly, at the cost fortune and family. They are so noble, inspiring and out of the ordinary.

It is like catching a glimpse of that image of God we bear in our souls, so obscure and difficult to see in a world marked by unchecked greed and selfish ambition for power, lust and personal gratification.

Using one’s talents or money to serve the greatest number of people is obviously more rewarding and effective, yet it is strangely not common in Africa, and in Nigeria especially. The truth is that it requires degree of spiritual awareness rare and hard to acquire, and even more, it requires willpower and self mastery over the animal instincts of self preservation that only very few can achieve in society rife with insecurity and poverty.

Yet, the Ekundayos of this world aren’t superhuman. They are people with deep convictions who choose to live out the consequences no matter the odds.

ty bello with mama

TY Bello with Mama Ekundayo

But they are the truly free. Those who understand freedom as the radically arbitrary license to do just what they want and to have their own way are living in a lie, for by his very nature man is part of a shared existence and his freedom is shared freedom. His very nature contains direction and norm, and becoming inwardly one with this direction and norm is what freedom is all about.

It is this radical shift in thoughts and philosophy that distinguish Ms Ekundayo from many. Yet, all Nigerians retain the capacity to walk the footstep of this giant.

Admittedly this is no easy task from start to finish in Nigeria. From scarcity of adoption agency to fraudulent agencies that run orphanages with a mind of achieving a clandestine agenda, to lack of proper documentation, to legal challenges to bureaucratic bottle necks ensure that only the truly convinced can walk this course on scathe.

“Mama Ekundayo has shown us how you can do so much with so little. There are countless examples of people like her out there,” said Bello,   “I hope the videos inspire us to help make their work easier or at least spread the word as much as we can.”

EKUNDAYO – TY BELLO (video)

LYRICS: EKUNDAYO – TY BELLO

Ekundayo sugbon E mi ko

Ise Oluwa ni

Her words resound over and again

Undoubtedly I’ve been changed

Madam your life your heart touched mine

And finally I realized

Even I can give a life

Ekundayo sugbon emi ko oluwa lo fun mi se

Mo dele ever before open my door

Jojolo

 

Life was all about me

My life was all about me

Did not see nothing wrong

The life that I lived

Was far from her reality

Don’t know how empty I was

Madam your life your heart touched mine

I was struck by the purity of your smile

Now I know

Realize the change I can bring (Change I can be)

To suffering children who’ve got no home

Pray for me so I can see

Through your eyes

Repeat Do you know beautiful you become

When you make way

For the all little ones

Who otherwise would not have made it through their day

You become a part of their tale

Oh how beautiful are the feet of every man

Who brings tidings of hope to children broken

Blessings from heaven gate

Will shower you every day

Everytime you open the door to link a child

Open my door

Eje ko mode ko wa

Eje kan wa oh oh

 

Open up my door (Say yeah)

Open my door

Eje ko mode ko wa

Ki won wa oh oh

 

By Chinwuba Iyizoba





How to Shield Your Children from Corruption

24 03 2019

By Chinwuba Iyizoba

Robtel Neajai Pailey
Robtel Neajai Pailey

Rife in every section of Nigerian society, corruption is more visible in the armed forces who clog highways with sandbags and drums, and openly extort money from motorist.

I was driving with my 7 yrs nephew, Jonathan, by my side. It was a hot afternoon. We came to a police check.

“Do you want to be a policeman? “ I asked mischievously.

 “No,” the boy answered, without hesitation.

“Why?”

I was curious to know the reason for such categorical rejection. A police job is honored work in many countries.

“They are corrupt!” he quipped without blinking.

The policeman by the car in front crumpled something into his pocket waved him on. We were next.

 I wound down and greeted him cheerfully.

“Anything for your boys?” drawled the officer.

“Nothing today, sir” I said, sheepishly. “May be tomorrow.”

He waved us on.

We drove on in silence. I was wondering how much harm was done to children by witnessing daily daylight graft on our roads by men in uniform.

It reminded me of another story a woman told me, some time ago, about her 7 yr old son, Hamza. He had just joined the boy scouts, the uniform and badges gave him such a trill, he felt like an officer, and like officers do, he wanted money. The next day, on his way to a scouting activity, he stepped into the middle of a busy road and faced a fast approaching taxi. He had seen policemen do all the time. As the car raced towards him, horn blaring, he raised an authoritative hand. Stop!

 The car swerved at the last minute to avoid running him over, the driver spat at him, passengers cursed and showed him their five fingers. Passersby screamed as they hauled him by the ear out of the road and someone whisked him back to his shocked and grateful mother. That was the end of his scouting career.

The difference between Jonathan and Hamza, it occurred to me, was that Jonathan goes to a private school where Christian ethical codes were taught every week. During classes, teachers emphasize the difference between good and evil, and how lying, cheating–in a word corruption, harms. They help them discover good and do it, they help them uncover evil and avoid it; they learn that they can make mistakes and how to be quick in correcting themselves.

Hamza, on the other hand, attends a public school ill equipped to teach him Math’s and English, but very efficiently creates an environment that makes it hard for him to be virtuous.  He learns from older pupils how to steal, smoke, drink and climb school fences at night to visit brothels. He has never been furnished any argument against the corruption he sees.

Yet more Nigerian children attend public schools than private schools, and we cannot have it both ways. Either we teach these children about the evil of corruption now or we have corrupt citizens later.

This troubled Robtel Neajai Pailey, a Liberian academic, activist and author until she decided to do something revolutionary.

 In 2012, frustrated with all the rhetoric about fighting corruption in Liberia she wrote anti-corruption books for kids. The first one, Gbagba loosely translated, means ‘trickery’ or, ‘corruption’

 “I realized that integrity must be strengthened at the earliest stages in a child’s life in order to mitigate the practice of corruption in the next generation” she said.

Gbagba is the story of young twins, who leave the countryside to visit their aunt in the capital, Monrovia. The intrigues of adults in everyday corrupt practices—robbery, bribery, fraud, vigilantism—collide with the children’s strong moral sense of right and wrong.

Immediately after the children arrive in the city, a thief “in dirty clothes” snatches their suitcases in broad daylight. The description of the robber tells us that that the man is poor and desperate. But the idea that it is greed rather than dehumanizing poverty triggers the man’s thievery incites the threat of mob justice

And in no time, the twins later observe their aunt’s driver bribing a police officer. Their aunt’s indifference during this encounter stands in stark contrast to the twins’ sharp perception of the unfair advantage that takes place after the transaction.

You can watch the video adaptation of the book below and please share with your children

Pailey was inspired to write the book in order to give children the verbal tools to question the ethical and moral values of adults around them. The book received critical acclaim and has been adopted as compulsory reading by Liberian Ministry of Education

“Eight to 10-year-old children are the perfect targets because it is at this stage that they begin to form an ethical core,” Pailey continued.

 “In writing Gbagba, I imagined myself a proverbial anti-corruption pied piper, without the instrument of doom…. Even though Gbagba‘s setting is Liberia, it remains a universal tale about children’s emancipation from the confusing ethical codes of the adults around them”

As Pailey says, children are the moral compass of Liberia if not the world. When they start publicly exposing corruption for what it truly is, my hope is that adults will be shamed into living more honestly, with integrity.

The book has been turned into a play and the play was well received by parents, teachers, and school administrators in Liberian and other African countries.  It has also been converted to a play, and 200 theatre-goers enjoyed the performance in the audience on debut day.

A parent of one of the cast members informed Pailey her daughter is now the integrity police in their household, pointing out when her parents and siblings are being dishonest.

This is a worthy investment Nigerian government should consider making, inviting Pailey with her project and give children like Hamza the knowledge they need to fight corruption in themselves and later in the Nigerian society . Pailey has since written a sequel to Gbagba called Jaadeh.

By Chinwuba Iyizoba





Boys behaving badly.. By Pius Adesanmi (Professor)

18 03 2019

Today, I decide on a capitalist lunch alone. My assigned driver takes me to a capitalist restaurant – one of the elitist watering holes of anybody who is anybody in Nigeria’s centre of power.

I invite the driver to come in with me. He is shocked. He is used to waiting in the car. Or being given some change to go and find an appropriate Mama Put for his own lunch while the Ogas eat in the capitalist location.

I have no idea why I asked him to come with me. Inside, we strike a picture of contrasts. All eyes raised. All eyes looking at the odd pair.

We are taken to a table for one because the waitress naturally assumes that my driver is just carrying my phone and will find his way out to wait in the car as soon as I am seated.

I ask her for a table for two. She looks at me, looks at the driver, mouth agape. Something ain’t adding up. She takes us to a table for two. The driver is in a strange universe. Fish out of water.

I help him with the complications of the life of the rich: how to order swallow and “protein” from a menu in the ways of the rich instead of barking at Sikira to add more ponmo and shaki at Iya Basira’s buka. I order the same swallow and protein for both of us.

Inquisitive looks. Hostile looks. Querying looks. You’d think we were a black and white interracial couple that had just entered a public space holding hands in America or Canada. It is the same looks of disapproval. But this time, it is not from folks frowning on interracial border crossing. It is from rich Nigerians, big Nigerians, Ogas at the top and their accent-forming sophisticated mistresses, feeling that their space has been violated by the presence of my driver.

Much to my disappointment, nobody says anything to us and I miss the opportunity of a fight. However, I’m extremely pleased with what is going on – this sense that I am violating that space gives me immense satisfaction. I am also pleased that once he attacks his food, the driver no send anybody again. He eats with the natural noises of his normal buka environment – sneezing, belching, guffawing, etc.

There are moments when one has to be a strategic agbaya if it serves the purpose of getting on the nerves of a certain class of people so I join in the bad behaviour, also belching loudly and drawing satisfaction from the disapproving looks on the faces of some of the accent-faking sophisticated ladies and their male company at other tables.

We walk out royally after our meal. I can sense the happiness which engulfs my driver. We strike a conversation about it all on the way to the airport. He tells me that the most painful part of it for him is that all those madams and ogas spending about N10,000 for a meal for two are often people who owe their drivers, cooks, houseboys, house girls, gardeners, maiguards and nannies salary arrears and refuse to pay.

That is when it occurs to me that he probably would have appreciated the cash equivalent of what I just spent on a single lunch for him.

Our bill was N8000.

At the airport, I give him N4000.

His profuse prayers are the last words I hear as the airport terminal swallows me on my way to Lagos………
~~~~~~~~~***~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Pius Adesanmi is a Nigerian Professor with Carlton University in Canada that is among those that died on the ill fated Ethiopia airline

Rest in Peace Professor Pius Adesanmi…..🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾





Breadseller or model, a good job is attractive

15 03 2019

by Chinwuba Iyizoba

Jumoke the bread seller whose ordinary work turned her into a model has uncovered how extraordinary and attractive an ordinary work done well, with love and a smile can lead to success.

In 2016, 27 yr old breadseller, Olajumoke Orisaguna—Jumoke, a mother of two was pounding the streets, carrying her wares on her head, eking a living to save her family from starvation.
Unawares, she walked into a street photo-shoot and was caught in the background. While editing the pictures later, the female photo-journalist was so smitten by her photogenic beauty and determined to find her, she posted the picture on instagram and successfully tracked her down and offered her a job as model, thus making an inspiring rag-to-riches story that held Nigerians spell bound for years. Fans couldn’t get enough of her, hope spread among desolate millions in the streets that one day their luck will change.

Olajumoke Orisaguna walks into a photo-shoot accidental
The Picture of Jumoke at background that made her famous

Her parents were too poor to send her to a formal school, Jumoke had trained as a hairdresser because and in 2010, met and married a craftsman. But their combined income wasn’t adequate to feed their two children. To haul the family out of appalling straits, she moved from Osun to Lagos with one of her daughters, to work in a bakery. It was a hard and difficult work, on foot each day with a tray laden with bread loafs on her head. Yet, come rain or shine, she kept a smile on her face.
That afternoon walking past people talking pictures, unconcerned, she smiled and hurried on, calling for customers; little did she know that Lady Luck saw her.

She had since become a runaway success, yet she remains inwardly unaffected by it, humble and straight talking her reality TV shows are filled with great street wisdom and is the darling of you-tubers.

In one of the episodes, she spoke with her usual unadorned candidness, of the shocking things she had seen on social media, things like a man getting married to a man and a woman marrying another woman.

With the candidness of a child she expressed it as utter “unNigerian” and unthinkable.

Jumoke’s wisdom

She was simply expressing her opinion, and besides she isn’t a lettered woman, and as Peter Kreeft, philosophy professor of Boston College said, “There are certain falsehoods that you need a PhD to believe.”

Yet, the floodgates of hate and cyber bullying were immediately flung wide open and attacks on her person and family began. Orchestrated and led by a Ghanaian self proclaimed transsexual who continues to smear her, intent on ruining her, and getting her blacklisted by modeling companies.

Not satisfied with hounding her job, they have turned on her husband and marriage, spreading vicious rumors that she was sleeping with other men and disrespecting her husband.

Yet, come hell or high water, Jumoke is refusing to succumb to threats, and continues sharing her hard gotten wisdoms with Nigerian youths who adore her. And she is not all talk, often swinging into action when she comes across women in grim straits. She recently convinced her promoters to intervene and build a house for an aged woman she saw being evicted from her home.

Jumoke

Yet, young people best remember that Jumoke’s success wasn’t entirely of her own making. “Lady Success” lent her a hand whilst she was busy with her ordinary work selling bread, for love of husband and children.

How true what someone said, that success, true success is really carrying out the duties of everyday and the little things of each day well, with a smile if possible and always elegant. For it is along ordinary paths of life that we meet our destiny.

Still her success is an unlikely story for millions of indigent youths. A rare combination of luck and the goodness of a relentless photo-journalist had made her what she is today, and many Nigerians may never have such luck. They should not be disheartened however, but rather continue doing their ordinary work well, throwing in a smile along, even if their work should suffer the privation of remaining unclaimed till death.

They should remember that just as a man submits to the cruel torture of a surgical operation in order to save his lives; it is quite possible ordinary life’s cruel sufferings might save the life of their souls if accepted with love and a smile. “Pain or suffering of any kind for that matter can, be bearable when accepted as a form of purification,” some spiritual writers say.

And anyone who examines himself honestly will find much to purify: sins, omissions in love, disorderly inclinations which must be paid either in this life or in the next. Suffering is necessarily part of this life, and those who wish to go straight to heaven, after a life spent wholly in God’s service must not shrink from it

And St Paul exhorts in scriptures, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us when we contemplate God face to face.”
And St. Josemaria Escriva adds,“ Understand this well: there is something holy, something divine, hidden in the most ordinary situations, and it is up to each one of you to discover it.”

Infact, Escriva, with Gospel in hand, constantly taught that God does not want us simply to be good . . . , he wants us to be saints, through and through. However, he wants us to attain that sanctity, not by doing extraordinary things, but rather through ordinary, common activities. It is the way they are done which must be uncommon. There, in the middle of the street, in the office, in the factory, we can be . . . holy, provided we do our job.”
Young people might not all become famous like Jumoke, but their work no matter how ordinary, done with love, and extraordinarily well, is attractive and is a sure path to happiness.





An African gift to a Danish woman

24 01 2019

By Chinwuba Iyizoba

Danish woman social worker who fed and gave new life to a Nigerian child left for dead by his family because they thought he was a witch is herself rewarded with a new life.

In 2016, a Danish woman, Anja Ringgren Lovena, a social worker, found a toddler, emaciated and riddled with worms wandering the streets of Akwa-Ibom, he was naked and fending for himself.


She bent down and gently fed the boy and gave him some water, later she wrapped him in a blanket and with the help of her team took him to a hospital where he was given medications to remove the worms from his stomach and given daily blood transfusions till he was stable enough. She then took him home, washed, cleaned, fed, clothed him and called him Hope.

Pictures she shared of her feeding the starving boy broke the internet and the hearts of many the world over; and she received more than a million dollars in donations. A few months later she posted pictures of the fully recovered boy looking healthy and robust. Again, the pictures went viral and she became a celebrity, but more important, her life was changed forever.

The boy Hope had brought hope back into her own life.

“I have been looking to find meaning in my life,” said Anja, who grew up in a loving home, where her Mom worked with elderly people and thought her how to care and love other people. Her mom often told her stories of African children starving, and as a young woman she became very fascinated with Africa.

At 23, her mother’s death from cancer shattered her life. Distraught, she began looking to find meaning in her life, and decided to come to Africa.

 She founded an organization for children in 2012 in Malawi but opted for Nigeria when she stumbled across online articles about children killed after being accused of witch craft in Nigeria.

“When I found out that so many innocent children in the Niger Delta Region were tortured and killed due to superstition and the belief in witchcraft, I was in total shock,” said Anja, “it really made me so sick to my bones. How could anyone do this to children?”

From then on nothing could stop her from coming to Nigeria. Children needed help

 In Nigeria, in 2013, she met and fell in love with David Umen, a social worker and a law student; together they formed a team and built a children center.

She and David had been on many rescue missions, in obscurity, unclaimed until that fateful morning of 30th January 2016, when she found Hope, a most precious gift clothed in distressing disguise. Hope made her famous.

Now she has 100,000 followers on instagram, more than 150,000 Facebook followers, and millions across the globe who, admiring her generous heart, wish to be better.




On that January morning when she first looked into Hope’s frightfully hungry eyes, she saw with crystal clarity, what many Danish people  or Americans or European can’t see, and therefore can’t understand or even imagine exists.

She grasped that unless she helped them see what she was seeing with her eyes, through the lens of her camera, many will continue drifting aimlessly, chasing shadows and fleeting pleasures, unaware of that inner call to dedicate themselves to something greater than them.

Her pictures shattered the comfortable selfish lives of millions, and raised consciences long dead; and as she extended her hands to feed that little starving child, many satiated stomachs whose hands never extended to feed any other but themselves quivered uneasily knowing they could be better, they could contribute something, they could share some of their bread with those who have naught.

When she saw the starving child, she acted like a human being and became an inspiration for millions,” says the editor of German-language Ooom Magazine that listed Anja as the most influential person of the year 2016.

 “Her sustained efforts to help the abandoned children of Nigeria gives us hope and encourages us to follow suit.”

Africa has given Anja a gift, a return to humanity now lost to many of her folks bent on killing their children through abortions. Abortion is fully legal in Denmark, done on-demand up to twelfth week. A super rich country like the United States killed more than 45 million children via abortion since the 70’s, and just this week, New York legalized abortions until birth for any reason whatsoever!

Africans are ignorant, backward and poor; no doubt and in their ignorance, kill children. Yet, they are excusable precisely because they are poor, ignorant and backward.

More shocking and inexcusable are the acts of nations and peoples, highly educated, highly progressive, and super rich who kill unborn children as a right and a privilege. According to Mother Theresa of Calcutta, “Any country that accepts abortion is the poorest of the poor.”

“Many people are concerned with children of India, with the children of Africa,” continues Mother Theresa.  “These concerns are very good. But often these same people are not concerned with the millions being killed by the deliberate decision of their own mothers. And this is the greatest destroyer of peace today- abortion which brings people to such blindness.”

Unlike African blindness, easy to cure with education and bread, European blindness is complicated and requires a complete surgery to right their crocked world view filled with anti-human ideologies of trans-genderism, of homosexuality and atheistic anti-life policies.

Africa has given Anja a home to welcome as many witch-children as her heart desires; Africa has also given her a gift of love in return: Emmanuel, her handsome husband, has filled her heart with joy of life and a gift of her own very son whom she cherishes more than life itself.

By extension, Anja’s action encourages all Nigerians to rise and uproot this evil superstition killing children and do more to help others; there is a joy that the world cannot give that comes from helping others, and as the end of life approaches, perhaps those acts of charity are the only things that will endure; for it is simply true that when we help others, we become better.





Transformative Power of Work by Ikechukwu Onuoma

28 09 2018

 

IMG-20180308-WA0035

UNIV NIGERIA 2019: Getting down to business

Did you ever think about the fact that only humans have hands? It may seem obvious, but it’s not. In the world of nature, we humans are uniquely vulnerable: wings, paws or flippers get you around a lot faster and farther; furs and feathers provide protection from the elements; refined senses, instincts, and defense mechanisms automatically kick in to ward off dangers and detect opportunities for growth.

But our vulnerability is at the same time our strength.

With our hands, we can build wings to fly.

With our hands, we can design our own habitat and weave our own clothe.

With our hands, we can provide care, establish relations, and protect ourselves and others.

Our hands are instruments open to infinite possibilities.

With our hands, we humanize the world through arts and Medicine, Gastronomy, Architecture, Fashion, Communication, Education, Domestic Work and Design.

Our interdependence creates employment opportunities in Commerce, Health Care, Politics, Law, Economy, Business and International Affair.

Our openness to infinite possibilities drives work forward creating Technology that entertainment us and innovations in research.

With our hands, we work. But have we always worked in the same way? Today the world of work is undergoing arguably the most drastic transformation since the Industrial Revolution in the 19th Century. Information technology, shifting social demographics and globalization are some of the factors that are shaping the ambiguous future of work, in which one-track careers are being replaced by multi-faceted professional trajectories, and personal capacities and aptitudes such as critical thinking, resilience, problem-solving and decision-making are increasingly valued over technical know-how.

The world of work in the 21st century is full of challenges: vast geographic and social inequalities, corruption, inefficient structures, forced labor, unrecognized and uncompensated work, human trafficking, unregulated activity in emerging sectors and high levels of youth unemployment.

So let’s get down to business. The 21st century professional is serious, dedicated, diligent, creative, focused and capable of persevering in an integrated cognitive and physical effort. What kind of personal development does a professional in today’s workforce need in order to convert needs into opportunities and vulnerabilities into strengths? How does one´s profession become an authentic service to society and the individuals who surround us? What can your hands do that a robotic arm cannot? What can you contribute beyond the scope of artificial intelligence? The challenges are many, but our hands are open to infinite possibilities.

 

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Ikechukwu Onuoma is a lawyer and the national coordinator of
Univ Nigeria





Sarah McLachlan’s $15 music video gives $150,000 to charity

1 12 2017

Fools do nothing when they think the can do little. Canadian musician and song writer, Sarah McLachlan may not have done much to ease the sufferings, injustices and hunger in this world, but she did something, she did what she can. A successful musician, she could have spent 150,000 USD to produce her music video, “World on fire” with all the glamor and glitz, but she decided to use her camera phone instead, and spent just 15 dollars and donated the rest to charity

“World on Fire” music video opens with the singer sitting on a simple chair in a barren room on an otherwise empty set. A title card comes up: “What’s wrong with this video? Well, it cost only $15.” Then the song, featuring the lyrics “The more we take, the less we become / A fortune of one that means less for some,” lists where the rest of the typical $150,000 cost of the film would have been spent (“a producer would cost $7,500”). The twist is that McLachlan’s video dollars are used not on those typical production costs but to help poverty-stricken children and women in Cambodia, Niger, Bangladesh, India, and other struggling countries. (That would-be producer’s salary instead bought “6 months of medicine for 5,000 patients” in a Nairobi health clinic.)





 It’s not worth the risk

22 08 2017

condoms

I had a chance encounter with someone at the swimming pool recently that got me thinking. He works for a foreign NGO that deals with HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment in Africa.

“We go around educating people with the illness about the importance of taking their drugs,” he said.

“Why is that necessary?” I asked, wondering why someone living with AIDS would need an agency to remind him to take his drugs.

“They are ashamed,” he replied, “there is a strong stigma attached to AIDS in this country and people simply do not want to be identified or known as having AIDS.”

“I can understand that,” I said.

“Yes.  So, even though we are offering the drugs free, yet people don’t want to come forward to collect them. Many people are living in suicidal denial

“Human beings are very complex,” I said.

“But do you have preventive program as well?” I asked.

“Yes, we promote the use of condoms.”

“Are you aware of the claims that condoms are not foolproof, some even have holes big enough for Aids viruses to easily pass through?

“That has not been scientifically verified,” he countered.

I smiled.

“But I am sure you aware from experience perhaps, that fingernails can scratch holes through latex condoms?” I continued.

He smiled and began speaking truthfully.

“Yeah, you are right,” he said, “many of the condoms are even expired without the user’s knowledge. And many people don’t check expiry dates before putting them on if at all they do.”

“Sex is a passionate affair,” I said, “and in the heat of passion, people get carried away and become careless.”

He smiled. Looking cornered, he said, “In the absence of better solution, what else can we do?”

“But there is a better solution,” I said with another smile.

“Abstinence?” he asked.

I nodded.

 

“I know, but how many people can control themselves?” he scoffed.

”It is not easy I agree, but when you challenge people, they can do a lot. At least warn them of the dangers and educate them about the abstinence alternative.”

He nodded. There was a thoughtful look in his eyes.

I continued, “Consider for a moment how doctors and nurses wear gloves, and surgical masks and gowns when going in for a surgery. Compare that to the level of protection offered by a single condom. Besides, we are not talking about just HIV/AIDS; there is a host of other sexual and nonsexual transmitted diseases which can be transmitted during sexual acts.

He was silent.

“Plenty of different body fluids are exchanged during intercourse” I added.

“You are right,” he admitted again, “abstinence and mutual fidelity is the only prevention worth promoting. The stakes are two high, and it is not worth the risk of using a condom.”

We concluded and shook hands. He was an honest man and I left the pool feeling that I had made a friend.  I promised to send him an article I wrote many years ago on the “Bleak stories behind failed condom campaigns”

 

From the Editor

Chinwuba Iyizoba








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