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These inventive Nigerians: who gets over the moon about them?


File photo: Mr. Andy Acka and his invented mini jeep. 
It’s no gain say that Nigerians old or young are a never say die people, even though, it’s not without occasional fraudulent twists to it.

Over the years and against all odds, they have continued to break out in different directions and in different countries all in the attempt to successfully underline their acquired or natural ingenuity.

So much that as the day goes by the stories of their constructions, however crudely they are, won’t stop multiplying and gaining traction.

Sure, it’s been giving a lot more Nigerians the hope (I won’t call it false yet) that country is within the touching distance of technological Eldorado. 

Frankly speaking, I love the love being shown these categories of Nigerians.

But at the same time, I’ve my reservations about the overreaching nature of people’s optimism and even glamorization especially when extended towards some of them.

In this wise, there’s a near grand attempt to pass off many of their creations as something to be celebrated despite being simplistically repetitive, unmarketably crude and so grossly deficient in what one may call imaginative originality.

That’s to say; their efforts, genuine as they were, are yet incapable of fully demonstrating our capacity and readiness to urgently impact the fluid boundaries of human technological march.

Over time, I’ve had a series of interesting conversations with people from both sides of the divides around the subject of Nigeria technological development and the hurdles it must overcome to stand a fighting chance of standing out in the highly competitive global market place of technological inventions.

The latest happened very recently on the street of Abuja. It was during one of my regular but casual visits to my young friend who is a SIM registration agent of one of Nigeria’s Global System of Mobile Communication (GSM) service providers. He is a graduate of one of the polytechnics in Northern Nigeria.

As it so happened when I arrived there that day, I met a younger boy who was planning to take the just concluded United Tertiary and Matriculation Examination (UTME). Interestingly, he is an art student. And I’m so convinced his choice was by no means be less shrewd because it must have been a function of years of systemic assessments.

Not trying to discourage the boy I’d suppose, at least not directly, but my agent friend nevertheless would go on say rather shockingly that the art as a discipline isn’t adding any value to the growth and development of Nigeria.

And as if the detraction isn’t enough, he equally added that the art is no longer in vogue, unlike science. And I perfectly understood where he was coming from which is that the modern pioneers are the scientists, engineers, and inventors. Of course, he has a scientific background and that might explain his biases.

But is that enough reason to say the art in the form of imaginative flights and the likes have and are not contributing anything to human technological advances so far?

Just so you know; knowledge is no more important than imagination. Imagination takes you everywhere; even to places you’ve never been physically and may never be in your life. 

To compound the drift, my friend is of the opinion that the Nigeria government at some points in the past had mooted the idea of canceling the art subjects.

This is where I came in because those obviously are misinformation and flawed conclusions about the arts.

Government anywhere not to talk of Nigeria, I chipped-in, cannot cancel art subjects in schools simply for the art is still very much and will remain part and parcel of human existence and experience going forward.

I had asked him what his definition of art is. Obviously, from his answer, he thinks art is only an academic discipline. He naively glossed over the part that the art is also a profession. And that within its huge multi-billion dollar industry is music, dance, theater, painting, photography and sculpturing to name a few.

On the one hand, I tried to encourage a joint inquiry into the nature of art. But more importantly, on the other hand, I had to inform his ignorance that as of today, art and not science as both an academic discipline and profession has brought Nigeria true recognition in the international arena through none other than the literary legend, Prof. Wole Soyinka who won the Nobel Laureate in 1986 and other art practitioners like musicians and those in the theatrics.

The conversation became more re-focused on science and technology, and I took the driving seat thereof. But somewhere in the middle, he managed to loop in a somewhat indefensibly populist opinion that Nigerians have always been inventing stuff which I agreed with and that government has not been supportive enough. Otherwise, a lot would have been achieved down the year.
In this regards, he would go on to cite some examples both from his polytechnic days and from happenings in the wider Nigerian society.

Let me pick just two. The first concerns a final year student of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, who for his project invented a drone.

Like many before it, the news was all over the internet and you’d think a Nobel Prize is in the offing for the young man. Whereas all he has done was replicating what we already know. Not a bad idea altogether after all that’s how many of the technological powerhouses started off. But there’s something extra yet to be discovered by many inventive Nigerians and the government alike.

The second has a slant of fraud to it. It was in connection to a fraudulent infiltration of a bank in Nigeria by a black hat hacker.

At this point, I could perceive a glint of delight in his voice which went a pitch higher than it was before. More so, his face brightens up like a kid who just had a gift he has long craved for.

From his excitable conclusions, the hacker is not only a great guy but one who deserves a national honor. To him, the fraudulent tech-whizkid is a titular scientist and inventor to have applied his internet skill even if in a negative way.

For the umpteenth time and no disrespect to all honest technologists in Nigeria, the average inventive Nigerians are at best most pedestrian in their occupation. With a few exceptions though, they are not daring, not innovative enough to deserve the sort of accolades they are currently getting.

This is because all they have preoccupied themselves with over the years is recycling the technological wastelands of the rivaling west and eastern worlds to primarily feather the nest of their daily bread. And that’s where it stops.

I can name a thousand and one products, no jokes, which have remained the same since they first hit the market place as an alternative to their foreign counterparts.  That sucks if you ask me!

Not surprising, they’re sooner than later pushed out of business by their more daringly creative and innovative rivals from abroad.

To buttress my point, I’ll cite a couple of examples. I know many Nigerians are familiar with the crude electrical lighting contraption called ‘Oju ti NEPA’. When translated, ‘Oju ti NEPA’ means NEPA is put to shame.

And for the benefits of those who are idealess about what NEPA is or means, it is an acronym for Nigeria’s former energy carrier before it was ‘fraudulently unbundled’ some have argued and means National Electric Power Authority.  

The device in question derives its name from the function it serves. It is used to temporarily lights up the homes and shops when there’s a public power outage. There were and are still plenty of such.

It is one of the several ridiculous products ever to be invented by our so lionized collective engineering intelligentsia.

The worrisome aspect is that it has remained the same in shape and function since it first came to light decades ago. Whereas within the same period, its foreign parallels have undergone several innovative improvements and upgrades.

Secondly, some years back, I met a technologist who has fallen on evil days because his once thriving business was now in the past. The consequence is that he could no longer care for his family.

To bring the much-needed relief to his unease, he confided in me his plans to put up his only house for sale. Temporarily and before such becomes a reality, he has already started to reconfigure the house preparatory to letting out portions of it. However, I left the community not long afterward and wasn’t privileged to know what later happens.

Before then like I was saying, he has been very active in the industry of providing a local alternative to imported welding machines. Everything was going on fine. There was serious patronage for their rough looking contraptions. Then suddenly, they began to face stiff competition from abroad. The usual suspect, as you might know, is China.

And the local industry experts like him simply had no answer to the low price, beautifully made and efficient alternative from China. Sales dropped and customers moved to the imported welding machines.

Contrary to what people like my new friend expect that government should provide money for old and startup technologists and inventors; it’s not the responsibility of government to provide funding for the private technological initiative because accountability has been poor over the years.

It’s, therefore, not up for arguments, that is a frontier for the private financial institutions and rich entrepreneurs looking for openings to invest their millions and billions if you like which underscore the importance of a SiliconValley and Nigeria don’t have any as we speak.

All Nigeria presently has to the best of my knowledge are underfunded technology incubation centers; and ineffective and inefficient research institutes whose outputs are gathering dust on their shelves.

Also from what I know of Nigeria and Nigerians, any money from the government is seen as either a windfall or crust from the national cake whose repayment should be given little or no attention.

That said; there’s another group of inventive Nigerians who don’t deserve love from anybody. These groups are ambitious and industrious but in the end, what do they do?

To drive sales knowing wealthy and no less the poor Nigerians have obsessive tastes for foreign goods, their products, and services are either attributed to China or any of the many European countries.

Finally, here are the cruxes of Nigeria’s scientific, technological and inventive matters.

The idea that Nigerian inventors wanting to fly first before they walk has for so long remain unacceptably counterproductive and will forever remain so.

The idea that Nigerian inventors believing rather in error that they can continue to produce just about anything and anyhow in the hope Nigerians and indeed anybody will buy because they’re cheap will not also fly.

Nobody buys a product or service because it’s cheap alone. In a similar vein, nobody also ignores a product or service just because it’s expensive.

There must be an added utility or value to it, first in the form of aesthetics and then efficient and dependable problem-solving features. And those are the catch!

Nigerian inventors must learn to combine the right pricing with the right design. Only then can their products and services begin to compete favorably well with similar stuff coming from China or anywhere else for that matter.

They must also, learn to be responsively innovative and not wait until the competition is at the door before they know it’s time to up their game.

Everything these days including technological products are to be optimized for the global market for that’s what it is. Or else they will gather dust on the shelves of marketers.

Nigerian technologists must be ready to go from the basic to intermediate and then to advance in their quest to be a reckoning force in the already glutted and expanding the global marketplace of arcane end of engineering products and services.  

The way it stands, it’s a false hope that Nigeria is anywhere within the threshold of a technological Eldorado. In my opinion, we have not even started. If anything, we’re only crashing in and at random on what’s the arcane gate of technological Eldorado. Whereas, what’s urgently needed by the technologists at both the academic and industrial levels is to be deliberate about it.

As for those who like my friend wish to be over the moon because inventive Nigerians are able to conjure scrappy papers, plastics, and metals into something all in the name of inventing, I say best of luck.

But for those who are already over the moon because some fellow Nigerians are able to couple mechanical and electrical elements which they didn’t even make originally and calling it invention and believing they’re close to technological new dawn; I think they are in a dreamland.

And like those who in their dream stumbled on a cache of money and are overjoyed; they better be hardworking because it’s an indirect sign of impending hunger.

Finally, I was and will always be over the moon for those inventive Nigerians who’re crazy enough to imagine things impossible in the estimation of unimaginative people; and are willing to connect, collaborate and innovate with others within the existing technological development frameworks towards bringing them to fruition.

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Love tango and s*xual favouritism


This image is only representational 

I’m definitely going to be up in arms here against some categories of people/professionals whom I consider as hiding under the guise of feminism yet sometimes blinded to what the issues are and continue to function as gender biased marriage counselors.

The last time I checked, love is a feeling of great fondness or enthusiasm for a person or thing. It makes you want to do anything for the recipient of your love and vice versa.

Traditionally, when two people of opposite sex exhibit a great fondness for one another, we say they’re in love. It could be for real. It could also be for the game of pleasure.

Importantly like I said earlier, it involves sharing. That's give and take of material and non-material things of which s*xual intimacy ranks higher.

Coincidentally, we’re in the Easter season when all humanity, especially Christians, remember the great sacrifice made by our Lord Jesus Christ for our salvation. It is yet the greatest demonstration of love by God for the sinful earthly man. He gave up his only begotten son that man can be reconciled to him.

By then, except we want to look away from the hard truth, we know that when two people are in a formal courtship, s*x must be involved. Its morality or otherwise is a topic for another day.

Like chocolate, s*x, therefore, can be categorized as the most sticky item in a relationship. It helps couples and people entangled in a love tango to bond effectively. And we all love it, right! Except for the Eunuchs by birth or choice! Or those who have sworn an oath to celibacy like the priests.

In addition to being a dependable means for recreation, s*x is essentially the traditional route for procreation.

Otherwise, we wouldn’t be having the park called earth teeming with human kinds running into billions and still counting.

This is a sufficient proof humanity has been very active sexually. But that’s not where I’m going.

Over time, I’ve heard on various radio and television programs dedicated to relationships where guests talk about tips and tricks to help dating people know who’s and who’s not going to marry them especially concerning the ladies.

I recently watched a Vblog where a female relationship counselor talked about a number of things which if a man do could be an indication that he’s not likely to marry the lady he’s courting.

But there’s a part which catches my attention. Everything starts well and going well until it reaches that point. It goes roughly thus: ‘if a man wants to do something like marrying a lady he’s dating nothing in this world should hinder him’. And I’m like is that for real? She also added that it’s only when a man is not interested in a lady that he starts to make excuses.

The touchy aspect for me was when she said most men chicken out of marriage at the last minute after the ladies must have cooked for them, do their laundry and even gave them S*X. The catchword here is S*X.

To me, this clearly is another annoying attempt to portray ladies generally as s*xually favoring men. More so, it’s part of an ongoing attempt to create and reinforce the erroneous impression that ladies have over time been too s*xually generous to the men as if in most cases the act is not consensual and mutually beneficial to the parties. And 
I’ve heard this warped narrative on a number of occasions prior to that.

On each of the occasion, the whole scenario is like the moment a lady goes under the sheet with a man, even when she approves of it, the lady is condemned to have become something like a husk and she’s destined for the waste bin.  Like something precious has been taken off her and she’s now totally worthless.

Not surprising though, many of them are buying into such nonsense. No wonder many of them become so mournful after every botched relationship like they have been conquered and exploited by philistinic intruders, though sensually speaking, they’re as satisfied as the men they want to be crucified.

The question then is what happens to the capacity of a lady the mature one at that to completely own herself and gives herself to whom she feels is worthy without a needless sense of guilt or of being used and dumped. Every lady owes herself such capacity. And if you don’t yet have it, it’s never too late to go develop it.

The point I’m making is every s*xual act should be consented to by people in a relationship and not forced and must not be tied to a reward like marriage because things do happen. In the long run, it may be that you’re not compatible with the man and will you then say just because he has slept with you he must marry you. I bet that’s courting disaster.

While it’s difficult I think it’s not impossible. The best thing to do in a relationship abstains from irresponsible act like sleeping with every man that comes your way under some questionable triggers. Ladies, own yourself and act rationally.

Ladies should get it off their mind that they’re doing the men favor like some counselors do want to have us believe. You must not also be seen as being s*xually generous to a man all because you want him to take you down the aisle. Agreed, sometimes it works but most of the time it doesn’t.

There’s nothing like a lady giving s*x to a man. It’s not a dole out of favouritism by ladies because it takes two to tango. It happens randomly or otherwise between people of opposite s*x and so far it is not forced it is permitted. Counselors, therefore, should stop pushing the boundary of this misinformation.    
  


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A True Story: ASHAWO

*This picture is for representational purpose.
Not long ago, I was a guest of an old friend who recently moved to a new apartment. The house was new and in a new neighborhood too. The fence was low with security wire neatly installed on top. 

When it was nightfall, the guest room got intolerably hot for me because of the season and coupled with the fact that there was a power outage. If there is anything I hate with a passion, it is definitely heat. I trust most of you do too. As such, I decided to seat temporarily outside to receive fresh air.

The hour was almost hitting the midnight and I didn’t know. The street was deserted which is not surprising because the neighborhood is just coming up. Most of the residents who you can possibly count on your fingers were already indoors. 

It was also partially dark. That is because there was a power outage on one side of the same street. Going by the standard of the people there, I believe It would have been appreciably silent but for the sound of generators coming from a number of the houses around without electricity.

Suddenly, the smaller gate of one of the two houses opposite a medical facility flung wide open. And as if being chased by something or chasing something, a female figure hurriedly came out. She was of average height, dark complexioned, and moderately fat. 

She was dressed in black leggings and a white fitted top and she clutched what looked like a white shopping bag bulging with more items than it could possibly hold.

After coming out, like a scene out of a Nigerian home video, the lady all of sudden stopped right in the middle of the empty, bumpy and un-tarred road as if she has come under a spell. And before you say heck, she started to pull off her cloth. 

Within seconds, she was half-naked from the waist downwards and raising her two hands in the air as if surrendering to something or somebody not visible. And she kept moving in circles.

O dear, here is another victim of the powers that be, I said to myself. I agonize and felt really bad that another pain of childbirth has just gone to waste. It was the most appalling sight I’ve seen in a long while. 

Yes, I have seen women and men likewise fought half-naked and dirty on the streets of Lagos. But those were intentional and dramatized insanity. This is not and I was short of words.

Still in shock and disbelief, I immediately put on my palm sandal, stood up and briskly moved to a vantage position to have a closeup view through the iron bars of the fence what more would unfold.  

Almost simultaneously, a group of men and women from the building followed and were circling. Ahead of the group was a sturdy and heavily bearded man. 

He was dressed in a complete black sports tracksuit. Obviously, he took the following pack by surprise as he descended on the half-naked lady. He began to rain quick and sharp blows on her. 

She staggered from their impact and fell helplessly on her back to the floor. The beating continued while she was on the floor and struggling to find her feet. 

At some point, she was being dragged on the floor too. It was a scene of a most vicious attack on a woman by a man for stripping herself naked intentionally or not. The atmosphere was tensed and full of potential harms to the lady.

Separating them became another tug of war. Now, the following pack had circled. Some pulled at him with all their strength. Some were suing loudly on their voices for peace. For a while, he proved to be a man not to be easily restrained for there was so much anger in him waiting to be spent. 

But a particular woman dressed in a white nightie stuck to him like a leech and won’t let him continue the ferocious attack on the lady who was still on the floor. She kept calling his name pleadingly and asking that peace be allowed to reign. 

And there was a temporary halt to the assault. By now, what was left of her smart top too has been completely shredded.

During this period, they propped up the lady to her feet. She was also given a towel to cover her badly soiled and bruised nakedness. The co-tenants then smuggled her back into the premises. They would go on to hide her in one of the apartments while the man was being held back outside. But he kept threatening assault.

The next thing I heard was: “Ashawo”! Common prostitute!! The man still angry and restless screamed repeatedly. Threatening and looking like he was going to pull off the woman that held him, but the lady was up to the task.

Why would you naked yourself in public like that? Why? He asked in a rasping voice still full of anger. In fact, I don’t want you back in this house! He vowed.

And he kept going round and round the premises looking to see if he could locate where she was hiding to no avail. Some of the men stick around and asking him to calm down and assuring him things would be fine. Later, he appeared to be listening because he suddenly became conscious that some things on him, especially his phone, was missing.

Where is my phone? Give me my phone? He demanded from by-standing co-tenants. The phone by then was already dissembled. They jointly looked around for the scattered parts. 

When they were pieced together, a few of the features were damaged. The screen is badly scratched and the stylish cover was nowhere to be found. It might have fallen in the sewer full of dirty water because they couldn’t found it. 

The raining season is about to start and there have been a couple of light downpours. They all retired back into the building and the smaller gate was shut behind them. So I was left clueless as to what really transpired. But I had to figure out things on my own.

As I slouched back to where I was previously seated, I kept wondering who was what and why the horrific show. So many questions came to my mind and I tried to proffer answers.

Where they couple? I doubt they were. For if they were, nothing warrants the show of shame that just occurred. No sane couples, no sane woman would do such thing as removing her cloth in public to press home her grievances no matter how genuine they were, I concluded.

Where they lovers in a relationship? Possibly! But what disagreements could have prompted a lady that was well brought up to so badly misbehave and publicly too? 

My answer is she must have been wayward to be capable of such. In fact, she must have been a street girl or still a street girl who all the while has been pretending to be a good homely girl with the intention to get a man to marry her. Now she has been found out because like they say, the behavior is like a smoke, and in no time it will manifest itself.  

Where they strangers on a one night stand? It looked more like it than all other hypotheses. But I’m not sure because the other tenants all seemed to know the lady so well. If not, they wouldn’t have come to her rescue in unison and offering her a covering and safely hid her in their apartment.

Perhaps, she is a prostitute truly because to some extent only prostitutes are more capable of such scandalous behaviors and won’t feel ashamed about it. 

But there is always an exception to every rule. More so, there is, like the medical people would say, in everybody a streak of insanity that may manifest itself when least expected.

Perhaps it was her day to manifest hers. But who would like to marry people whose insanity entails stripping themselves naked in public? As for me, I wouldn’t. No sane person should too.

There must be other forms of mild and tolerable insanities. This, definitely, should be too much for anybody to devour. It’s not sticky at all. 

And if I’ve to advise the man, he should bring the relationship to an end and even informed the parents of the lady about the show of shame she has just put up. I wouldn’t be surprised in the final commentary, if the relationship whatever its status is, comes to an end on the night.  

*A point to note: This is a work of fiction meets reality and meant to entertain and teach moral.

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Poetry: Pregnant, again!


Ten years have elapsed, but gifted her a baby boy;
Through the streetwise scoundrel next door;
A hurting smoldering old flame he was;
Who wasn’t interested in marriage, at least not in her;
Because he already had a preferred choice;
Nevertheless, he was highly motivated
To get his own pound of flesh; as the story goes,
She once dated him back then as a teenager;
Dumped him and boastfully rubbed it in his face:
“How she was deliberately wicked to him”;
He would not forget the hurting humiliation;
He would not forgive the searing scorn;
Men rarely do!
Like a black Kamo, experienced and foxy,
He patiently waited on the wing
For sure openings to pounce;
He knew she would forget
How she once wronged him;
Like they use to say,
The one who defecates in the wrong place could forget;
But never the one who does the LAWMA’s job;
He knew the foolishness of Esau, for karma,
Will overwhelmed her watery wisdom,
Blotted her vision;
That’s exactly what happened, Fait accompli;
And he had his sweet revenge on her;
She did not suffer the pain, the shame alone;
The poor boy share of its fullness thereof;
For seven years, she agonized and cursed her star;
Whose fault it’s not;
But choices she made or unmade;
She prayed and hoped on a second chance to amends;
Yet it’s more like much is lost and nothing is gained;
For she had more than a second chance;
Only that they will neither stay nor will the joy last;
But hey, she remains a woman and wily;
Convinced she would have her way
By the crooked will;
But somewhere in the mix was another man
Whom she brusquely dumped too texted;
He has since moved on with courage and conviction;
Solemnly said to himself:
“It’s never too late to seek a newer world”;
Holding no grudges,
He remained a friend of the family;
Occasionally helping out where and when he could;
What about the rich, handsome and savvy banker
Who left her with a worthless ring and a certificate;
Dissolution need is hanging waiting to be processed;
What about the many bodies shaken to the music
Of her sexual generosity in false nuptial tete-a-tete;
Wandering back and forth disconsolate and lonely;
Holding a cupful of just rewards
In a world she created for herself
Like a dog to his vomits,
She crawled back to the gate
Of the man she trashed with a text message;
A man of many battles circled;
A man with many wars besieged;
But she was helpless and desperate for a quick fix;
And voices of caution she would not heed;
She knew he was poor and struggling;
She knew he was a shuttling squatter;
Who slept wherever the night catches up with him;
Yet, his perspectives remain as before
Fair and brutally frank;
He remains ever like the war foretold
By which the lame shall not perish;
But it’s got to be the wise lame;
Maybe one day,
He would become rich and famous;
And maybe not;
But he was willing to try for the distance;
Holding to wondrous tidings
Spoken by the mouth of prophets;
Faithfully waiting on his covenant keeping maker;
Now, breaking all mutual talks and agreements;
She contrived to keep a disputed pregnancy;
Through multitudes of sentiments and cajoling;
Through tearful threats
Of farewell to their kindled love;
Claiming her son is almost seven
And deserving a sibling;
When he insisted its abortion or nothing,
She flew into a surprise fit of rage;
She threw an unexpected snobbish jibe;
Likening him to the proverbial Oko Ikun;
And it’s all her fault
Her precious groundnuts are destined for ruins;
Forgetting it’s just like she once foolishly sown Okra
On the land belonging to the reindeer;
Marring all favorable dispositions to act otherwise;
If care is not taken,
It is certain where her next bitchy seed of maize
Will be sown; of course, on the Mother hen’s farm;
And we shall see who she would blame then?



Glossary of non-English words: 

*Kamo is a Russian historical character notoriously known for infiltration and sabotage.  

*Oko Ikun is a Yoruba expression which is used as part of a proverbial stack literally meaning a place of wasted efforts. 

*LAWMA, on the other hand, is an acronym for Lagos State Waste Management Authority
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How to add custom about page in blogger


Blogger is a Google plus centric platform for publishers and comes completely free.

And by default, it links to your Google plus account/profile and rendered in the footer area of the index page of your blog.

Not many publishers liked this, but they’re limited in terms of customization options available to them. While many as well care little.

In spite of these, a lot of bloggers/publishers have achieved remarkable successes with their blog customization.

Recently a gap was created when Google shut down it social media platform, Google plus.



Alternatively, the option of Blogger draft to display publisher’s full profile was dangle before publishers which many have taken and many others not.

Before now, I for one have always had issue with the limited Google plus profile and I’ve made bold attempt at it customization by adding a bit of personalized string right after the Google plus profile in the template.

After a lot of disappointing efforts to customize the about page by the way of tweaking the template, finally I was able to achieve it which is what I’m about to share with you here.

But first, for this method to work, you need to switch your theme to custom.  if you're on any of the new blogger themes you don't need to worry.

Now let’s get down to the basics. 

To add a custom about page, you need to create a portable pictured banner with a clear, simple and brief about information.

After that, head straight to the publisher dashboard, hit on new post button and upload the logo like you’ve below.



Then switch on the HTML of the post which is to the left of the dashboard and copy the entire code. Also see below:


Now, close the page and head to layout page. Click on add a gadget button anywhere and scroll down to HTML option and click it. Paste the code in the open field and save. 

By default, the code is align left which is perfect. if you wish, you can align it center by changing the left in the <div> string of the first row. 

Drag the new gadget most certainly to the footer area and save the new arrangement.

The next step is to head to the blog template and click edit template.   

Search in the template field for the HTML string that controls the new gadget. Right after the string locked=’false’, add the string mobile=’yes’ and hit save theme at the top left section of the template task bar.


And you’re done.

Enjoy!

Check your mobile/desktop views to see the new gadget working.  

You can also add to the template if you wish.

*Note: The most interesting aspect of this widget is that it has the capacity to behave like a standalone page when you click on it and returns to previous position when click again.
  
    

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Inspire Series: Be anxious for nothing

*Bukky Shonibare, Girl Child Activist. Source Bella Naija.
It was another beautiful day in the life of the world packed with a lot of exciting activities. The weather, as usual, was dry, wind starved and the sun blazing hot. But we were ensconced and comforted by the cool, calm and breezy well-lit ambiance of the church auditorium. The attendees were a sprightly mix of the youths and the middle-aged with a lot of expectancy in their hearts. That much I can confirm.

The event started in earnest. There were praise and worship, prayers, sermon, spoken word, a drama sketch, free medical check-up and speeches aligned with the theme of the event which is in the form of an acronym: MOVE, for Motivation, Offering, Vigor and Entrepreneurship. It’s a yearly program of ‘Recharge Center’, The Redeemed Christians Church of God, 18-19 SCC Road, Ushafa, FCT. And the date was 16th of March, 2019.  


Speaker after speaker mounted the podium to give their speech designed to put the fire beneath the feet of every member of the audience to go out there and achieve what’s the God purpose for their life.

In total, four speakers were earmarked for the day. By something around 4-5pm, we already had three. And they were worth listening to for they brought both scriptural and practically personal perspective to bear on the topic assigned to them.

Permit me to mention them and the topics they treated. Pastor Belief Eneh spoke on the topic: Destination. Dr. Mrs. Irene Nkechi Chigbue spoke on the topic: Time and chance in marriage. And finally, Evangelist Tella Olatunji spoke on the topic:  Enemies of Failure.

This was followed by anxious moments when it was looking like the fourth speaker may not turn up. Like you’d find in youth meetings, they clustered in small groups outside the church chatting and contemplating whether to stay or leave. Ladies especially could be seen stuffing and clutching their bags angling to exit the hall. Some, indeed, must have left.

It later became apparent the crowd in the church had thinned out a little bit. A sizeable number still remain. But the able event’s anchor managed to rally them with a cryptic message that it is their responsibility to break all generational curses which have limited their parents. He expressly warned of dire consequences for those who dare to leave before the event formally closes. They responded well out of conviction.    

While they were either seated or standing again and musically engaged; the fourth speaker for the day strolled in unnoticed. And she was none other than Bukky Shonibare, who was a co-convener of the Bring Back Our Girls Campaign. She is a lecturer at the Pan African University, Abuja. She is also the founder and CEO of 555 consulting limited. Appeals were immediately made that she be allowed to relax and regain her composure after a hectic journey.

It wasn’t long though before she mounted the stage. It was followed by an opening statement which comprised unreserved apologies and a brief insight into her exemplary life. The youthful audience immediately warmed up to her and they paid rapt attention. And she positively remarked on the energy around the hall and inquired again after the name of the church. “When told ‘Recharge Center’, it was a name most suited to the occasion,” she affirmed.  

“Launching proper into her speech, she said: Let this be my opening shot to everybody present the youths and ladies especially, that everything your mind can conceive, it can achieve.

“Continuing, no matter the size of your dreams and aspirations there’s always a room for their manifestation here on earth provided they align and are consistent with the will of God for your life.

She reeled out a number of her academic qualifications which I won’t bore you going into at this juncture. She also revealed that she would be concluding her law program in April, saying she’s not revealing all this to flaunt but to encourage everybody and especially the ladies that anything they set their mind to they can achieve. Recalling how she once roamed the streets of Lagos looking for people to sponsor her education.  But all that has changed because she didn’t give up.

She would go on to prove to be by far the most ‘interactive’ of all the guest speakers for the day. And this she made clear starting out on the back of her declared intention to make the speech very brief. And brief it was!

But by default the earthly man is anxious. She opened. Why?

“She asked the audience to give her their lists of words that can be used alternatively in place of anxious. They volunteered quite a handful. A good number say worry. Some say restless. While others say fearful.

The earthly man is anxious because he’s uncertain what the outcome of his endeavors will be. He’s fearful because his understanding of things is shallow. Hopelessness, worry, restlessness, fears and the like she stated categorically should not be the theme of the life of anybody for nothing is worth being anxious for or about.  

Once more, she asked those things that can create potential worries in the mind of the members of the audience. Ladies almost unanimously said getting married.
Men on the other than hand say when there is no money or lack of job.

Concerning the ladies, she interjected asking if it is the lack of suitable suitors that’s making them fret. And a good number say the brothers are only not forthcoming; they also added many are not faithful.

And the men countered that saying the ladies are being economical with the truth. \

However, a middle point was achieved which is that people are naturally anxious which ought not to be.

At this point, her first anchor verse for the speech of which they were chiefly two was Philippians 4:6. “Be (careful), ‘also rendered as worry, anxious or terrified in other biblical versions’ for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known unto God.”

She noted that while it’s not entirely bad to be worried or do any of such as related because things are not going the way we planned it or thought it to be, it’s however by far better to communicate our requests to God in prayer and supplication with added thanksgiving. Three in one approach that works like charm.

She encouraged the attendees to be prayerful, backed with an earnest prayer of requests, and thanksgiving to complete it. She explained that prayer is a way of appreciating God for what he’s doing, has done and will do. Supplication, on the
other hand, is an earnest prayer of requests made unto God, the father of creation. To be added unto it is the attitude of thanksgiving for God loves an appreciative soul.

Instead of getting sorely overwhelmed by our many bonds and travails as humans, we should look to God for succor like Apostle Paul did for while he wrote to the Philippians he was actually in prison facing persecution but did not allow that to weigh him down.  

The concluding verse for the speech was Philippians 4:7. “And the peace of God which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus”

Since peace of mind is what everybody seeks, she emphasized that it can only be found in Christ through God and the bible expressly made it clear in that verse.

And she explained what is a ‘peace which passeth understanding’.

Yes, there’s a peace that does not passeth understanding once people have an idea of why you’re joyous or blissful. If for instance when people know you have a new job, a new house, just married and the likes they can simply explain it away.  They can easily trivialize it.

But when you’ve something people don’t have an idea of, and you’re happy, it becomes a mystery to them. As such the peace you felt at that point in time passeth understanding because it is from God aligned with his will.

Apostle Paul though while in prison yet was happy, joyous and peaceful in Christ Jesus knowing where he was going in matters of gospel, spirit, and faith; and that help keep his heart and mind together. This, the faithless can only continue to wonder about because it passeth their understanding.

As Christian and youths she exhorted that true peace can only be found in Christ through God even while chasing after their dreams and aspirations. And instead of being anxious for nothing, better to pray, supplicate and give thanks in all things and situations.

There lay the secret and key to peace which passeth understanding which our hearts and minds continually desire. She concluded to shrewd applause from the audience now standing on their feet.

The delivery was immediately followed by a rather prolonged and affectionately raucous photo sessions which were a clear reflection of the star-struck attendee’s love, appreciation and high regard for her.

Many of course including myself are meeting such a huge personality for the first time. And what a perfect way to end the day’s event! 

Considering that many had been anxious concerning the uncertainties surrounding her arrival and now she just killed it with a likewise topic. How grateful many were not to have let their anxiety denied them listening to such a powerful person.

Now there you’ve it. That which you’re anxious for is actually nothing. Nothing! Instead, be prayerful, give supplication and give thanks to God and you’re home and dry with whatever your dreams and aspirations are. 

Shalom!              

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Issue: Danger of cultural exclusivity in a multi-cultural society like Nigeria


The Iconic EYO masquerades from Lagos.

Culture has been defined as the ways of life of a people. It is dynamic, defining and a complex whole which must be continually examined and mutually shared to be meaningfully appreciated.

It is also of note that language which is equally defined as a ‘system of arbitrary vocal symbols through which a social group co-operates’ is its veritable vehicle.  There is no better way then, to examine a culture than to examine its vehicle, language. It’s no brainer therefore that to know a people’s language is to know their culture.

The British culture is contained in their language, English. The Hausa/Fulani culture is contained in their language. The Yoruba culture as well is contained in their language. The Ibibio culture is contained in their language and so on and so forth.

Whether by accident of history or divine providence, Nigeria as of today is a multi-cultural society. And this, no doubt, provides its people with more than enough to learn from because it boasts a staggering 350 or so ethnic nationalities.

As such, it can be safely tagged a cultural mosaic or haven of sort which like I said earlier provides its people with massive opportunities for beneficial engagement culturally. Such cultural diversity it must be emphasized can be a source of strength if properly harnessed for sustainable national growth and development and integration which more than ever before is in greater demand in today’s Nigeria.

At no better time in its history does it people truly need more awareness of each other cultural intricacies than now when fault lines of all sort are increasingly being highlighted for political gains.

While the culture in a way divides; in a similar stretch it also unites. It divides because people’s differences are often highlighted when cultures meet. It equally unites because as people’s awareness and appreciation of each other’s cultural differences and similarities grow it brings about mutual respect for each other.

Therefore, the benefits of cultural engagements among the people no matter their social or political class cannot be overemphasized. It is a course which must be promoted at all time and at all cost. Having said all that, it’s however baffling that in this age and time some Nigerians still engage in what one may call existential or cultural exclusivity by an act of omission or commission.

As a case in point, for three years now I have known a very lovely family from one of the many cultures in the South-south geopolitical zone of the country which is guilty of this. And they live in Lagos, a mega-city long known and beloved for its classic upbeat lifestyle and irrepressible charm and urbane population. They have three lovely kids: a boy and two girls who were all born in Lagos to the best of my knowledge.

Unfortunately these kids approximately ages 11, 8 and 6 respectively, as far as I know, cannot speak the most basic of Yoruba expressions not to talk of possessing the capacity to meaningfully engage their Yoruba peers in conversation in the same language which is the language of the native.

To me, this is an unjustifiable misnomer. And there is nothing compulsively colonial about it. If it is their choice I want to respect it but I’m convinced that the gains of doing the right thing far outweigh the losses if there’re any at all.

I might be wrong with the boy because I scarcely rub mind with him for obvious reasons that he never for once solicits my help as did his other siblings. At other times that we have conversed, it was mainly in the English language.

A snapshot of Hausa /Fulani cultural outlook

This reality came to light only recently though I have been helping them (the two girls now) with their Yoruba assignments for some time. The last time out with them left a sour taste in my mouth as I ask the third born if she could speak Yoruba at all and she said no. Still, in doubt that probably she was pretending, I asked her to read the title of the passage that I was to treat with her and she simply couldn’t.  Then it dawned on me that something is wrong somewhere.

Immediately, I felt very bad that all my efforts and that of their Yoruba teachers if they have any in the truest sense of it were being allowed to go waste. And the whole essence of Lagos State Government policy thrust which makes the Yoruba Language mandatory for pupils both in public and private schools and visionary directed at preserving the Yoruba Language as the identity of the Yoruba race is being defeated.

I’m aware that because of the multiplicity of indigenous languages schools private and public face uphill task of teaching them. It’s only wise then that Yoruba for instance alongside Igbo and Hausa were chosen as class subjects to be taught in Lagos schools.

So, if a pupil has elected to study a subject, shouldn’t the needful be done on the part of the students and their parents to ensure learning takes place.

More so, the way I see it is that for the non-Yoruba families and their children resident in Lagos the Language chooses them whereas it should be the other way round. I think these kids are being forced to take the subject due to lack of options like I pointed out earlier and teaching capacity in their native dialects.

That’s understandable but I honestly think most Languages/dialects can be learned best on the street when non-native families realize the benefits of their wards and children doing so.

A couple of examples will suffice here:
Like many others, Nigeria's ex-international football star Segun Odegbami whose life is an open book was born and raised in Jos, Plateau State where he spent the first seventeen years of his life. At the end of the day, he was able to learn both Hausa and Igbo which according to him were stronger in terms of presence compared to the Yoruba in the community. Today he speaks the two fluently. The fact that he could speak Igbo is even more instructive because it is not a language of the native, unlike Hausa which has the advantage of proximity.

Similarly, popular sports journalist Murphy Ijemba was born and raised in Mushin, Lagos. Today he speaks the Yoruba Language fluently. Later in his life, he went for his university education at the Bayero University, Kano (BUK) and he ended up spending close to ten-twelve years up north. The good thing is he speaks Hausa fluently as well in addition to the Yoruba language he had picked while growing up in Lagos. So he and Segun like innumerable others are more complete Nigerians if you ask me than many of us who consciously or unconsciously allow such opportunity to pass us by for whatever reason.

A snapshot of Igbo cultural outlook

From the example of kids whose story provoked this article, I strongly suspect the problem is a total lack of socialization at home; and not what their Yoruba teachers didn’t do in the class. To even imagine that they’re in some school environments and classrooms, where the majority they confessed to me are Yoruba, makes it worse.

At the end of the day, I was only able to help her (the last born now) with those questions that come with options or requiring answers that are within my broad knowledge as a native speaker.

On a more serious note, I couldn’t help as I would have loved to consistent with my previous engagements with a particular question which requires that she sings/writes the words of a Yoruba song that has something to do with cleanliness. To me, there was no need trying even though a few lines from the song in question ticks somewhere in my brain. And she left obviously happy with my efforts as usual. How ironic?

Like I hinted earlier that I know what the problem was. From my observation in retrospect, I couldn’t recall when last the kids in question mingle with their peers in the house where they live. Even in their free time, they rarely do.

Of course, that is not where I stay but a few hours that I usually spend within that vicinity showed clearly that they’re always in-door after returning from school.

And come to think of it the house is the regular face-me and face you like Nigerians called them though their section of the property can be likened to a self-contain which many affluent preferred because it guaranteed some level of security and privacy which they cherished a lot. But in their case, they are forming affluence for all I care and as a result, using that as a smokescreen for deliberately preventing their children from mingling with their age grades at home especially.

And who can blame them though taken into cognizance problems associated with face-me and face-you residential properties in most cities in Nigeria?

Even at that, it’s still no convincing excuse for them and any other parents to remove or insulate their kids from socializing with their mates in the neighborhoods notwithstanding the associated negatives which are sometimes exaggerated that may come with it.

Every situation in life is accompanied by negatives as well as positives and that does not justify anybody engaging in existential or cultural exclusivity. The universe is closely connected and we can strike a balance in our lives if only we consciously and adequately balance the opposites.

The dangers of cultural exclusivity!
Cultural exclusivity for whatever reasons has it dangers which must be sounded out to all. Like I pointed out at the outset of this post, language is the vehicle of culture. As such, the first thing people missed out on is the right by the virtue of residing in cultures other than theirs to speak the language of the people among whom they live.

That’s quite tragic in all ramifications. It is more tragic when the younger generation is involved in this blatant downplaying of activities that are of value to us as human beings.

The truth of the matter is, it is impossible to learn the culture of others without first learning their language. Learning the language is indirectly learning the culture. And it is a win-win for all.

The Osun Osogbo priestesses from the South-west

The first thing people who practice cultural exclusivity lose is that their wards and children would not be able to speak the language of their host which has a way of adding colors and value to theirs. Learning the language of their host affords them the chance to compare and contrast thereby deepening their humanity. Above all, it further enhances national integration which is what a country like Nigeria needs at this critical moment.

I also think a time will come in the lives of these kids that they would feel bad they couldn’t speak the dialects of places they have lived all their lives because I know in their heart of heart they would very much love to but denied by their overly suspicious and protective parents.

I personally cannot just imagine a scenario where people live long enough in a culture other than theirs and they came off without being enriched by that culture in the linguistic sense of it. I cannot!

While the parents might feel they are too old to learn a new language, which is, in any case, fallacious; they should not in any way stand in the path of their children and wards that showed genuine intent to learn. Learning is faster at childhood for the reason of their highly impressionable mind. Cultural inclusiveness is what a country like Nigeria needs at this point and always and it can be achieved both at the unofficial level as much as at the official level.

I know for instance that if not for the policy of Lagos state government in this regard many families including the natives would keep their wards and children away from learning the Yoruba language. Of course, their preference is the English language because proficiency in it is seen as proof of modernity and sophistication.

While the policy is commendable, I will suggest that it should be looked into to find a better way of delivering the gain to those that are willing. The rest should be left to pick bits and pieces of the language from the street. My take finally is why children are assisted in becoming masters in the English language it should not be at the expense of our indigenous languages for they’re our identity and must not be allowed to go into extinction or underappreciated.


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