Thursday, November 16, 2017


***Success is more easily attainable than greatness. You may be a successful businessman, politician, or professional but greatness is not for everyone.  But I think I learnt the secret of greatness, you will only be great if you devote your life, and your efforts, to serving others.



I am honoured to have been invited to celebrate this special day with you. The 10th Convocation ceremony of the Lead City University.

In celebrating the past, we honour the selflessness and enterprising spirit of the founder and all those who not only dared to envision this great institution, but turned it to a dream, to this city of great edifices to nurture the great minds of the imminent future.

So today we must honour the founder of this place of creativity and learning, Prof. Jide Owoeye; a man whose life and times have proved that with  vision,  hard work, and the courage of your convictions, you can  achieve practically anything.

By establishing this University and before it, several other educational institutions, he has shown that securing the future of the following generations is the most important service that we owe the present.

As we do this, we also celebrate the great scholars, and the fine academics who make up the faculties here at the Lead City University. You are the thought leaders at a pivotal time in our national history, whose enormous task is to guide the present and inspire the future.  And as we celebrate also and perhaps most importantly, the reason why we are gathered, the graduating class of 2017, congratulations and many congratulations also to the parents, family, guardians, sponsors, and loved ones of the graduands.

I was 60 years old in March this year, and I must confess that it was one of the greatest surprises I ever experienced!  I just suddenly became 60. I can clearly remember when I graduated when I was 21 years old.   How time flies. One of the most important lessons you will learn is that time flies. Whether you are wasting it or using it well, it simply flies by.

There are a few other lessons I learnt along the way. And at the age of 60 I’m entitled to give some advice, and l will share some of them with you. Some you might agree with, others you may not, but I would be most flattered if you remember them and whenever you meet me in life’s journey, somewhere down the line, you will tell me whether I was right or wrong.

First I learnt is that talent, an excellent degree, even coming from a well-off family, does not mean success and certainly does not mean greatness. The most talented people, those who get the best degrees, and even from a well-known family, do not necessarily become the most successful in life.

The difference between success and failure, mediocrity or excellence, is character.  Along with character is the importance of opportunity, but perhaps most crucial, is the grace of God.

So what is character? And l will define it my own way; character is a set of values that shapes the conduct of an individual. It is the set of principles, spoken and unspoken, that a person observes and lives by.

I will speak about some aspects of character that I have learnt would make the crucial difference in life. These are, trustworthiness, courage, hard work especially (innovation) and self-discipline. Let us take trustworthiness, the currency of business, commerce and social interaction is trust. If you can be trusted, if people find you trustworthy, your class of degree or what your family name is will not matter. You will be successful.

As a young student at the London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London, in 1980 my school fees were delayed in a particular term. There were problems with the remitting from the Central Bank in Nigeria. So I spoke to the student’s counsellor in my faculty who asked me to go to the bank and ask for a loan. I asked how?  How do l go for a loan when I don’t have any money? I owe over 600 pounds and I probably have only 50 pounds in the bank, where would I get the collateral to take the loan?

Anyway, I got to the bank and l explained the problem to the lady across the counter that I needed to pay 600 pounds for my fees, and she simply asked the name, and l brought out my ledger, she looked at it and found out I had no money in there. She asked me when I thought I could repay, I said maybe 6weeks. She then gave me a document I signed and she gave me 600pounds.

I paid my fees and I paid back when my cheque came. But in the same United Kingdom, a few years after, if you carried a Nigerian passport, the banks would not even open an account for you. Why? Some Nigerians abused the trust that financial transactions require. They thought, how foolish these oyinbo people are, they used credit cards to buy cars, furniture, electronics and ran back to Nigeria and hampered the opportunity of others in getting a loan from the bank account.

And if you look at the past few years, many foreign banks have closed accounts of Nigerians because of the numerous attempts to defraud on those accounts. So no matter how much money you have in your account, they just say we don't want your business because it's just too much trouble to do business with people who cannot be trusted. So because of the untrustworthiness of a few, a whole nation is painted black. But there is an opportunity here, because so many Nigerians and foreigners must do business in Nigeria.

The world is in search of the Nigerian of integrity, the trustworthy Nigerian to do business with, to employ. Everyone wants faithful partners or employees. Even thieves are in search of trustworthy people to keep their money with.

The other lesson is that you must repay when you borrow, whether it is from a friend, relation or a bank. Credit is the lifeblood of business, the life blood of commerce. You are dead if your credit sources dry up. And let me just go on quickly, l think it is important for us to just look at one or two other issues along the lines of character and hard work.  But just before l go into that, let me recall a story, a story of a friend of mine, while a we are talking about  trustworthiness.

I have a friend, Remi Morgan; he owns perhaps the largest Christian bookstore in Nigeria. Possibly the largest bookstore in Nigeria.  When he wanted to start his business of importing bibles and Christian books from the US, no publisher in the US wanted to give him credit. Why? Many Nigerians who they had done business with in the past had taken credit and simply disappeared. So he had to pay cash for everything.

Now if you want to have a profitable business, you must have credit line. But if you don't have credit, you can't do profitable business. But gradually, he began to build trust, as time went on he began to show that he could be trustworthy. They gave him credit for 30 days, then 60, then 120, and he made sure he paid back, so everybody wanted to do business with him.

Suddenly every Christian and business book publisher around the world want to do business with this honest Nigerian. So later on, his bookstore company possibly became the largest bookshop in Nigeria because he showed that he could be trusted.

The moment you show that you can be trusted, everything changes. Simple as it may sound, hard work and diligence is one of those character attributes that will set you apart. And let me dwell on this point; from here on, it really doesn't matter what you are hired as at your first job, whether you are hired as lowly as a receptionist, or as a personal assistant, no matter how lowly it may be, what is important  is how much hard work and diligence you put to it.  This is what will recommend you in the future, and l want you to remember that  it doesn’t really matter how that job is, it does not matter whether it’s an important  job or not, but what will recommend  you is hard work  and diligence.

While I was teaching at the University of Lagos, as a young lecturer, in the department of Public Law in the Faculty of Law, there were 3 typists in the department. The chief typist, senior typist, and the junior typist. Because in those days before laptops and personal computers, typists in universities had to do a lot of work and they were very important because you always needed to type all your materials.

When there was work to do, what l discovered was that the chief typist would disappear. He works only till 4 pm. The senior typist would be nowhere to be found. But a gentleman called Adereni the junior typist, who only had his school certificate, was remarkably hardworking. Sometimes I would drop him off at his home at 1am.

Years after I was working as an adviser to the then Attorney-General of the Federation Hon. Bola Ajibola, who later became a judge of the World Court. While in the court at The Hague, in the Netherlands, one day he called me and asked if I could recommend a good secretary who is hard working and  could do long  judgments. I had three options, chief typist, senior or this junior typist, but the junior typist at a time had only school certificate, he didn’t have any other qualification but l choose him. He got to the Hague, and typically worked hard and diligently. Every judge in the court wanted him to work with them. He later moved his family over to the Hague and got degrees and made a good living for himself. One day he remembered me and actually sent me a car.

I just want to say that it was so apparent that all that this man had to proof, despite the fact that he had no qualifications at all, all he had to proof was diligence and hard work.

Solomon in the bible, the wisest man on earth, said these very wise words; the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to men of understanding, nor favour to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all. The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to men of understanding, nor favor to men of skill, but time and chance happen to them all.

Time and chance is another way of saying opportunity is crucial to success. And I’m sure many of us are familiar with that saying, opportunity knocks once as they say. But I think it's probably more true to say that sometimes opportunity whispers.  Besides, as Ravenhill an intellectual said, “the opportunity of a lifetime must be seized within the lifetime of the opportunity.” In order words, opportunity itself has a lifespan and you must seize it within that lifespan.

But to seize opportunity, you must be prepared. Most people have great hopes and dreams. But they are hardly ready for the opportunity when it comes.

Let me tell you another story. A lady worked with me many years ago. One of her greatest ambitions was to do a Master’s degree in law in the US. She prayed hard about it. And everyone in the department knew of her desire. One day out of the blues, we got an offer from a US foundation through the embassy to nominate a candidate preferably female, to do a Master’s degree and fellowship in a US University.

Wow the rejoicing that day. We were all so excited. We had only two days to the deadline. We had to submit her passport that afternoon. Then the bombshell, she didn't have a passport! We desperately tried the next day to obtain a passport but it didn't work. To cut a long story short. She lost the opportunity. She had everything else but missed her moment.

So there are some here who will say I want to work in an international organization, may be the United Nations, and you know that to stand a good chance, you need a second language apart from English. So if you haven't started yet, now is the time to learn French, Spanish, or even Chinese. So you won't be like the young man who was asked if he spoke a second language and he said yes, English and Itsekiri.

I think that aside from hard work, innovation will be very important. Here in Nigeria, many young people are using technology to disrupt existing assumptions and create new opportunities, new markets for themselves.  Nollywood film industry, Jason Njoku is not an actor or movie producer, but he has used technology to create a new line of business in the Nollywood film industry. He is the proprietor of the Iroko brand TV; he made the Iroko brand the largest mainstream licensors and distributors of over 5,000 Nollywood films and African Music. Iroko has attracted $20 million in equity.  So is the story of Jobberman, which was listed in the Forbes Magazine Top 10 Tech start-ups in Africa.

Jobberman's story is a fascinating one.  In 2009, Olalekan Elude, Ayodeji Adewunmi and Opeyemi Awoyemi at that time, students of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife, started a site called Jobberman in their hostel to help connect people looking for work with companies looking to hire. Now Jobberman is one of the top 100 websites in Nigeria, and it gets 5,000 applications every day.

Just last May, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook mentioned them as one of the major technology innovators in Nigeria. They have grown the company into a multimillion-dollar company.  The young founders have now divested their interests in the company and are investing in other young Nigerian start-ups themselves. Jobberman follows the same principle as the others, they simply linked supply and demand.

There is a Venture Garden Group, a group of young people, another story of creating new markets and opportunities within existing markets. Venture Garden is a data driven Automation Company founded by three young Nigerians average age of 28, the company focuses on big data, automation and revenue assurance
systems and has taken innovation to new levels.

For example, one of the subsidiaries, PowerTech, provides automation for the National power grid which now allows real-time monitoring of energy flow from generation to distribution and payment to all parties, to promote transparency and sustainability of the electricity market.

Social Media is possibly the internet's most outstanding phenomenon. It has created its own economy, and the only limits of opportunity are those of your imagination. For example, see how many young people have taken advantage of it to innovatively redefine the press, journalism and communication.

Today bloggers such as BellaNaija, Linda Ikeji, and news aggregators, like Nairaland command larger readership than regular print newspapers. Linda Ikeji alone has more people reading her blog than any Nigerian newspaper.  Nairaland, founded in 2003 by 20 year old Seun Osewa, claims about 1.6 million subscribers, several times more readers than the combined number of readers of all Nigerian papers put together.

Nairaland creates no content of its own. To start off, it cost Seun Osewa less than N10,000 a month and Internet  access, to build this multi-million Naira business and it’s so incredible when you hear about  these young people. I remember a young friend of mine too, who at some point used to sell videos and gift items after we left university. This young man became an entrepreneur who owned the biggest marketing company in our country today. The young man is seated here today, his name is Bolade Osibodu

Finally, I have learnt that success is more easily attainable than greatness. You may be a successful businessman, politician, or professional but greatness is not for everyone.  But I think I learnt the secret of greatness, you will only be great if you devote your life, and your efforts, to serving others.

The path to greatness is self-sacrifice for the good of others. Mandela is great because he gave his youth and his professional practice as a lawyer, in the struggle against apartheid and a South Africa that would treat all citizens as equals.

Martin Luther King is imprinted in history because gave up everything for the dream of a nation where none would be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character. But most importantly, he taught the world like Ghandi did, that you can overcome evil with good, Mother Theresa the catholic nun, became great because of the many years she spent in leprosy settlements in Calcutta taking care of lepers, the forgotten and untouchable.

Let me end by telling the last lesson I have learnt, it is that courage and determination is the answer to the tyranny of history. A history of personal failure can cripple your hope, limit your scope and frighten you into a small vision.

Our family history, the misery and deprivations of our beginnings, the shame and disgrace of the past, sometimes the spectacular failures of the past are the tyrannical weapons of history. They whip us in line when we are thinking big, cutting us down to size as our self-esteem rises. Our past, yelling unworthy, unworthy, unworthy, at us as we struggle to do right, live right, and act with dignity.

But history we must remember, is not only a record of the past, it is the past, it is gone! Our future is not determined by history or the past unless we allow it. Your history is not your destiny. You have a chance to make your destiny.

I pray for you that the Almighty God will help you, the grace of God will support you, that the coming years will be easy and exciting and that your journey will be smooth.

Thank you.

Released by
Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity
Office of the Vice President
10 November, 2017

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Imo, Ogun, Kano Top List Of Buhari’s Appointees As Presidency Releases Detailed List

South West Nigeria took the lion share of the appointments made so far by President Muhammadu Buhari since he took office on May 29, 2015.

And for the South West, Ogun State, from where the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, hails, is at the top of the list.

According to a list of 159 appointments provided by the Presidency on Saturday, South West Nigeria took 38, followed by the North West, Buhari’s region, which took 30.

The North East and South East took 23 slots each, while North Central took 21 and South South 22.

The figures and names were provided in response to allegations that President Buhari had favoured the Northern part of the country in the appointments announced so far.
The publication proved the contrary.

Rather the South of Nigeria accounted for 83 of the posts, while the North took 74.
The article was published by Business Day, which alleged that “81 of Buhari’s 100 appointees are Northerners”.
The list from the Presidency was released by the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, in Abuja on Saturday.
The list:
1 Tukur Buratai Chief of Army Staff North East
2 Babagana Monguno National Security Adviser North East
3 Abubakar Lawal Aide de Camp North West
4 Femi Adesina Special Adviser Media and Publicity South West
5 Garba Shehu SSA. Media and Publicity North West Wrongly identified as SA
6 Sunday Dare EC, NCC South West Not included with board members
7 Lawal Kazaure State Chief of Protocol North West
8 Ahmed Idris Accountant General North West
9 Antony Ayine Auditor General South South
10 Abayomi Olonishakin Chief of Defence Staff South West
11 Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas Chief of Naval Staff South South
12 Sadique Abubakar Chief of Air Staff North East
13 Monday Morgan Chief Defence Intel North Central
14 Lawal Daura DG, State Security Services North West
15 Mahmood Yakubu INEC Chairman North East
16 Hadiza Bala Usman MD, NPA North West
17 Paul Boroh SA, Niger Delta Amnesty South South
18 Dakuku Peterside DG, NIMASA South South
19 Sen Olabiyi Durojaiye Chairman NCC South West
20 Umaru Dambatta Chief Executive, NCC North West
21 Babatunde Fowler Chairman, FIRS South West
22 Maikanti Baru GMD, NNPC North East
23 Boss Mustapha SGF North East
24 Abba Kyari Chief of Staff North East
25 Ade Ipaye Deputy Chief of Staff South West Not included with board members
26 Hameed Ali CG, Nigerian Customs North West
27 Mohammed Babandede CG, Nigerian Immigration North Central
28 Ita Enang SSA, National Assembly South South
29 Suleiman Kawu SSA, National Assembly North West
30 Babafemi Ojodu SA Political South West Not included with team members
31 Adeyemi Dipeolu SA Economy South West Not included with board members
32 Ahmed Lawan Kuru MD, AMCON North East
33 Mohammed Kari Insurance Commission North East
34 Ibrahim Magu Acting Chairman EFCC North East
35 Abike Dabiri SSA, Diaspora South West
36 Abdullahi Muhammadu CG. NSCDS North Central
37 Winifred Oyo-Ita Head of Service South South
38 Aishah Ahmad Deputy Gov. CBN North Central
39 Mary Ekpere DG, NCWD South South
40 Funso Doherty DG, PENCOM South West
41 Dikko AbdulRahman Chairman, BOI North East
42 Olukayode Pitan MD, BOI South West Not included with board members
43 Mr Adebayo Somefun MD, NSITF South West
44 Kemi Nelson ED, NSITF South West
45 Lady Azinge, Azuka Obiageli Ag. Registrar General, CAC South East
46 Ahmed Dangiwa MD, Federal M.Bank North West
47 Melville Ebo ED, Federal M.Bank South East
48 Dankane Abdullahi ED, Federal M.Bank North West
49 Alex Okoh DG, BPE South South
50 Ibrahim Goni CG, National Park North Central
51 Nasiru Ladan DG, NDE North Central
52 Saliu Alabi DG, MINILS North Central
53 Jeffery Barminas DG, RICT North East
54 Folarin Gbadebo Smith DG, NISER South West Wrongly Identified as Haruna Yerima
55 Mohammed Tukur Secretary FCC North East
56 Shettima Abba Chairman FCC North East
57 Tunde Irukera ES, CPC North Central Wrongly identified as CPP
58 Umar Gambo Jibrin ES, FCDA North East
59 Roli Bode George CEO, NDLEA North East Wrongly identified as Muhammad Abdullah
60 Garba Abari DG, NOA North East
61 Sule Kazaure DG, NYSC North West
62 Jelani Aliyu` DG, NADDC North West
63 Bayo Onanuga MD, NAN South West
64 Ibrahim Idris IG North Central
65 Ghaji Bello DG, NPC North East
66 Saleh Dunoma MD FAAN North East
67 USA Sadiq Dir Security, FAAN North West
68 Rabiu Yadudu Dir Operations, FAAN North West
69 Salisu Daura Dir Maintenance, FAAN North West
70 Nike Aboderin Dir Finance & Accounts FAAN South West Not included with board members
71 Norris Anozie Dir HR FAAN South East Not included with board members
72 Clifford Omozeghian Company Secretary, Legal Adviser FAAN South South Not included with board members
73 Rahimatu Aminu Aliyu ED, Federal Mortgage Bank North West
74 Melville Ebo ED, Federal Mortgage Bank South East Not included with board members
75 Julie Okah – Donli DG, NAPTIP South South
76 Bello Rabiu COO NNPC North West Not included with board members
77 Henry Ikem Obih COO NNPC South East
78 Bello Gusau ES PTDF North Central
79 Isiaka Abdulrazak CFO NNPNorth Central
80 Isa Inuwa COO NNPC North West
81 Saidu Muhammad COO NNPC North West
82 Babatunde Adeniran COO NNPC South West
83 Anibor Kragha COO NNPC South South Not included with board members
84 Chidi Momah Secretary NNPC South East
85 Modecai Baba Ladan Dir DPR North Central duplicated
86 Eberechukwu Uneze ED, AMCON South East
87 Aminu Ismail ED, AMCON North West
88 Kola Ayeye ED, AMCON South West Not included with board member
89 Ishaq Oloyode Registrar, JAMB South West
90 Chidi Izuwah DG, ICRC South East
91 Bolaji Owasanoye ICPC South West
92 Lenrie Aina National Librarian South West
93 Charles Uwakwe NECO South East
94 Umaru Maza Maza Chair, REA North West
95 Damilola Ogunbiyi MD REA South West
96 Sanusi Ohiare ED, REA North Central
97 Yewande Odia ED, REA South West Not included with board members
98 Fola Akinkuotu MD, NAMA South West
99 Sani Abubakar Mashi DG, NiMet North West
100 Abdusalam Mohammed Rector, NCAT North Central
101 Akinola Olateru Commissioner, AIB South West
102 Abubakar Rasheed ES, NUC North West
103 Abdulkadir Umar ES, PPPRA North West
104 Elias Nwalem RMAFC South East
105 Marilyn Amobi NBET South East
106 Faisal Shuaib ES, NPHCDA North Central
107 Umaru Ibrahim NDIC North West Reconfirmed by Buhari Administration
108 Uja Tor Uja NCPC North Central
109 Isa Pantami DG, NITDA North East
110 Patience Oniha DG, DMO South South
111 Nnenna Akajemeli CEO, SERVICOM South East
112 Folasade Joseph MD, NAIC North Central
113 Cecilia Gaya DG, ASCON North East
114 Luci Ajayi ES, LITFMB South South
115 Lanre Gbajabiamila NLRC South West
116 Usman Abubakar NRC North West
117 Chiedu Ugbo MD, NDPHC South South Not included
119 Osita Okechukwu DG, VON South East Not included
120 Eze Duru Ihioma Chair, NPC South East
121 Bisi Adegbuyi Postmaster General, NIPOST South West Not included
122 Yewande Sadiku DG, NIPC South West Not included
123 Princess Gloria Akobundu CEO, NEPAD South South Not included
124 Olagunsoye Oyinlola Chairman, NIMC South West Not included
125 Umana Okon Umana Oil & Gas Free Zone South South Not included
126 Sharon Ikeazor DG, PTAD South East Not included
127 Ben Akabueze DG, Budget Office South East Wrongly identified as Aliyu Gusau
128 Yemi Kale DG,NBS South West Reconfirmed by Buhari Administratiom
129 Folorunsho Coker DG,NTDC South West Not included
130 Waziri Adio ES, NEITI South West Not included
131 Alh Adebayo Thomas DG Film and Censor’s Board South West Not included
132 Maryam Uwais SA Social Investment North Central Not included with board members
133 Jumoke Oduwole SSA Trade and Investment South West Not included with board member
134 Emeka Nwapa CHAIRMAN, CPC South East Not included with board members
135 Ife Oyedele ED, NDPHC South West Not included
136 Alhaji Ali Usman Chairman, PENCOM North West Not included
137 Manase Benga EC, PENCOM North Central Not included
138 Zaki Magawata EC, PENCOM North East Not included
139 Ben Oviosun EC, PENCOM South South Not included
140 Nyerere Ayim EC, PENCOM South East Not included
141 Sanusi Garba NERC COMMISSIONER North West Not included
142 Dafe C. Akpeneye NERC COMMISSIONER South South Not included
143 Nathan Rogers Shatti NERC COMMISSIONER North East Not included
144 Dr Moses Arigu NERC COMMISSIONER North Central Not included
145 Musiliu Olalekan Oseni, NERC COMMISSIONER South West Not included
146 Professor Frank N. Okafor NERC COMMISSIONER South East Not included
147 Ituah Ighodalo National Council of Privatisation South South Not included
148 O. Olaoye National Council of Privatisation South West Not included
149 Yinka Amosun FRCN (Lagos) South West Not included
150 Femi Odumosu Ogun Osun RBDA South West Not included
152 Jide Zeitlin Chair, NSIA South West Not included
153 Uche Orji CEO/MD, NSIA South East Not included
154 Stella Ojekwe-Onyejeli ED, NSIA South East Not included
155 Urum Kalu Eke NSIA South East Not included
156 Lois Laraba Machunga-Disu NSIA North Central Not included
157 Asue Ighodalo NSIA South South Not included
158 Halima Buba NSIA North East Not included
159 Bello Machido NSIA North West Not included.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

The People Spoke... The Government Listened

I let people know all the time that no government can succeed without the support of the people. In the face of silence, tyrannical government can do and undo.

When the issue of toll gates price hike hit us like a bolt, we chose to immediately cry out against it. Folks took to social media to react in opposition in a civil way. I pinned my reaction to my tweetee page.

How could any government or company give only few days notice to draw more out of the resources of citizens who still cry wolf at how the toll tariff was dropped on us.

The immediate reaction of the government (See below) shows that when we have a unnanimous voice, we can help to advocate, promote and create change! That's APC #CHANGE

Thank you all for playing your role as active participants in governance.


Dr. Omolola Omoteso
Advocate for Good Governance

Lagos State directs LCC to halt toll-gate tariff hike

The attention of Lagos State Government has been drawn to the announcement of a proposed tariff hike on Lekki-Epe Expressway and Lekki-Ikoyi link bridge by the Lekki Concession Company (LCC).

The Lagos State government hereby informs the general public that the said tariff hike has now been put on hold as the necessary consultations with stakeholders are yet to be concluded.
While government recognises the need for periodic review of tariffs and any other levies appertaining to road infrastructure maintenance in the state, the public and critical stakeholders as the ultimate beneficiaries of such facilities must always be carried along at all times.
Therefore, the proposed tarrif hike cannot be effected at this period in the interest of the public, while further consultations continue.

Steve Ayorinde
Commissioner for Information & Strategy
Lagos State

Monday, October 23, 2017

The Science Behind the Teddy Bear: Why Every Child Should Have One

A stuffed bear; the fluff, the fur, the sweet face, the sentimental value that accompanies finding the perfect one for your baby.  It all adds up to something so many parents brush off as unimportant, but in reality, it is so much more than ‘just another baby purchase.’
There is science behind the connection a child has with her teddy bear.
Separation of mother and baby is almost unavoidable in our current society.  Mothers are not granted adequate paid maternity leave, and most return to work well before they would like.  Even those who are able to stay home, they also face a point of separating from their baby; be it daycare, preschool, or just a babysitter.  These moments of separation are known as transitions; and science has proven that children who have a transitional object, such as a teddy bear or other soft item with a face, handle these moments easier than those without one.
The transitional object is meant to remind a baby of her mother. Throughout infancy, a mother holds and cares for her child, feeds and rocks her baby, as her child is holding this teddy bear or soft item. The baby will cuddle it, and begin to associate it with her mother. The bear will become a part of the relationship between the mother and child. It will become the comfort needed when the mother is not present. 
As sad as it is to read, it makes sense:  Researchers found that children treasured their transitional objects as much as they treasured their mothers.  When you get over the shock of that statement, you can understand that a child needs security; she needs to feel safe.  When a parent is constantly coming and going, it is quite possible for that child to cling to their teddy bear for consistency.  This does not mean that a child does not feel a mother’s love.  It does mean, though, that an infant or toddler needs something that is ‘hers’ when he is away from her mother.
It may be easier to think of the perfect teddy bear as a magician.  This magical stuffed animal can ease stress, build confidence, soothe tears, and aid in social development.  It helps the child handle fear, anxiety, separation, and the unknown.  A teddy bear actually helps a child build self-confidence.
From infancy, the stuffed toy becomes a part of the baby’s life.  It collects the smells of mom, dad, siblings, pets, etc.  The soft fur has been proven to be a therapeutic tool in which, when rubbed by the baby can bring immediate comfort, calming and soothing her.  Infants and toddlers all seek ways to fill their sensory needs.  Parents also search for any way to aid their child in finding self-soothing ways.  A transitional object can be the bridge that both child and parent are looking for.
Again, the right stuffed animal for a child is not meant to replace the parent, and it would never do such a thing.  According to science though, a child can get as much satisfaction from holding, rubbing, and getting comfort from her ‘lovey’ when he or she is away from his or her parent than he or she gets when he or she is feeling comforted and safe with his or her parent present. 
Not only are teddy bears the perfect transitional object for a child, but they have also been shown to evoke social development.  Nearing the six-month mark, babies begin conversing with those around them.  This is when the brain begins picking up conversational cues of talking with other beings and not just making sounds.  It is quite common for a baby to ‘chat’ with her toys.  This is why having a transitional object with an appealing and happy face is important.  The attachment the child has with her bear will be one of security and friendship.  While the bear cannot talk back to the baby, it does make eye contact and offer a ‘listening ear!’ All joking aside, it is a huge milestone for a baby to begin conversing with her toys.
There is a reason that many trauma centers, psychologists, and social workers utilize teddy bears when working with young trauma victims, including sexually abused children.  The comfort that comes with loving a stuffed bear can promote a safe environment in which a scared, lost, or hurt child will open up and feel safe again.  These children need the constant comfort of having their own bear, and may keep it for a longer period of time than most.
Allowing a child this connection with a teddy bear will benefit the child and the parents. Our society likes to judge parents for every decision made, but doing what is right for a child is up to no one expect the child’ parents. It is not an embarrassing decision to grant a child permission to carry a ‘lovey’ with her to a daycare or school, a grandparent’s house or to a friend’s; instead, it is the opposite.  This conscious choice will help the child transition into childhood, and later adulthood, easier and with confidence.

By Elizabeth McDonald


We received below and thought to share as it soeaks to the Nigerian situation. Readers - hailing hailers and wailing wailers alike, are free to draw inference. We do not know whose hands penned the introduction to the article by Sam Omatseye.

The Nation Newspapers is wailing! What are the hailers going to do about it??? Would they fight their own, The Lion of The Lagoon, or simply keep quiet!?? Would Buhari seal up The Nation Newspapers' office!?? The homebound journey of the APC into a certain, surer and imminent internal combustion is most Interesting.

This piece in The Nation Newspapers as written by Sam Omatseye, Chairman Editorial Board and a close ally of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu's, encapsulates, the very end of the unholy matrimony between the Tinubu camp and the Buhari hegemony...

If we remember, Sam Omatseye was the chief, arrowhead and pointsman of the media heist that brought the same Buhari to power... For this piece to be written in this very firm, unmistakably derogatory and belittling way, the honeymoon is not only over, but a certain and evident antagonism has commenced.

Please Read...

By Sam Omatseye

The president has always seen silence as a mark of dignity in a time of crisis. When he opens his mouth eventually, he spews out venom that neither gives him nor the office he occupies any form of dignity.

Tall, gaunt, lean of face with a straight stare and loping strides, his smile comes across more like a lickspittle than a royal. Yet, behind that simpering exterior is a granite heart. 

However, little cunning or high thinking dresses up his hearty resolves. So, in the final analysis, what we have is not the Buhari of nobility but a pretension to the high moral act. Sometimes that fa├žade confronts us in the form of silence.

Occasionally he does speak. When he breaks his silence, he ruptures not only peace but logic. As I have noted in the past, Buhari’s soul is a battle between the martial impulses of his breeding and the entitlement of his ambience as a Fulani hierarch. And then there is a third. He has managed, since his ouster from power as head of state, to cultivate the talakawa. So, he sees himself as a sort of royal with a common touch. He is simultaneously on top and at the bottom, a prince and pauper, a head and herdsman, at once erupting from the floor and swooping down from heaven.

How does such a man operate in a democracy? Well, unless democracy tames him, he will see it as his right to tame democracy. That is the war going on with the man we elected president. His silence on the N9 trillion scandal only portrays his contempt for institutions and persons who want to tame him like colt to the discipline and humility of popular persuasion. If democracy is about the triumph of popular persuasion over collective will, Buhari is bending to the side of the will. As French philosopher Jean Jacque Rousseau has argued, collective will often cloaks despotic arrogance. Robespierre and Danton, even Napoleon, were culprits.

As a soldier Buhari works with diktat. As a royal, he sees the world from the hill top. As a talakawa patron, he gives them love in his own light. In return, they give him worship. Democracy therefore will work for him the way he operates with the talakawa. He expects us to bow down to him. He is the king of our democracy. He abides the contradiction. 

Men like Churchill or General Dwight Eisenhower had high-born sensibilities, but they were cowed by the institutions of democracy. Buhari acts otherwise. The thing is that Buhari is not high-born, he has acquired the streak by age and his rise in the military and social graces of the land. When you expect to give, it means you define the love in your own image. The targets of your love only do one thing: worship you.

What we have is the making of the Aristotelian tragic flaw. Like Sophocles’ Oedipus and Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Buhari’s flaw is hubris. That explains why his speeches and comments in times of crisis tend to be condescending.

We witnessed it early in his tenure when he would not set up a cabinet. Or when his wife rattled him, or when he reacted to the scandal around his army chief, or when recently he fouled the air when he returned from his medical leave and came down in primitive anger against the Southeast. 

There are some storms he has never found worthy of his tongue. Chief among them is the poisonous lop-sidedness of his appointments. He is still mum on Babachir Lawal and Ayo Oke, and even the rumbles among his principal officers in the presidency. Some jump out of the shadows. Like his request to a World Bank chief that the institution should focus work on the north.

This perhaps explains why he has been frozen from the neck up in spite of the uproar over his NNPC appointments. So, following from that, why would we expect him to say something about the new tempest on Nigeria’s oil. All he did was retreat to is familiar terrain on the N9 trillion ambush of our national treasure.

Now, he may see his silence has golden, as a way of standing above the rolling waters, of asserting his rectitude. But that could be so if he has come out with a line of wisdom through his lieutenants. His lieutenants have actually been quiet, too. It was all left in the hands of the culprit-in-chief to hand over the boil to his appointee, Maikanti Baru.

If his explanations had found traction in reason, we could have pardoned the president. We could say, well, it was all a case of mistaking a mouse for an elephant. But the big elephant in the room has remained one man: Muhammadu Buhari.

He acts as though it is mere matter. It will pass over, his image as a man of purity will shield him, so he does not have to be above board.

After all, some of his followers have been treating him as a god. They swear by him, they risk cholera by drinking water on dirt roads, they worship head on the ground as though on prayer ground. So how can he submit to mere mortals to explain.

He does not need to explain when Baru says he sought permission from him (Buhari) to make such a consequential decision. He does not need to react when he bypasses the man he appointed to the position as board chairman of the NNPC. He does not see it fit that he set up a board that the NNPC Act invests with powers and a mere mortal he puts there as GMD subverts their authority and boasts about it in Buhari’s name. Does he not know that as president, the only person to whom he can hand over authority is a minister or vice president?

The constitution says so. Or does he read the constitution? If he cannot delegate to himself since he is oil minister, he automatically hands over to his minister of state. By bypassing that, he has violated due process. And he does not want to talk about it? 

By the way, is it damning to note that these contracts were purportedly signed when he was on medical leave? He himself had said his men brought him files to sign in London. If he did not sign Baru’s, did he give him a nod. If he did, he violated the oath of office, and is that not enough for him to resign, or for impeachment proceedings to begin?

Does he not know that matters like this should involve the BPP? Did he not hear the voice of Oby Ezekwesili on that? Did he not hear his GMD draw false equivalences by saying that Kachikwu did the same thing, therefore there was nothing wrong? Is that the way to fight corruption?

If a man like Baru can play fast and loose with our endowment as a people, where do we place those who are faithful like Dakuku Peterside in NIMASA and Professor Ishaq Oloyede at JAMB. The president was quick to order the probe of the predecessors and rightly so. But he is easy on the humongous erring of his “man” Baru. They say it is not cash contract, and so not contract “as such.” Abi dem think say we be mumu?

As far as this column is concerned, unless Buhari reviews and annuls the contracts, his war on corruption is melodious lie, an exercise in hypocritical grandstanding. He is therefore hiding in silence. The silence is roaring, and our ears are full with its every decibel.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Cardinal Okogie’s Scolding of Pentecostal Churches

The unbraiding of Pentecostal Churches by the Archbishop Emeritus of the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, Cardinal Anthony Okogie, during an interview last week, was thought-provoking. Top of his conclusion was that there was no godliness in the decision by some churches in the country to have as many branches as possible. Apparently referring to multiplicity of branches of Pentecostal churches, the patriarch of the Lagos Catholics described such branches as “mere business centres”.

He declared: “The mushrooming of churches has not elicited commensurate level of godliness across the land. In order to bring us together and to get sanity back into this country, the fear of God must be number one. For example, I heard that one of my colleagues, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, said that he would love to build churches everywhere so as to make it easy for worshipers to walk to them. But for me, that is a useless statement. How can you say you will build churches everywhere? What kind of churches are you talking about? Those who are pastors are traders and a good number of them are businessmen. Such churches in most cases are more like business houses.”

Okogie simply hit the nail on the head. Pentecostal churches hardly aim to build affordable health centres or schools on every street in Nigeria. They hardly aim to build or equip public hospitals/schools or provide water for all on every street.  The majority of their members can’t afford the few schools built. They just aim to have branches on every street and make money to sustain the posh lifestyle of their founders. This is neo-slavery. Most of the churches are set up to milk their gullible followers with wild imaginary miracles. Charismatic and smooth-talking Pentecostal preachers are worshipped by mesmerised followers who cringe under them. These power-dressing pastors simply want money from their followers to sustain their posh lifestyle.

Just look around you and you will see Pentecostal pastors flying around in private jets and driving around in limousines, while the majority of their followers wallow in abject poverty. They drive the best cars and live in the best houses. These entranced members contribute money to buy posh aircraft and cars for them. I can’t forget the presentation of 2014 Rolls Royce Phantom to the General Overseer of Christ Royal Family International Church, Lagos, Bishop Tom Samson, in March 2016 during his 50th birthday celebration. Samson had set tongues wagging back in 2014 when he got a N80 million stretch hummer limousine from an undisclosed church member. So many Nigerians have fallen for Pentecostal scam. Come to think of it, if they are really doing the will of God, this country would not be in this mess.

Something is clearly wrong somewhere. Despite the multiplicity of churches, there is still so much corruption, hunger, disease, poverty, unemployment, wickedness, witchcraft and frightening man’s inhumanity to man in this country. Notwithstanding the array of churches and mosques, this country is dominated by morally-bankrupt people. Nigerians spend too much of their time praying and running to churches and mosques, instead of working and being their brother’s keeper. This is why we have remained a third-world country.

Countries dominated by religious zealots hardly develop. In my dear Nigeria, churches buy premises of failed factories and convert them to churches. Can these churches create jobs and pay taxes? We can’t continue like this. We should be talking about building cottage industries, schools and health centres on every street, instead of churches and mosques. Things have just got to change.

This was copied from "MY FRIENDS" forum posted by Engr. John Okupa, 14.10.'17.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

It's a GIRL!

With confidence, my birth was announced, not so for many girls in Asia or Africa. In your corner of the world, the phrase, “Wetin your neighbour born?” (meaning, kini ara ile e bi? in Yoruba) and the implication may be lost on you, but not so for thousands of women who hang their heads and shy away from looking at the child after birthing their kind.

Many have had to welcome another bride for failure to “produce” a son, many kept “producing unlimited” until they had a son. For others, even where the man celebrates and is satisfied with the birth of girls, other women harass the woman to continue the “production”.

For some, this has led to divorce especially where the family resource is stretched as a result. Sadly, some are compelled to sign up for abortion and in a worst case scenario, abortion is suggested and induced without the knowledge of the woman once scan reveals feminine features. When many hear female infanticide, fingers point to India but read your history books and you’d see that it spans across ages and continents. For most, it was a way of controlling population, for others, it was a special sacrifice to a mute god!

The days of flogging girls for playing boys’ game (football), dreaming to be engineers or daring to campaign for political posts may have eroded but don’t you still hear statements like, “Girls are not good in mathematics!” “Boy’s don’t cry!” “How come a girl came first in your class?” “All your education will end in the kitchen!” Perhaps, you have also seen an all-female choir with boys as lead singers or drummers! Girls are still being subjected to gender-based abuse – sexual exploitation, child-marriage, genital mutilation, forced organ harvesting. That tells you we are still far from done in the task of emancipating the girl child!

Today, I join others to commemorate the International Day of the Girl Child which was instituted in 2012 by the United Nations, as I shout out loud the theme for 2017: "Empower Girls: Before, during and after crisis" and draw inspiration from the 2015 theme: “The Power of the Adolescent Girl: Vision for 2030”.

According to the UN Women's statement, "Across the world, empowered girls are raising their voices to fight for their rights and protection in all contexts. They are working to end violence against women and girls, to recognise indigenous rights, and to build peaceful and cohesive communities." Unfortunately, not all girls have ben nurtured to know their rights let alone equipped with skills to ask for these rights. 

Many countries in Africa used 2015's theme, not 2017's theme, this tells a story of the fact that girls world over are not on the same page and we cannot force them to be. Pushing the girls in Africa to the borderless freedom experienced by girls in the West, may be rebuffed for many reasons including the negative effects. Yet we can all agree on one thing. Girls can be empowered and respected.

Before we can empower girls or move positively and progressively towards 2030, the girl child must survive today. The genuine smile and laughter of the girl child must be kept alive and far away from brutality, abuse, rape, prostitution, trafficking, early marriage, genital mutilation and all forms of discrimination against her person. The rights of the girl child, like the rights of the boy child, are human rights and must be protected. The girl gild must then be equipped with skills to know her rights and ask for them within the context of the culture she is located. Older women especially must be drawn into this as allies so the voices of girls would not be muffled.

Over and beyond all the hypes, I implore women (and men) to accept the birth of girls as a priceless gift from God. I encourage you to train girls, not as boys but as girls; open them up to opportunities beyond the restrictive walls of the classroom; encourage them to innovate and boldly light up a torch to help them see that they are capable of holding up their own. Let their confidence receive a boost by the fact that, even in the myopic branding of our space as “man’s world”, their positioning as nurturers keeps men living, learning and labouring.

If your girl is a baby, find time to nurture her; let her know that humans care, not cage. If your girl is a child, find time to talk to her; let her learn from you that humans talk, not bark. If your girl is a teen, find time to take her out and share experience, let her learn that she is to be loved, not abused. If your girl is a woman, find time to encourage and appreciate her, let her know that she is valued far above rubies!!!

If any girl in your area of influence has been caged, terrorised, abused, devalued, violated… Please give her hope by caring, speaking, sharing and loving. When you treat girls right, the boys will take a cue from you. Building a better world starts with you and me.
A house-help was beaten and battered. When I saw her, the physical pain was long gone but the scars were visible just like the emotional scare and scars the brutality inflicted on this human that is someday expected to nurture others. How could she ever give what she never got?

After two visits to a girls’ remand home in Lagos, some of the inmates wormed up to me. No, they were not supposed to share but obviously they needed hearing ears. I listened and fought back the tears as one narrated how her mother fed her faeces! It was her race away from home in search of survival that landed her in the home with other girls – few criminals, many criminalised. Another narrated how an unrelated uncle turned her into a sex object, rather than her aunty standing up for her, they teamed up to send her packing. The stories are endless. But should another girl come by you without the story changing?

On the far extreme are those who pamper and spoil their girls, nurturing them with furs, purrs and the notion that they need not lift a finger as someday the right man with the right manuscript will come and sing them to wealth. The brain and beauty bestowed on them are channelled towards one goal and one goal alone, a life of wealth. This is equally to the detriment of such girls because they never are strong enough to look deep within for the greatness divinely locked in them.

You can help change ONE girl’s story. You owe a moral duty to let such wickedness stop with you, even if you missed out on that care. Forgive your past to heal your future. Look around you, there are girls crying out for care. If all hands are on deck, the goals for girls can be sustained and advanced. Formally or informally, invest in girls and promote zero tolerance for abuse. Educate one! Educate more!!! In school, I learnt to interact and understand people of other cultures and faiths. #62milliongirls don’t have that chance. You can #HelpGirlsLearn. You can #EmPOWERGirls.

Together, we can ensure the girl child is positioned to tap into a lifetime that offers real life opportunities and is focused on the vision of empowerment.

Someday, the ills directed at the girl child will be over, because of YOU. UBUNTU!

By Dr. Omolola Omoteso, Editor Willows Magazine and Project Director of Cares Globa Network. 
She can be reached  via