Golden Minds Nigeria

To My Fellow Youth of Our Dear Nation Chima Williams Iheme

Image from Freelanceglobalmedia.com

Image from Freelanceglobalmedia.com

I have a few things to remind us about. Have you realised yet that the term “getting employed” is proverbially diverse with meanings and remains always a matter of interpretation? The mainstream understanding about getting employed usually refers to a situation where a person secures a paid salary job as against when she or he engages in some lawful activities which as well bring profits. The idea that it is the duty of government to create jobs ought to have outlived its usefulness in an economic system that is akin to capitalism, to embrace the
much more useful idea that the growth of our economy remains actively in the hands of private individuals. The time of dirigisme in which the state wholly controls the economy has passed, although our government has still got a lot to contribute in our economic growth by using the nation’s resources to provide basic infrastructures like steady power, security, good roads, etc that will ensure the smooth running of businesses and employment creations, as well as attract foreign direct investors. When basic infrastructures are in place, thereby reducing the
cost of doing business and increasing the probability of business successes, acquiring sufficient credit from banks and venture capitalists may become easier than we have now.

The idea of doing business and expanding the economy ought to be taught and heeded to like an article of faith by youth whose country is heavily dependent on diminishing natural resources as the major source of its income. Of course, the discovery of crude oil and natural gas has perhaps been of great disservice to us so far as it is highly responsible for the escalation of bribery and corruption in our system. We have abandoned our culture for hard work and perseverance which thrived in the 70s and once kept us as the highest producers/exporters of
some agricultural products in Africa, in preference to being peddlers of the “national cake” syndrome with all of its ravaging effects. We all know that with agriculture for instance in the 70’s our naira currency ranked higher in value than the US dollar and Nigeria was home for many foreigners who came for greener opportunities. Many of our state-of-the-art universities in terms of structures (which of course are now lacking maintenance) were built
with agricultural proceeds. In fact, since the oil boom, our country has not been able to replicate the quality of most of the universities that were constructed in the 70’s. Our educational system was viable and life was far better than it is now. If we had sustained that tempo of growth without the interference of oil boom, we all could guess where we would be now. Or the oil boom would have become a blessing if we had built and sustained transparent institutions that could frustrate the antics of corruption.

One crucial lesson could however be drawn from the three decades of economic experiments since the 70s. The lesson is that the economic betterment of the average Nigerian cannot depend on crude oil and natural gas but on something more steadfast. It’s time we begin to retrace our steps to the junction where we got diverted so as to unlearn certain attitudes to life as well as embrace new ones that could be of sustainable value to our overall growth.

As I already stated, we must have the basic infrastructures in place before doing business becomes a viable tool that could help unscrew our current economic quagmire. This goes to say that we must fulfill our duty to elect true leaders who can make good use of our national resources to provide our basic needs as a country. We must not assist politicians to rig elections because that way we endanger our lives as well as help them to screw up younger generations. Part of our duty instead should be how to become true watchdogs to the system and prevent politicians from rigging elections, and not becoming vehicles through which elections are rigged. We must learn from the experiences of those nations who have walked on the painful path of actualising democracy but are now reaping the fruits of their perseverance and labour. When ASUU goes on strike in agitation for improved education for the system, when we have no steady power supply even though we have abundant natural gas, when our
loved ones die in motor accidents due to bad roads, when they die in hospitals due to ill-equipped facilities, when they die as a result of consuming dangerous products in the market because someone who could have done quality
checks was bribed, when they die on plane crashes for the same reason, when they get attacked and killed by armed robbers or get kidnapped due to poor security apparatuses, and so on, we the youth are partly responsible
for all this if we have in one way or the other assisted in rigging elections and implanting visionless leaders in positions or have watered the seeds of injustices through our collective docility. It is high time we stopped being impersonal about these collective issues that are haunting us badly whether you consider yourself as rich or poor because no one can be truly happy in an unhappy environment. We must never assist anyone who is further dragging us to economic abyss to succeed by helping him/her to rig elections. The youth with their formidable valour can actually bring about a meaningful change to any system if they decide to realise the truth and pursue it no matter where it leads. We must help ourselves now and the generations to come by actively ensuring that good leaders are elected and held accountable.

When we have elected credible leaders, we must follow them up to ensure accountability. If we were doing this, we wouldn’t have lost $US400billion dollars so far to oil theft as the World Bank’s study revealed. Yet a graduate youth corp member goes home with a monthly salary of N19,800 while the country can afford to pay a senator close to N12million per month, and we still beg our senators to make good laws or at least revise the ones we copied from countries long time ago so that we can move forward. You see, we must not be docile when leaders don’t live up to their mandates, because we always are the ultimate victims of their non-performance. There is nothing wrong and illegal in organising peaceful rallies to register disagreement with government actions and policies or speak out without bad sentiments in the media so as to spread true awareness and achieve a more concerted effort to fight against
corruption and injustices. No one can do it for us but us. Remaining afraid to act is what has kept us in this pitiable condition. We are now a shadow of ourselves as a nation and life has become nightmarish to the youth whose ambitions have been greatly debilitated due to the misuse of our national resources. If and when our truly elected leaders emerge and put enough infrastructures in place, I bet that foreign direct investors and venture capitalists will start to flood into our country to invest because we have a high population of 170 million people whose patronages can make any business to blossom. Our population could become a blessing instead of the burden it currently is, but we all must first help to fix our home before the blessing aspect materialises.

Then we must begin to learn how to create wealth and employment by doing legitimate businesses of our choices. An economy that is 90 percent dependent on crude oil and gas exports is as dangerous as a time bomb which we all are responsible to prevent from
detonation. Our agricultural, health, education, in fact none of our sectors is fully tapped yet, and these are lucrative areas of business that can match with everyone’s formal or informal skills. Many of us nowadays (including those who studied agriculture in higher institutions) shy away from engaging in agriculture due to their polluted idea about being employed. They are ashamed of being called farmers. Don’t you realise it yet that we need to change our mindset because in many countries farmers are indeed the richest set of individuals. The truth is that agriculture which brought us to limelight in the 70’s, cures two main problems. It reduces unemployment as well as provides enough food for our teeming population. When we begin to engage fully in productive activities (and not merely wait for the “national cake” or subjectively deciding on issues based on ethnic lines) it will help to restore the hard work and perseverance values we once had in abundance in the 70’s and then could pass them on as legacies to generations to come. Until a kid in the kindergarten stops to say that s/he wants to become a politician, then we have not tried enough to restore these inestimable value which are cardinal to success. Surely we all will continue to be the ultimate losers, and may not be exempted when our historians begin to write the names of failures.

Chima Williams Iheme is a lawyer in Nigeria and currently a doctoral candidate with research focus on secured transactions law at the Central European University, Budapest, Hungary. He is interested in Human Rights issues as well issues which touch on overall human development.

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Nigerian Youths Need to Unite for Growth and Development by Laila of Kaduna

I have been asked both in Nigeria and in other countries, why am I so passionate and want to help nigerian youth. People who personally know me say they can see the passion in my eyes when i talk about it. I will make it very simple and short.

I truly believe things can change and the ones to bring about changes will be the youth. There is a long way ahead, before we can see changes, and I am the first to admit it. But, it can be done. I have so much faith in the youth. I talked to so many of them and there are some bright young minds among us, but for reasons of poverty and other challenges, they do not have options and even feel depressed and angry, not to mention having feelings of hate.

Nobody was born with such feelings; feelings are learned through the years. I always tell such young people: “hold it right there.” They need to be taught that things cannot, and should not be changed by violence, hate, imposing fear in others. And besides that, these negative feelings affect their health.

A long time ago, I introduced in my life (among other things) the following concept: that even if I
am alone, I shall not allow myself to utter any bad words, because whatever comes out of your mouth, defines you as a person. Anything that you put out into the Universe, it will be given back to you.

I look forward to that day, when any of our youths will graduate to be invited at his/her graduation or to a new work place and my smile will beam from one end to the other and I shall proudly say: “that is my adoptive son/daughter….he/she has made it.” That is going to be my biggest reward. I will do it, in spite of all hurdles and attacks and difficulties thrown at me by certain politicians, by certain greedy individuals who put their ambitious plans for power ahead of being human. Some people told me that maybe even my life will be in danger. Well, if I haven’t died until now, it means there is a purpose to me being alive and feeling better than never before.

To our Nigerian Youth, I would like you to know that I believe in you and there are some other people who also believe in you. Only together, only by listening and learning from others’ experiences, we shall be successful.

Peel the many layers of different attitudes, beliefs from yourself and reach your core, your substance. I know that is the hardest thing to do and admit, but be honest with yourself. You have to desire change with all your might. Acting on impulse, or foolishly will not help you. Use your brain, open up.
Cut the cords to all the old ways that did not work. There is light at the end of the tunnel, believe me.

And I shall extend my hand and my heart to all of you and so are the others who understand my vision, my desire. We shall be there to train you, guide you, counsel you, defend you…and the destination is beautiful. You and me and everyone else shall enjoy the view. I believe in you all. “All for One and One for All”

Laila Stocky, known as Laila of Kaduna, was born in Romania. Multilingual, she has spent many years in Nigeria, and has a passion and vision for youth development as a tool for national advancement. She is the Founder of the new MYDEN (Movement for Youth Development in Nigeria).

Image from Nigeriamasterweb.com

A Message to Nigerians in Diaspora by Julius Bokoru

Dear Most Nigerians in Diaspora

You too are Nigerians like us. Many of us, Nigerians living in Nigeria, chose to remain here even in the midst of opportunity to live, work or school abroad. Many of us are still staying around to fight, to bleed and to seek for a better country. We cannot all become subjects, willingly or unwillingly, of the West’s brain drain, for if that happens Nigeria will be irretrievably lost.

Now, there are some issues I will like to discuss here. We too are very much disappointed by the slowness of growth here in Nigeria, and we too are agitating. But unlike what many of you now do, increasingly, we are not writing first class satirical pieces that gets published in first class world media. You write from the coziness of USA, Canada, UK, France and the rest. But we, we write our protest with the ink of our own blood.

It is not untrue that many of you
now see us just the way your foreign hosts see us: Second class humans, unintellectual, religious fanatics, inherently corrupt, and so on. Believe me, I know what I’m talking about. I’ve friends like many of you who are schooling and working abroad. When some of them return here for holidays, it is not often difficult to notice how they begin to look at me like one from the dark ages. I will appreciate it more if some of you return home and share your new found rennaiscance with us, and not always hurriedly judge us the way you now do.

And always remember that you are still Nigerian, still African – your fine prose and logic cannot make you European or American. Of course, not. Not in the eyes of your new god, that not a few of you now seem to serve away from home. Perhaps, I should ask that you find some time to carefully study the history of your beloved America, if you stay there. You will find that that country was built on God as the firm foundation. And interestingly, America pioneered the world in everything until the late 80’s when they decided to relax many of their
laws which led to the sharp rise of immorality, and since then America lost many of their edges. They lost technology to Japan, they lost economy to China, they lost medical expertise to India, and lost architecture to the UAE.

Today, up to 70% of Americans believe there is no God. But America became what it is today when the people greatly believed in God, when they gave it the motto ‘In God We Trust’ when they fondly called it ‘Gods own country’. I believe, strongly too, that the apparent decline of America can be related to their abandoning of their faith in God in the 80s.

Wherever you are, always remember that one can acquire all the knowledge in the world and still lack wisdom. Knowledge is merely the gathering of facts and information, wisdom is a fusion of knowledge and understanding. You are Nigerians. You are Africans. You are one of us.

Julius Bokoru is a poet, creative writer, humanitarian, teacher, and student who loves people who see beneath vanity’s deceptive surface. This piece was first published on his Facebook timeline.

The image is from Chika Oduah’s blog.

Determination: The key to Succeed in Life by Emeke Nwaoboli

From my observation and research, I have discovered that determination is the key to success. Determination is like climbing a ladder that people say has no end. It is taking risk and
dearing to do what people say is impossible.

DETERMINATION IS THE VOICE THAT TELLS YOU, ”THE IMPOSSIBLE IS POSSIBLE”.

Psychologist and philosopher William James said, ”Perhaps the greatest discovery of this country is that if you change your attitude, you can change your life”. To buttress his point I advice you, murder the fear in you. Crucify the ”i can’t” profession for with God and your determination, the impossible becomes possible.

You are a carrier of success. You have the gene of Jesus, so you automatically have inherited success. Jesus never fails, and since you’ve his gene, doesn’t it mean you will succeed? MANY PEOPLE FAIL AND DISCARD THEIR PROSPERITY UNKNOWN TO THEM THAT SUCCESS USUALLY COMES DRESSED IN THE FORM PREDICAMENT.

DON’T BE PERTURBED ABOUT FAILING, BUT PONDER ON WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF YOU REMAIN A FAILURE OR REFUSE TO TAKE RISK.
Below, I have outlined the chain of human behaviour. Study it meticulously.

    YOUR IMAGINATION—>YOUR ASSUMPTION—>YOUR DECISION—>YOUR ACTION (when positive)—>YOUR CELEBRATIONYOUR ACTIONS (when negative)—>YOUR
    DESTRUCTION<

* —> means ”lead to”

It begins from your mindset. Believe in God. Change your imagination. Avoid procrastination, and embrace determination. This is the formula to succeed in 2014 and beyond.

Walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corr. 5:7). I believe you can succeed, even if you don’t believe in yourself. Hope you have been motivated?

Emeke Nwaoboli, a Mass Communications student of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Benin City, is a member of Golden Minds Nigeria. Awarded the Most Active Member in Golden Minds 2013, he is a young and motivated Nigerian, who loves motivational writing, creative writing and passionate about nation-building. Connect with him on his Facebook profile: Emeke Nwaoboli.

Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance by Ayodele Awi

It is commonly said that Success is when Preparation meets Opportunity. The famous Basketball coach and Author, John R. Wooden made a strong statement about this when he said, “By falling to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. This can be summarized as, Proper preparation prevents poor performance.I have realized that too many times when life presents an opportunity, what we do with it will depend on the preparation we have had before such times. This created in me a mindset, that the future can be determined, that each man has the ability to STEER his FUTURE in the direction he wants. Peter F. Drucker, A Professor, Writer and Management Consultant put it this way, “The best way to predict a future is to create it”. Now, isn’t that interesting?

The question I ask every time is; why do people refuse to prepare for what they expect? One of my BBM friends, Omotola, sent me a message on a Monday morning. She wrote, “I am at a final interview section now, at Stanbic IBTC. I am to meet the Branch Manager of the bank after I have been referred to the bank by the recruiting agency that conducted the recruitment exercise. I am a bit nervous, I must not miss the right response here, because if he is not pleased with me here the agent will have to replace candidate for him, please put me through. PING!!!” Unfortunately, I read this message late, maybe about three hours after she sent it, I did my best to help her by quickly sending her tips on what to expect and how to respond. I can only hope that the help didn’t come too late to be useful.

Sometimes in life we don’t value people that are close to us and could be of great help to us until we find ourselves in a situation demanding for their urgent assistance. Not everybody will be lucky to still find such people readily available when such moments come. I have been guilty of this myself many times and maybe you have too. The good news is, It Is better to look ahead and plan than to look back and regret. My “daily favourite” quote for 6th January, 2014 says “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forward.

I am reminded the unfortunate story of a young man who was advised to take Project Management certification course while still serving in Akure, the capital city of Ondo State in Nigeria, he laughed it off and called his friends doing the course fools. Not long after, he received a mail from one of the companies he had applied to for a job, asking if he has any certification in Project Management & Health, Safety & Environment as those are paramount to the position he applied for. He quickly put a call through to the institute that offered the training to his friends; his request was to get a certificate that bears his name from the institute in exchange for as much as three times what the training would have cost him just few months ago. Your guess is as good as mine, his request was rebuffed. The Malay Proverb is true after all; prepare the umbrella before it rains.

Anthony Robbins opined, “I believe life is constantly testing us for our level of commitment, and life’s greatest rewards are reserved for those who demonstrate a never-ending commitment to act until they have achieved. This level of resolve can move mountains, but it must be constant and consistent. As simplistic as this may sound, it is still the common denominator separating those who live their dreams from those who live in regret”. A new year has just begun, many have made resolutions, many have set goals, yet many will have their chances and blow it up due to lack of preparation. My friend, Akinola Akinwumi once shared with me a profound thought. He said; never go for the microphone until you are sure you have a message. For many years, I have taught young people preparing for job interviews this simple truth, there is no second chance to make the first impression. I hope that you prepare adequately for the goals you have set for 2014 and I pray you will achieve them. Where you will STEER your FUTURE to, depends on that.

Connect with me on:
@ayodeleawi

Ayodele Awi

@ayodeleawi
AcmeBound Nigeria in partnership with Golden Minds Nigeria

Happy Golden Year: Awards of Honour and Appreciation to Deserving Members and Leaders from the National President

In the spirit of the celebration of the golden vision, I, the National President & Project Director of Golden Minds Nigeria, Ken Ejiofor, hereby award Certificates of Honour, and Appreciation to some very deserving members of Golden Minds.

These awards are in recognition of the invaluable contributions of the awardees to the growth and development of the body in the past year, 2013. These individuals have demonstrated commitment and dedication, and continue to inspire others.

For the membership category, the awardees are:

Emeke Nwaoboli: the most active member, 2013.

Esther Osakwe: the Best Contributor, 2013

Raphael Ojigbede: for his articles on youth and social development

And for the leadership category:

Frederick Odogwu: for his dedication to youth development & capacity building through the publication of YES! (Youth Empowerment Skills)

Yibakuo David Amakiri: for his commitment to the vision

Senator Ihenyen: for excellence in Innovation in Youth Leadership, Golden Minds Nigeria.

Certificates of Appreciation for the awarded members, and Certificates of Honour for the leaders have been designed. The Certificates would be sent to all awardees electronically through email. During our National Conference in July this year to commemorate our 10th anniversary, the hard copies would presented to all awardees.

Congratulations to all the awardees! And we hope this will inspire others to even do more.

Happy Golden Year,

Ken Ejiofor
National President & Project Director,
Golden Minds Nigeria.

‘We Have Lost Our Greatest Son’: What Should the Death of ‘Madiba’ Mandela Mean to You? by Yibakuo David Amakiri

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On 5th of December, 2013, Africa and indeed the whole world was thrown into grief over the death one extraordinary legend. One man who almost single-handedly fought the renowned apartheid regime of racial segregation and discrimination in the Republic of South Africa. As a result Mandela spent 27 years in prison before being released in 1990 at age 71. Mandela’s charisma, stoic optimism and conciliation towards adversaries and oppressors established him as one of the world’s most recognisable statesmen of the 20th century and a hero of democracy in South Africa and indeed Africa as a whole. [Usa Today]

After his fight and victory against the apartheid, he became the President of South Africa in 1994. After one term in office, he stepped aside for others with fresh ideas to move the South Africa nation forward. What an example for other African leaders!

Make no mistakes about it. In a continent where certain individual had made themselves institutions of state, a one-term President is no mean feat. We can recall the likes of Idi Amin Dada (Conqueror of the British Empire), Mubutu Sese Seko, Sani Abacha, Omar Bongo, Laurent Gbagbo, Muammar Qadaffi, Hosni Mubarak, and the still-going Omar Al-Bashir and Robert Mugabe all of whom have made their countries synonymous with dictatorships.

To our generation, we must embrace the example and the ideals of the great Madiba who despite suffering to get power, gave up the comforts of power to embrace service to humanity. He was the first black President of South Africa in a black continent but rejected the ‘black power syndrome’. He defined his generation by defining himself. He became the change that he wanted to see.

Instead of bantering over who the Mandela of Nigeria is, we must enmesh ourselves and importantly our political struggles, in the ideals which Madiba represented – a genuine desire for nation-building. That is what the death of Nelson Mandela should mean to all Nigerians, especially you!

Yibakuo David Amakiri is the current Administrative Officer of Golden Minds Nigeria. He believes in a new Nigeria.