Poli-Tricks with Kayode Ogundamisi on BEN -TV UK

POLI-Tricks WITH KO on BEN-TV UK

Here is some information about the  new Phone in Program hosted by Kayode Ogundamisi called Poli-tricks. He debuted last Thursday when he had Ms Zainab Usman and Baba Aye discuss an eclectic  range of issues. 
 This week promises to be hard hitting as Kayode  discusses with Mr Seun Odewale. Mr Odewale needs no introduction. He is a giant in terms of his involvement and engagement  with Nigerian politics.  An intellectual, gifted with the ability of making complicated issues easy to understand,  Odewale  is easily,  one of the most articulate and dynamic personalities  on Twitter/blogsphere today. He  brings with him a wealth of experience  from years of painstaking study, complex research, interaction and  analysis of the Nigerian situation. 
Tune in this Thursday to listen to Kayode Ogundamisi and Seun Odewale thrash issues the only way they can. 

POLI-tricks with Kayode Ogundamisi is a weekly no holds barred phone in program sampling opinions on socio political issues and human development as relates to Nigeria, Africa and the world.  It features interviews, debates, a sweep of trending topics on social media and analysis presented by Kayode Ogundamisi, blogger and analyst on Nigerian and Global issues.

Watch us on Ben TV every Thursday 8pm – 9pm (UK TIME) on the following platforms:
UK           – Sky 182   
Nigeria      – Star time
Web          – Live stream on www.bentelevision.com
Join us on air via
Phone in +442088080693
Skype: BENTV.watchme
Twitter: @ogundamisi
Email us at: politicswithko@gmail.com
Join Poli-tricks with KO on BEN-TV for no holds barred discussions on matters that affect your world.

 Information obtained from the Facebook Page of Kayode Ogundamisi.

Advertisements

Books and the Reading Culture

A  recent tweet about books to give away revealed the obvious: there is a need for reading books in Nigeria. By reading books, it is meant text books and non text books as well.  Unfortunately, in most homes, on a scale of one to ten in priorities, buying a book is probably  on the lower end of the scale or not at all. If we are honest about the deplorable state of primary and secondary state education, we must be bold to say that our children are growing up without enjoying how to read or knowing the pleasure good book can bring. The importance of owning a book cannot be over stated. 


 Experts say children raised in homes where there is a 500 book library will stay in education and do better in life than children who grow up in homes where there are little or no books.
There is a Renaissance of sorts for books of late in Nigeria. So many events are advertised on Facebook and in the Dailies to either encourage people to attend a Book Reading or join a reading club. It is great that more people are drawing the attention of the wider Nigerian public to the pleasure a good book can bring. These efforts are commendable, but to be effective they should target Nigeria’s poorest not the rich middle class or upwardly mobile professionals. It is thought that a lot of children are missing out of an adventurous childhood because they either cannot read or they are unable to get books to read. This is the silent tragedy no one weeps about.

Whilst some people have more books than others, the reality of book ownership remains dire for most. It must also be said that there are those who would rather not spend their income on books, but on pedestrian entertainment and wanton pleasure.  The rest of the world has made strides in  publishing through the release of the Kindle to read e-books, audio books, large print books and so on, Nigerians are still yet to stand secure  and sufficient in book ownership. Second hand books are available, but the majority of people are hard pressed with their finances and perhaps unable to invest  in  these books.
The argument to get books is not for the professional, but for  children in deprived urban areas and the rural areas.

To some of these kids, owning a decent book (fiction or text), is a luxury. Never mind the fact that schools write a booklist for students and the expectation is that parents would go to a bookshop and buy these books, it is unclear the percentage of parents who are unable to buy the basic school texts. This is where the problem lies. How can a child be educated without books? Whilst education has ceased to be the priority of the Federal Government. In 1995, the Federal Government spent roughly 14% of its budget on Education. In 2010, a mere 2% of its budget was on education. It must be said that education does not guarantee employment for the nation’s  unemployed graduates but it guarantees an intelligent conversation in forums that matter.


In the UK,  most secondary schools right about now, are ordering new class sets of books for a variety of reasons. They may be changing exam boards, they may decide to re-order torn books, introducing a new subject, or making space for new materials. What often happens is that old books are put in black bin liners and thrown  away. This is a sad occurrence given the fact that there is a huge book deficit in Africa and in Asia. The down side is whilst many schools here would love to donate the books free of charge to Nigerian schools or to any school in the world, it is not exactly cheap to ship these books to Nigeria. It takes a determined effort and a concerted will to raise the funds necessary to find such books and them ship them to Nigeria. Second hand books also have a life span. Is it worth the investment?

Some recent research from the National Literacy Trust found that there is a correlation between book ownership and attainment in life.  86% of young people in the UK own a mobile phone, only 73% have books of their own. The battle in the UK is to make reading fun for youngsters, the battle for Nigerians, is to get a book into the hand of every 5 year old. When they have read that book, have an enabling process to get them to read another. A groundbreaking study from the University of Nevada found that the number of books in the home has as great an impact on children’s attainment as parental education levels. The 20 year study by Mariah Evans and her colleagues at Nevada, UCLA and Australian National University found that having as few as 20 books in the home still has a significant impact on propelling a child to a higher level of education, and the more books you add, the greater the benefit. Researchers also found that children of lesser-educated parents benefit the most from having books in the home, with Evans stating: “The results of this study indicate that getting some books into [the] home is an inexpensive way that we can help… children succeed.”

We salute the courage of Non Governmental Organisations or charities in Nigeria already working to provide education and indeed books for deprived children in cities and in rural areas. Their efforts have not gone unnoticed. The wife of the Oyo State Governor, Mrs Ajimobi’s NGO  ‘Educate a Rural Child’.  She and
her team aim is to help the most disadvantaged children in communities that would never make the headlines. Their newsletter states of their aim ‘Educate a Rural Child’s main objective is to bridge the gap between children educated in the rural areas and their counterparts in the urban areas of the state. The newsletter goes further to state that ‘this initiative is neither about the boy in International school, whose father is probably a professor not about the Major General’s daughter at Command Secondary school, but about that child at Iresa-Pupa whose idea of education is probably the one given by an unmotivated teacher in an environment that is not conductive to teaching’. Whilst Mrs Ajimobi’s pet project is highly commendable, the underlying goal is fraught with obvious inconsistencies.
First of all, not all children who grow up cities or urban areas attend the so called University International Schools. There are so many children in our cities who attend dilapidated state schools. Secondly, urban areas also have ghetto areas which have non-existent schools. Giving the high rate of inflation, high unemployment and cost of private education, not every child in the city can afford to attend the private schools. Focussing attention on rural children is a half baked approach to the disaster area called state schools. Understandably, Mrs Ajimobi cannot solve all the problems relating to Education in the State as they pre date her tenure and  her NGO cannot make right decades of state neglect of education. The magnitude of what Mrs Ajimobi is attempting to make right is documented in the Unicef website ‘ ‘Forty per cent of Nigerian children aged 6-11 do not attend any primary school with the Northern region recording the lowest school attendance rate in the country, particularly for girls. Despite a significant increase in net enrolment rates in recent years, it is estimated that about 4.7 million children of primary school age are still not in school. Increased enrolment rates have also created challenges in ensuring quality education and satisfactory learning achievement as resources are spread more thinly across a growing number of students. It is not rare to see cases of 100 pupils per teacher or students sitting under trees outside the school building because of the lack of classrooms’.
Reading books regularly stimulates children’s imagination, accelerates their emotional development and fosters natural curiosity. Developing the habit of reading regularly from an early age helps the child to cope better with the rigors of academic education later on. However, reading books is a very important activity that no child should be deprived of during the early years of his/her life. This is our challenge to make books and libraries available to all. The Charity Path to Possibilities eventually picked up the books and have since shipped them to Port Harcourt.

Tundun Adeyemo

Photos from the internet.

Al Mustapha and Other Assaults

It’s hard not to feel assaulted by the many occurrences of late: primary of which is the heat. Assaulted? A dictionary defines the word as  ‘an act or an attempt to do bodily injury to another or an instance of unlawfully threatening or attempting to injure another’. Injury in this instance may also be psychological.  This past week in the United Kingdom, the body of humanity have been  assaulted by the merciless sun. The heat has been confirmed as a heat wave. 

Every day and night has felt like the peak of the dry season in Nigeria. But of course, one must not complain. It is cold for longer here than hot and temperatures as we have seen this week are rather uncommon and must be appreciated.

The assault has taken many forms. One of which is the flying around of  nasty, big, black mosquitoes or perhaps flies  which uncannily target your hair, uncovered food and   stuff. Then, there are the wasps, ants and the of course Tango the rather annoying pigeon that has chosen my window to make her nest. Bird puu is fast becoming the color of some windows including mine.  She has on occasion flown in through the window causing aggravated hysteria.

The heat, of course, necessitates the regular  intake of liquids and fluids to prevent dehydration. A tough time for those observing the Ramadan, the rules of which forbid the taste or drink of water. The heat makes even saints irritable  when things don’t work properly. The proclivity to notice little things becomes heightened when Tango begins to make those annoying noises that make you want to scream. Sometimes you do scream in agony of both the heat and the nuisance of a bird that refuses to understand the boundary between man and domesticated birds.  Its futile. She leaves but comes back  and makes even more noise.

Online dailies exacerbate underlying agonies. The first irritation occurred when Premium Times issued a breaking news alert the man alleged- Major Hamza Al Mustapha-  to have killed Mrs Kudirat Abiola was released after 15 years incarceration. He was accompanied by the leader of the Odua People Congress (OPC), 78 year old, Dr.  Fredrick Fasheun. The politics  behind the acquittal of  Major Al Mustapha leaves a huge question unanswered ‘ so who killed Mrs Kudirat Abiola? In a nation where no one is ever punished significantly for financial crimes and homicides, it is thought that the Nigerian State may have to compensate Major Al Mustapha for the time he has spent behind bars.  Will the murderers of  Dele Giwa, Chief Bola Ige, Pa Alfred Rewane forever remain at large? 
The image of celebrations at the Kano airport where crowds received their hero was nauseating. The media attention the Major is getting must be painful for the Abiola family to monitor.  It is common knowledge that our judicial system is corrupt and broken.  Unless the judiciary is purged, many families may never move on from the injustice of the premature deaths of their loved ones.
Back to that breaking news. The allusion to the fact that by supporting Major Al-Mustapha, Dr Fasheun is detribalised is ludicrous simply because the late Bashorun MKO Abiola who died defending his mandate, did not die for just the Yorubas. The June 12 elections is bigger than an one tribe and dialect.  It is a shame that June 12th is not commemorated in the Northern States. The last vestige of the brutal reign of Abacha’s despotic rule, Major Al Mustapha terrorized everybody and made a name for himself whilst doing that. The fact that he is celebrated now shows how the Nigerian nation suffers from  amnesia. 

Reading reactions to the Immigration bond proposed by the Home Office from November 2013, one cannot help but notice the anger directed at the Home Secretary, Mrs Theresa May.  The plan is that the United Kingdom  would charge first time  visitors to the UK £3000 or N750,000  at the point of entry into the UK from November 2013. Mrs May, the Home Secretary argued that  the intention is to make the immigration service more selective and to deter people from over staying  once their visitor visa has expired.

In the United Kingdom, it appears that there is  public support for this move as for the time being it gives the Tory government the much needed PR.  It makes them boast that they have an handle on immigration already.  With the country’s fragile recovery, cuts to welfare and public spending, it is thought that Mrs May and her team have miscalculated the cost of this policy. Given the sheer bravado of this Conservative government: bull dozing the reform of the marriage Act, over hauling the Welfare system, unfortunately, the Immigration bond is here to stay. The question is what is the response from the Nigerian government? Is the African Union going to respond in kind?

Non Europeans  are dis enfranchised because in their home countries, they suffer from epileptic power, substandard health care, poor roads and
inadeq
uate infrastructural facilities amongst other problems.
 Travelling abroad (to the UK) is still perceived as a ‘promotion’. To counteract  this imbalance Nigerians need also to speak with their pockets and avoid the United Kingdom.  This is why. Nigerians would now need to pay £3,000 on top of the already expensive costs of travelling overseas. The bond will put off any upwardly mobile Nigerian who seeks to travel here for fun or pleasure.

Sadly, Nigerians have an insatiable lust for imported things: be it clothes, shoes, bags, accessories and so on. Many Nigerians are already looking for how they can raise that money. England means more to Nigerians than anything. We pray, fast, use anointing oil, give testimonies about trips to the Embassies for visa, we are obsessed about travelling out. It is point less complaining about the Bond. Very soon, it would become a thing of pride and joy that some people can afford to pay the Bond and some others can’t. We are a shamelessly capitalistic people.

The bond, most outrageous, a proposal yet, the Brits are not stopping at that. Every day,  some politician proposes on how the NHS can charge non Europeans for the use of the service.  The African Union,  ECOWAS  and all regional parties affected by the Bond, must respond swiftly and in kind. The message from Nigeria and Africa is to do the same and let the Brits who prefer warmer climes pay the same bond or even more for just visiting. Preferably, they can pay £10,000 should they decide to stay anywhere in Africa. Only a collective move as this would show the Brits we are organized enough to call their bluff.

Whilst we are at it, we can also improve our roads, health care, schools etc so our people can begin to take pride in our own institutions. Granted the Brits have lost the plot with the introduction of this Immigration Bond, but for them, it is their way of solving the problem of errant visitors who chose to stay and remain a drain on their economy. This move should provoke our leaders to invest more in tourist locations ensuring that those who prefer to spend their monies over seas are enticed to spending that money at home instead. We can take this the positive way, by making sure our country is comfortable for the most to live in. Then, gradually, the queues at the relevant embassies for visa would begin to reduce. Tragically, that is not going to happen.
Tundun Adeyemo

Food for the Hungry

I attended a concert recently and signed up to sponsor a child from Uganda. I would have loved to sponsor a girl child preferably from Nigeria, but as they are not in Nigeria (I dont think), I am happy to get involved.

 I give intermittently to Kiswa a charity of the Canterbury Baptist Church but with this charity,  I am  committing to a long term sponsor, God helping me.

Who are they? http://uk.fh.org/:  They are the Food for the Hungry Charity and they have been responding to God’s call to end physical and spiritual hungers worldwide since 1971. 1.4 billion children living in poverty, it is possible to sponsor one child and make a difference that way. I know that are thousands of charities working from the UK to touch lives in Africa and the poorest parts of the world, the work is enormous and more people need to sign up to commit to sponsor a child long term.

Get involved here: http://uk.fh.org/get-involved

Sponsor a child here: http://uk.fh.org/give

Yes, thats it. The charities close to my heart in one way or the other.
More charities soon.

Every Blessing
Tundun Adeyemo

Charities Close to my Heart 2

We live in a difficult world, where things are not as they should be. Charities, I think, provide the link between government and the community. Charities give life to the ‘little people’ in our communities. Here are two charities that I have every respect for.

1. Afruca: Africans Unite Against Child Abuse : http://www.afruca.org/
This is what they do…. from their website.

AFRUCA works in many ways to help promote the rights and welfare of African children. Our main areas of work are:

  • Awareness raising and sensitization within African communities and among young Africans about children’s rights as enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international conventions and UK legislation promoting the rights and welfare of children.
  • Information, education, and advisory services to raise the profile of African children in the UK, increase awareness of their needs, improve policies and practices, and develop the leadership potential of young Africans. Activities include research and publishing reports; media work; conferences, seminars, workshops, and training programmers for policy makers, service providers, parents, faith and community leaders, young people; community meetings; advice and consultancy services.
  • Advocacy and policy development working closely with policy makers to shape the development of policy and regulatory action to promote the welfare of children
  • Community and international development in partnership with others to put in place programmers and projects to help relieve some of the suffering and hardship that African children experience
  • Victim and Family Support Working to support individuals and families in crisis, at the point of breakdown through effective early intervention services.

Extensive information about their work in the UK here:
 http://www.afruca.org/our-work/afruca-in-the-uk/

How can you get involved? You can Donate on their Just Giving Page here.

http://www.justgiving.com/afruca/donate

Charities Close to my Heart

Its been on my mind for a while to do a blog on charities close to my heart. So here is it. In no order of priority.
 I wanted to start with:
1. The Neonatal Unit at the Luton and Dunstable Hospital. Here is a link to their website.http://www.ldh.nhs.uk/our-services/neonatal-unit/.

The big reasons why we all need to chip in a little something is here:
http://www.justgiving.com/nicuappeal

The Neonatal Unit at the L&D is one of only three units in the East of England who provide intensive care for the premature and sick newborn babies. 1 in 7 babies born will need admission and support from the Neonatal Team.’
A colleague at work recently did some fund raising for the Neonatal Department. His son was born with a low birthrate, he got involved because according to him, the Unit saved the life of his first born son.

To get involved, raise money for the unit, please visit this link ‘http://www.ldh.nhs.uk/get-involved/fundraising/get-involved/.

Donate here: http://www.ldh.nhs.uk/get-involved/fundraising/donate/

2. Path to Possibility Charityhttp://www.pathtopossibilities.co.uk/

They are a ‘ UK-based charity with a passionate commitment to transforming the lives of disadvantaged young people in Nigeria. As well as sponsoring secondary education for poor but bright children, we campaign to improve the education system and share best practise teaching with schools.’
This is what they are up against.  ‘Nigeria has the largest population in Africa, estimated at 154 million in 2009. While opportunities for education have increased since independence in 1960, the challenges of covering costs of schooling mean that a vast majority of children are not in education – especially at secondary school level.
UNICEF figures for enrolment in secondary schools in Nigeria are as follows, using data collected between 2003 and 2008: Male 36% Female 29%. The most significant factor holding young people back is poverty. The cost of secondary education places a huge burden on parents and families, who not only carry the expense, but also lose the income the child might bring in if sent to work.
Without access to education, Nigeria’s future generations are unable to realise their potential. Young people are increasingly becoming victims of child labour, trafficking, prostitution and crime. Our work is about improving access to quality education, providing a safe environment for children to grow and helping young people to stay in school, realise their potential and win back their lost youth’.

 
How can you get involved?

Take a look at this: http://www.pathtopossibilities.co.uk/ways-to-give

What can you do to help: http://www.pathtopossibilities.co.uk/get-involved

More information here: http://www.pathtopossibilities.co.uk/our-work

Yes, lets blame the heat.

It must be the heat. Woke up late anyways, heard the alarm go off, but refused to get up. It was panic upon getting up. I was running late. Late to work, late for meetings etc. I love and hate Fridays.

I stopped at the Co-operatives to get some pies, stopped at the cash machine and hurriedly proceeded to my normal morning school run routine. For some strange reason, even though it was Friday, I was working a Thursday morning routine where I need to drive longer on the school run.

A quick U turn sorted every thing out.   It turned out that I was not late after all. The inital panic was unbelievable.

This didnt just happen to me. A very close friend, left her home, dashed off to work, ran through the car park into her office (breathless) only  to find out that she was not rostered to work this morning after all.  She was on the  late shift. Hilarious!  She described feeling like an idiot.

At least I am thankful I am not the only one who forgets dates and days. My firend and I blamed the heat. Perhaps, we were both tired. Perhaps, it was because the night was long and hot. Or perhaps, its easier just to blame the heat.

Seriously, I am thankful it is Friday!

P.S: Does any body know the best way to raise money for a dear cause? I also wanted to add that I got my old number back. 0790 441 3964, please add me on whats app. I am no longer on BB. Ouch! Thats the way it is. I have an other number 07411 517184. For complicated reasons, the phone is out at the moment. If you need to get a hold of me, send me a text or an email.

Done!
Every Blessing
Tundun Adeyemo

African Carribean Welfare Agency …an Introduction

This is the name of my charity……. already taking shape in my thought process. I am doing a thing or two to see if I can get it registered.

Why this ACWA? It is my response to the way Africans are treated by the Immigration System in the UK. A lot of us are slipping away, unable to work, feed and live in dignity.  Other than churches who help and food banks, I genuinely believe there a need for a welfare charity to look after our community. Since the start of this government, many people have found themselves on the wrong side of the immigration law. So many people have been caught out. Solicitors are expensive and so is the cost of living. A new law is now prohibits landlords from renting to illegal immigrants. Are illegal immigrants criminals? The situation is ridiculous. We should not expecyt sympathy from white folks who generally feel too that the African has come to live off their benefits etc.

For the skeptics who say ‘tell them to go home’, it is not that easy to pack up and return. Some people have houses here, have children here, some people have burnt their bridges and literally have no where to go.

I need your prayers to move this on from an idea to reality really.  Yeah! A lot more to say… not now. I know too many people in an immigration mess or the other. It makes me feel uncomfortable. ACWA is my response. May God help me give back. Amen.

See the rubbish policy of charging Africans £3,000 when they arrive at Heathrow. I have since read of another £2,000 that may be added on top of the £3k for the use of facilities such as the NHS.
Imagine that? I havent read of the Nigerian government doing anything to prevent this from coming into effect in November.. have u?

Its late, I am going to bed! Yeah! I am going to do this.

Tundun Adeyemo
All things work together for good.

Taking Care of the Disabled

 

Andrea Begley recently won the Voice UK, a music talent hunt reality TV programme, created by John de Moi and   based on the concept of The Voice of Holland. A little like the X factor, the Voice has garnered millions of viewers and support.   For the first time, a legally blind woman – Andrea Begley- won £100,000 and a music contract. Her win has been described as ‘inspirational’. A bit patronizing considering the fact that non of the other contestants were described as ‘inspiring’. The fact that most media outlets in the UK described her win as ‘inspiring’ goes to show that even the UK has miles to go in containing ‘disparaging remarks ‘aimed at disabled people.

Disabled people in the UK are protected from discrimination by equality laws such as the Disability Discrimination Act 1976.  Even then, you cannot protect them from  condescending remarks (even though well meant).  Begley won the Voice because she was outstanding and not intellectually inferior to the other contestants. Undoubtedly, the 7.2 million people who tuned in must have been impressed to learn  that  she had to learn the words of her songs and work extra hard given  she has only 10 per cent vision. Is ‘inspirational’ the new condescending? Ironically, talking about disabled feats, the London 2012 Paralympics Games saw Nigerian Paralympics athletes win more medals than their full bodied counterparts. Inspirational?

We know the way we deal with the disabled in Nigeria. We give them money only when we are assaulted by them in traffic. We mark our birthdays with them to make heaven.  We  watch  young school age children walk their blind parents beg carrying dual purpose bowls for food and money.  We watch them lament, groan under the hot sun never really considering how difficult their lives must be. The rich amongst us offer limited scholarships to those we know are quite clever. There is only so much we can do as they are the burden of their parents and the vague wider community.  Disabled people are a plight on the rest of us. Their vulnerabilities question the sincerity of our desire to care for our neighbours.  Poverty is a curable ailment, but being disabled and poor is a nightmare unimaginable.

One is reminded of the fate of the quadriplegic beggar who lies in the middle of the road near the Officers Mess in Ibadan.  The name less man has been a constant fixture there for decades. His plight a slap on the faces of equality activists. His life, a torture and a waste. Socio-economic factors and a lack of political will towards the fate of the disabled will ensure that beggars like the quadriplegic die in pain and poverty.

 In terms of cultural acceptance of the disabled, the West and indeed the UK have moved on from Nigeria where disabled people are left to the mercies of the generosity and philanthropic donations  from Governor’s wives and  local governments. Here,  there is a distinction between intellectual inferiority and physical disability. That distinction is enhanced  by the fact that everyone is entitled to a basic minimum. An individualistic society, the disabled are not necessarily  impoverished, neither do they look to people or agencies for their livelihoods. They are proud human beings who may be disabled, but like everyone else are getting on with the business of living. Homes and cars are fitted with mobility friendly technology, dogs are trained and available with colour coded walking sticks to help the visually impaired.  Auditory aids are issued and laptops  are given to help the auditory impaired.

 A disabled person must be  registered with their local council  and then make contact with the Her Majesty Revenue and Customs for disability payments. These credits make it easier for the disabled to live independent lives.  If they are able to drive, they get priority free parking in most places across the nation. To ensure equality at work, employers are mandated to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate disabled applicants or employees. Equality law recognises that bringing about equality for disabled people mean changing the way in which employment is structured. It may mean the removal of physical barriers and or providing extra support.

Disabled people in Nigeria must feel like  they are second class or even third class citizens. They must feel ignored  and unappreciated by all save the ones from wealthy families. The journey from birth to the grave is marred by a life time of indignities and survival mechanisms designed to cope with the daily injustice meted because of their inherent disability. They are faced with the complexities of issues which surround their socialisation in society.  This is in addition to the discrimination and prejudice they face on a daily basis.

The main difference between the way the disabled are treated in Nigeria and in the UK lies mainly in our perception of what is disability. Some disabilities can be conquered or developed. Disability is not a plague. Physical disability is not the end of the world, indeed, very few disabilities are limiting. Man must continue to develop self till disabilities become stepping stones to destiny. Given the paucity of funds and care, disabled or physically handicapped people who grow up in  homes like the Cheshire Home for the Handicap battle with hunger, impoverishment and all sorts of social challenges. Some make it out to be teachers, tailors and so on. But the truth of the matter is handicap people struggle in N
igeria because they are not in the planning and budget of politicians. They are perceived as sub humans.   Obviously, the poorer you are as a disabled person, the worse your fate. But could we be missing out on genius by turning a blind eye to the intellectual development of our disabled?

A few examples from around us indicate that unless we sort out our attitude and genuinely ensure the disabled are able to live independent lives, we may be missing out in their untapped potential opportunities.  Take Vincent Van Gogh who had a mental illness. He is regarded as one of the greatest painters the world has ever seen.  In his ten year painting career, he produced 900 painting and 1100 drawings. He suffered from depression which worsened over time. On July 27 1890, at the age of 37, he shot himself in the chest. He died two days later in hospital.

Ludwig van Beethoven was deaf by the time he was 8 years old.  He is widely regarded as one of the greatest composers in history. Inspite of his disability, he immersed himself in his work and created some of the greatest works of music. Some of which are the 9thSymphony, the 5th Piano Concerto, the Violin Concerto, the Late Quartets and his Missa Solemnis. He achieved all these despite being deaf.

John Nash’s story is immortalised in the powerful film, ‘A beautiful Mind’.  John Forbes Nash is an American Mathematician whose work in game theory, differential geometry and partial differential equations are considered ground breaking. Nash suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. Stephen Hawking is  famous   in spite of the fact that he suffers from a motor neurone disease. An academic celebrity,  Hawking is severely disabled loosing the use of his arms, legs and voice.

The point is clear. Intellectual prowess can be hidden in a disabled body. We need to begin to see disability in a different way or start a conversation about how we treat the disabled amongst us. Disabled people don’t need our sympathy, they need to know that we accept them as our equal intellectually.

 

Tundun Adeyemo
Published in TELL.

 

Nigeria on Parade

It is safe to say that Central London was at a standstill at the recent Nigerian Diaspora Direct Investment Summit organised by the Central Association of Nigerians in the UK (CANUK)  at the Grand Hotel near Trafalgar Square in Central London.  What started as an idea in the mind of the Chairman of the association, Chief Bimbo Folayan eventually crystallised into a ball room filled with Nigerians who had dreams, ambitions but needed a little something to help them to either buy a home, set up a business,  transfer money or invest generally in Nigeria.

The  aim of  the Investment Summit was to help the Diaspora and Nigerians – about 2million of us – in the UK ‘help Nigerians in Nigeria financially’. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development  had recently revealed that Nigeria is the largest recipient of foreign direct investment attracting a total of $7.03 billion in 2012.  The two day summit was put together with the support of the Nigerian High Commission in London, Federal Ministry of Trade and Investments, British African Business Alliance (BABA), Shell, Business Council of Africa (BCA), United Kingdom Trade and Investment (UKTI), Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and several other stakeholders. According to the NDDIS website, the Summit was a step in making ‘ a paradigm shift from the endless search for Foreign Direct Investment and to tap into the Diaspora’. The Diaspora, made up of a healthy mixture of people at various stages of the financial ladder, were very keen to get their hands on their slice of the Nigerian ‘cake’. 

The Summit was  a platform for banks to entice potential investors with an array of products and incentives as part of an intensive drive  to boost foreign direct investment in Nigeria. Finance Houses such as IBTC Stanbic Bank, Ecobank and Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria were ably represented, all keen to grab a slice of the Diasporan market.  Their products included mortgages based on UK salaries, portfolio management, help with remittances and low interest loans.  Oyo, Bayelsa and Kaduna States were at hand to promote their states as the chief places for investments to strive. It must be said that Oyo State’s Exhibition was by far the most impressive. Their glossy brochure coupled with the presence of about 20 representatives from different departments in Oyo State, further cemented the Restoration Agenda of Mr. Ajimobi.  The Summit was the perfect place also to network.

Ayo Sonoiki, an online radio personality at Blogtalk radio voiced the scepticism of many Nigerians when she interviewed the Canuck Chairman, Chief Folayan, a couple of days before the event. She queried the drive for foreign investment when Nigeria had teething problems with security, high unemployment, criminality, electricity, harsh business climate, terrible infrastructure and in many places no access to fast speed internet. She gave several examples of people who had moved to Nigeria to set up a business only to return months or years later burnt from the ‘Nigerian experience’.  She spoke about the frustrations of getting things done in Nigeria where administrative red tape/bottle necks is the order of the day. Many Nigerians listening recognised the prevalent corruption without which not much gets done. Ayo Sonoiki was very adamant that Nigeria was not serious about Foreign Direct Investment.

The response she got each time was positive from Mr Folayan, an incurable optimist. He argued that Nigeria was the fastest growing country in Africa with a 7% growth rate. The issue according to Mr Folayan is the Chinese, Lebanese, Indians are investing their time and money in Nigeria, what about Nigerians? The United States also joined the band wagon of countries seeking to invest more in Nigeria by promising that Nigeria was part of the seven countries targeted in a $7. billion  power windfall .

The radio interview also featured the Chairman of the British Nigerian Alliance, David Smith who found Nigeria ripe for investment.  It was very exciting to note that even though Nigeria may be having challenges, Nigerians living in the Diaspora believed in Nigeria. The Grand hotel hall was packed full on both days of the events. Many Nigerians were able to open bank accounts from the UK for the first time.

The event on Saturday was strictly for women. The wife of the Governor of Oyo State, Mrs Florence Ajimobi, started it off  by encouraging women to be more proactive in community and social affairs. Hon. Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Chairwoman of Diaspora Committe, House of Representatives in her talk spoke eloquently and from the heart, about the vices Nigerians engage in when they travel out of the country. Prostitution, a huge problem in Italy and the bane of families in Benin and Edo States in Nigeria, needed tackling by all women.  She urged the women in the Diaspora to work together to fight domestic violence wherever it rears its head. The Saturday morning event nearly had the feel of church to it, only that there were no bells and no piano playing in the back ground.

The Summit ended on a very high note. Most people who attended would have felt a certain high from the speeches that there was lot more to get done in Nigeria. That  same night was the first ever Nigerian UK Events Awards  and  Dinner  to celebrate Nigerians working in the UK events industry. The Hilton Hotel in the Docklands area of Southeast London was filled with at least two hundred Nigerians who were entertained by live music and a mouth watering buffet meal.

Organised by Jumoke Ariyo, CEO of Splendour  Events Design Company, Vanessa Oluwole of LvLv Events and Tope Otufale of Divine  Inspiration. The Dinner and Award Night celebrated unsung heroes of the Nigerian  Creative Industry in the UK.  Among the dignitaries who attended the event were the Mr Shina Alege of the Nigerian High Commission, Deputy Mayor of Lambeth Council Adedamola Aminu, Former Speaker of Hackney, Susan Fajana Thomas and Chief Bimbo Folayan, Chairman of the Central Association of Nigerians in the UK. The awards ceremony ended with an after event party at the J5 Restaurant in Deptford.

 

 

P.S: A huge thanks to Mr Ayo Akinfe.
Photocredits: Micheal Tubes Creation and Vanguard.com
Photos: Mr Abimbola Folayan
– Honourable Abike Arewa-Dabiri
– Mrs Florence Ajimobi

Tundun Adeyemo
 

A Profile On Nigeria's Education.

If you haven’t read this before now, here it is. An Assessment of Nigerian Education from Unicef.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Over the last decade, Nigeria’s exponential growth in population has put immense pressure on the country’s resources and on already overstretched public services and infrastructure. With children under 15 years of age accounting for about 45 per cent of the country’s population, the burden on education and other sectors has become overwhelming.

Forty per cent of Nigerian children aged 6-11 do not attend any primary school with the Northern region recording the lowest school attendance rate in the country, particularly for girls. Despite a significant increase in net enrollment rates in recent years, it is estimated that about 4.7 million children of primary school age are still not in school. (Emphasis mine).

Increased enrollment rates have also created challenges in ensuring quality education and satisfactory learning achievement as resources are spread more thinly across a growing number of students. It is not rare to see cases of 100 pupils per teacher or students sitting under trees outside the school building because of the lack of classrooms.

This situation is being addressed by current efforts of the Nigerian Government with the implementation of the Basic Education scheme. The compulsory, free Universal Basic Education (UBE) Act was passed into law in 2004 and represents the Government’s strategy to fight illiteracy and extend basic education opportunities to all children in the country.

However the number of schools, facilities and teachers available for basic education remain inadequate for the eligible number of children and youths. This is more so in urban areas where there is population pressure. Under these conditions, teaching and learning cannot be effective; hence the outcomes are usually below expectation.

Another challenge in Nigeria is the issue of girls’ education. In the North particularly, the gender gap remains particularly wide and the proportion of girls to boys in school ranges from 1 girl to 2 boys to 1 to 3 in some States. Many children do not attend school because their labour is needed to either help at home or to bring additional income into the family.

Many families cannot afford the associated costs of sending their children to school such as uniforms and textbooks. For others, the distance to the nearest school is a major hindrance. Another cause of low enrolment, especially in the North, is cultural bias. Most parents do not send their children, especially girls, to school and prefer to send them to Qur’anic schools rather than formal schools.

Even when children enrol in schools, many do not complete the primary cycle. According to current data, 30% of pupils drop out of primary school and only 54% transit to Junior Secondary Schools. Reasons for this low completion rate include child labour, economic hardship and early marriage for girls.
In the last few years, especially since the launching of the Universal Basic Education Act, much has been achieved in the reconstruction of dilapidated school buildings and construction of new ones, supply of desks and other needed furniture as well as the provision of toilet facilities.

However, the child friendly school concept, which UNICEF is advocating for, is not comprehensively adopted by the various States in Nigeria. A majority of primary schools, especially in rural areas, lack water, electricity and toilet facilities. For example, on average, there is only one toilet for 600 pupils in the primary school system. Despite political commitment to trying to reverse years of neglect in the education sector and a significant increase of the Federal funding, investment in basic education is still low compared to other Sub-Saharan countries.

For all these reasons, prospects of Nigeria achieving Education For All by 2015 remain frail.

Culled from:
http://www.unicef.org/nigeria/children_1937.html

Books for your charity in Africa?

I have not been here for a very long time.

A lot has happened in the time I have been away…

1. It was my birthday on the 9th of June……… Yes, I was a year older. lol. I had an amazing day actually. I cannot really remember the details. But, it was more than good. It was great. Thank you to the 500-800 people who stopped by (on Facebook),  to wish me a happy birthday. Then, there were those who called, sent texts, emails etc. Thank you. I have acknowledged this before, this is just a repeat.

2. Andy Murray just won the Wimbledon Title. Congrats  to Andy. I have to say for those of us who have followed  Andy Murray’s story, the lesson from his life is perseverance. Dont you dare give up! Dont give up on your self, on your life, on your dreams, on your ambitions. Dont give up. Simple.

3. Does anyone need books for their charity any where in Africa? The books are ready to be picked up at any time THIS WEEK MAX. Before you contact me, the books are in the staff room of a school in Luton, Bedfordshire, England. I have had some responses from Italy, Nigeria, which is great. But I am still yet to seal this deal.

It is expensive shipping books. I wish I could ship them out. They would be useful to secondary school children, anywhere in Africa. But the costs of it!  If you are thinking to ship to Nigeria, you would need about £300, I reckon.  The problem is if you do decide to pay that amount to a shipper, who comes for it, I wont be held accountable if you don’t like the books.  The problem with junk!

If this is for you, email me: Tundun.Adeyemo@gmail.com

Its sad here, we throw away so many books. So many. Its unbelievable. I know there are kids in Africa who don’t even own a book. What can I do?  How do I raise £300 for charity. Any ideas?

Every Blessing
Tundun Adeyemo