Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Lagos And The BRT Scourge

At inception, the Babatunde Raji Transport (popularly referred to as BRT), was applauded as a materstroke that was going to be a panacea to the ills of transportation in the state. It proved to be a prototype for other states. Indeed, it's novelty was not just why it attracted widespread enconmium; the timeliness of the transport was equally ingenious. However, the recent trend and issues surrounding the BRT buses leaves a lot to be desired. In more cases than one, there is the issue of theft that has become a nagging feature of the buses. If it's not armed robbers holding people to ransom, it is miscreants 'picking pockets'. Though theft is not just a characteristics of the BRT buses only, it is becoming a menace of some sorts. There was an incidence recently of how armed men seized the wheel from the driver and wrecked havoc on the hapless passengers, looting away their treasures. As if this was not enough ignominy, these men of the underworld gunned down a number of the passengers. What is more? The BRT system has been enmeshed in untold corrupt practices. Tickets are not adequately accounted for, and the 'man know man' syndrome at boarding points, appears to have crept in. It is true that the system has given employment to many semi-skilled and unskilled labour, however, proper monitoring, integrity and adequate accountability should never be compromised. In addition to that, staff of the transport system should be taught a thing or two about good manners. Strange but true, the BRT buses have become another form of 'Molue'. The buses are witnessing overcrowding. These days, the number of those that stand in the buses is even greater than those sitting. This arithmetic anomaly has left the buses in very poor state, and has incurred other ills on the buses. Penultimately, it is sacrosanct that these issues be swiftly attended to by the rightful authorities, before it promptly turns what was intended to be a blessing, into becoming a curse for many Nigerians.

Monday, August 19, 2013

8 Things You Forgot to Be Grateful For

1. The unique privilege of being YOU. YOU are one of a kind. You are privilege enough to have something that makes you different from everyone else. Embrace your individuality. Self-worth comes from one thing: thinking that you are worthy. So appreciate what it feels like underneath your own skin. You are amazing just the way you are. Too many days are wasted comparing ourselves to others and wishing to be someone or something we aren’t. Every one of us has our own strengths and weaknesses, and it is only when you accept everything you are, and aren’t, that you will truly find the happiness and fulfillment you seek. 2. Every single experience that led you to today. Life isn’t about a single moment of great triumph and attainment. It’s about the trials and errors that get you there – the blood, sweat, and tears – the small, inconsequential things you do every day. It all matters in the end – every step, every regret, every decision, and every affliction. The seemingly useless happenings add up to something. The minimum wage job you had in high school. The evenings you spent socializing with coworkers you never see anymore. The hours you spent writing thoughts on a personal blog that no one reads. Contemplation about elaborate future plans that never came to be. All those lonely nights spent reading novels and news columns and comics strips and fashion magazines and questioning your own principles on life and sex and religion and whether or not you’re good enough just the way you are. All of this has strengthened you. All of this has led you to every success you’ve ever had. All of this has made you who you are today. (I’ve written about this extensively in the “Goals and Success” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.) 3. What your daily struggles are teaching you. Challenges are what make life interesting; working to overcome them is what gives life meaning. Failure and struggles keep you humble, success and achievement keep you glowing, but only faith and determination keeps you going. So stay focused, and celebrate your efforts too, not just your outcomes. Remember that the opposite of failing is not succeeding; the opposite of failing is trying. Your daily efforts are what make it all possible. Appreciate what they teach you, even when they don’t lead you to an ideal outcome. 4. The gift of now. In between all your goals, priorities, obligations, and everything else that might appear on one of your upcoming to-do lists, there are moments called “life” that still have to be lived and enjoyed. The trick is to make the very best of now, and value it for what it’s worth. In other words, don’t wish all your time away by waiting for better times ahead. Smile, right now, because you can. 5. The way every moment is a new beginning. If you feel stressed and stuck, let go, take a deep breath and appreciate the fact that this moment is a new beginning. Stop thinking about what might have been and starting looking at what can be. Right now is a perfect time to start over. This moment is a brand new opportunity to rebuild what you truly want. There are three little words that can release you from your past struggles and regrets and guide you forward to a positive new beginning. These words are: “From now on…” 6. The familiar faces, places and situations you rely on daily. As Cynthia Ozick once said, “We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.” Have you ever noticed that the more familiar you become with an amazing person, a beautiful place, or an ideal situation in your life, the more you seem to take it for granted? It’s like you somehow believe life is supposed to be this way – like it won’t ever change. And most of the time, all the maintenance these wonderful things need is a little time, attention, and deliberate appreciation. So how often do you pause to appreciate your life and everyone and everything in it? How often do you stop dead in your tracks and think, “Wow, thank you”? 7. A reasonably healthy body. In other words, if you got sick today you could recover. Never underestimate the gift of your health. It’s the greatest wealth you will ever own. It’s the foundation for every chance at happiness and success life has to offer. Your body is the only place you will truly ever live. Respect your body. Eat well. Sleep well. Breathe deeply. Move harmoniously. 8. The fact that you are online reading this. Not only are you wealthy enough to be online right now, but you can read too. Believe it or not, only about one third of the world’s population has internet access. And, even crazier than that, there are roughly 774 million people in the world who aren’t educated enough to read. Be grateful today and remember that someone somewhere is aspiring to be where you are today. (MANDG).

Monday, August 12, 2013

2013/2014 EPL Premier League: Uncertainties, Predictions and Permutations!!!

For more reasons than one, it promises to be the most intriguing and pulsating season in the Barclays Premier League. The stage is set, the script can only be conjured by the ingenuity of fate, and the plot is a stuff of dreams! It is not often that the season commences with the top three having a watershed at the top. Sir Alex Ferguson was close to being an octogenarian at United, but even at the ripe age of 71, all hats went off for the Scot. Replacing Fergie was always going to be a tough act to follow, but for some reasons that do not require a rehash here, Former Everton boss, David Moyes was thrown the gauntlet; and like a fighter he has proven to be over a decade at the Toffes, he embraced the challenge. However, Moyes will be aware that ambitions at Old Trafford always skyrocket, and the winning tradition is a brutal demand by everyone associated with the club. It’s a daunting task for Moyes, but it is one he appears ready to embrace. What will United fans be ready to take as success at the end of the season remains to be seen. Last year's runner-up, Manchester City has also gotten a change at the top. The serene and soft talking Manuel Pellegrini comes into untold Arab wealth; but with such fortunes comes the burden of expectations. Mancini suffered such fate last season, and He has already been give the finance to acquire the double duo of Alvaro Negredo, Jesus Navas, Fernandinho and Stevan Jovetic. Instant success and particularly an improvement in their European adventures will be the inevitable demand for Pellegrini’s coaching resume. What is more? Across London is the return of the Special cum Happy one. Returning back to a club where he once experienced untold success is always going to be a risk of some sorts. However, Jose Mourinho’s rise and rise in football has been a tale of uncanny risks and the sublime belief in self. Nine managers in nine years aptly sums up life at Chelsea, but the amazing thing behind this insanity at the Bridge, is that the past nine years have been a flourish. Four League titles, Two FA cups and a Champions League medal among others can only be interpreted as success. The plot thickens in anticipation of what the Mourinho second coming holds, as he has a large squad to tinker with. And then, there is Arsenal and Arsene. These days the gunners have almost become a synonym for barren. But that is why Arsenal provides an intriguing spectacle this season. A man who is down needn’t fear a fall, and the gunners will be out to prove a point. But whether they have the dexterity and quality that is demanded to rightfully prove this point is the million dollar question. Will the hierarchy still just be concerned with a an healthy financial status, and will premium be shifted to decorating the cabinet after almost a decade of futility? For Spurs, they have the nefarious stigma of being the nearly men. They lost the fourth spot to Arsenal last season by a whisker just as it was the season before. Though, Chelsea was their Achilles’ heels then. It appears that their chances of repeating or surpassing last season’s run are hinged upon the future of Gareth Bale. For Liverpool, they have learned to tailor their aspirations within the confines of reality. A top four finish will seem like a Champions League medal for the Reds, even as the Suarez saga lingers. For the new boys, Crystal Palace, Cardiff and Hull City it is a fight to stake their claim among the elites. It will be a long and herculean battle for survival. That will be their primary objective, while a fairy tale run in the Cups, will not be a bad idea. Indeed, all is set for the fiesta to begin. As they say, the League is not a 100 metre thing, but a marathon. In the final analysis, the table barely lies. Whatever the case will be at the end, we know that the football will never disappoint us. That is why we love the game!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

10 Excuses You Must Drop To Be Happy!

1. “It’s too late for me.” As you grow up, you see people achieve things like getting a degree, building a career, making money, getting married, having kids and so on. This sets the expectation in your mind that you too need to achieve certain things by a certain age. And if you move at a slower pace than others, this limiting belief holds you back from going after what you really want right NOW. Alternative: “Now is a perfect time to start.” – Get over the baseless, default beliefs that certain things have to be done by a certain age. The simple fact is that life is a series of events based on your own actions at any givenmoment. You can have those events happen in your life in any order or sequence you like. Age has nothing to do with it. 2. “I don’t have time.” Everyone gets the same 24 hours a day as you. How is it that some people havefound a way to make a difference during these same 24 hours? Alternative:“I need to properly manage my time.” – Become conscious of the way you use your time. Get ruthless about cutting out time-wasting activities. Schedule, prioritize and delegate as necessary. Focus on the quality of the things you do, instead of the quantity. 3. “I’m too plain and boring.” Boring vs. interesting is a matter of choice andopinion. Each of us is given a stage, a scene and a few props. What makes a difference in the story of your life is how you choose to interpret and play your role. Alternative:“I’m in charge of writing my own story.” – Choose to stop being boring. Figure out what ‘interesting’ means to you, and everytime you feel that you are too boring, do one thing that will move you towards your definition of interesting. 4. “I don’t deserve it.” There are two versions of this. The first makes you think that you are not worthy of something beautiful like love, respect, successand so on. The second makes you feel that you are unfairly targeted by life’s difficulties. Either way, this excuse ties you up and holds you down. Alternative:“I have plenty of good options in front of me.” – When you catch yourself wondering “why me?”, ask “why not me?” Remember, in the grand scheme of things, youare just the same as anyone else; neither nature, nor God, displays favoritism or unfairness. So learn to accept both the good and the bad that falls on your plate with grace.(Read The Power of Now.) 5. “I’m responsible for X,Y or Z, so taking care of myself in not a priority.” This one is very common with parents, especially parents of little kids – I should know, I’m the queen of making this excuse! But unless you take good care of yourself, unless you approach life on a full tank, you arenot doing anyone any favors. Alternative:“I am a priority.” – Make time for yourself, to sleep, eat right, exercise, and replenish. It’s not selfishness, it’s just an elevated level of caring. When you are at yourbest, you can give the best to others. (Note: If you are a parent, be sure to stop by afineparent.comwhere we discuss this topic indetail.) 6. “Nobody understands me.” Everyone has their own life to worry about; everybody is busy. At the end of the day, nobody has the time or energy to figure anyone else out. If it really matters to you thatsomeone understands you better, simply communicate and make it easy for them to do so. Alternative:“I need to communicate clearly and act accordingly.” – Quit playing games. Say what you need to sayand do what you must. (And realize that it is not necessary thateveryone understands and agrees with you all the time.) 7. “Nobody cares about what I careabout.” Can you imagine what would happen if everyone behind a good cause took on this attitude? We’d never have any charitable organizations, fuel-efficient cars, health breakthroughs, peace efforts, literacy drives…! Alternative:“I care about this because it’s important.” – Take a stand. If you care about something, even something personal, then become a champion of the cause and help others understand why you care so much. 8. “I’m not smart enough.” It starts off innocently, you try to do something and either get stuck or fail, and youthink, “I’m so stupid.” Over years of repeated use though, sadly, this statement becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Alternative:“It’s time to practice.” – When you catch yourself talking down to your own intelligence, stop. Identify the one thing that makes you feel unintelligent and invest some time and energy into learning how to improve in this area. Build up that confidence! Start with something small, figure out how to perfect the next small step. The more you learn, and the more setbacks you overcome, the more confident you will become. 9. “My parents are responsible for the way I turned out.” There ought to be an expiration date on this one. Yes, your parents are responsible for helping you start the story of your life. As you grow though, it is your responsibility to take things into your hands and write out the rest of your story with your own decisions and actions Alternative:“I am now in full control of my ownlife.” – Make a conscious choice to let your past make you better, not bitter. You can’t go back and change how you were raised. You can, however, start now and change how the rest of your life transpires. 10. “I don’t have enough discipline and drive.” Can you remember why you think this way? Chances are, you forced yourself to do something that you weren’t excited about and then you failed. Then, over a period of time you started to believe that you simply don’t have what it takes to stay disciplined. Alternative:“I just need to figure out how to motivate myself through this.” – Instead of forcing yourself to do something you don’t like, try to trick yourself, and automate as much of the required discipline as you possibly can by implementing habits that support your desired end result. Research hasconsistently shown that willpower is a limited and exhaustible resource for everyone, not just you. Those that are successful at staying disciplined are the ones who find ways to replace the brute force method with more creative, subtle routines and habits.(MANDG).

Saturday, August 3, 2013

APC And The Devil You Know!

And so they were two! In a country where vested interests is a seamless and viral disease, few anticipated that the dream of a merger party will be a mere figment of the imagination. Even Presidential Aide, Doyin Okupe, was so certain that such a party will never emerge that he asked us to call him a "bastard", if it does. But, after months of permutations, consultations, politicking, registration brouhaha and lobbying, the All Progressive Congress has emerged. The brainchild behind this new party are familiar names. Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Muhammadu Buhari are the names that first comes to mind. For many, APC is a congregation of strange bed fellows. The lingering fear is that the bed-sheet and the bed itself might soon be inadequate and a bone of contention for them all. Thus, many pundits believe that the APC by virtue of it's foundation and premise, is dead upon arrival. In sum, they are the "angel" we don't quite know enough of. But, say what you choose, the APC has finally crossed the Rubicon, and their trouble days have officially begun.
Make no mistakes about it, uprooting a party like the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), will be the most daunting of political feat. Not only has the PDP been the only ruling party we have known since a return to democracy in 1999, their malpractices is legendary. The PDP's structure of rigging has been perfected a long time ago, and it will naive to assume that the APC will wrestle power without a stern fight. PDP remains the incumbent party, and still have many renowned cronies behind it. They are the devil we know and have lived with for over 14 years. There is no need to rehash on the scorecard of the PDP over the past years. We can all draw our own conclusions.
However, though they will have us believe the contrary, the truth remains that the PDP must be feeling uneasy about the emergence of the APC. A true rival has arrived, and the days of political mismatch between the PDP and the rest is very much over. For Nigerians, the choice between the PDP and the APC is an intriguing one. Do we go with the familiar evil? Or the new rascals in town? 2015 will be the judge. The APC will face a tough time choosing it's leaders and deciding who gets what, and by what yardstick. Conclusively, it should be stated that surviving beyond 2015 will a big task for the APC. And a crucial point to their chances of success will be hitched upon who they present as their presidential candidate for 2015!