Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Battle To Salvage Our Educational Sector!

The last might not have been heard of the protracted ASUU strike. Even if this recent round of madness seizes, there are no guarantees that this will be the last of its kind. However, it is a futile venture to debate over who is to blame for the over five month’s academic redundancy that undergraduates of public universities have been condemned to. Enough punditry already exists in dissecting that, and opinions remain polarized.

However, the decadence in our educational sector is beyond the ASUU strike, and all the union’s demands. In this sector, we have truly lost the way. It is now a mantra that we produce graduates that is not worth their certificates. It has been said, and not without reason that education is not meant to fill the mind, it is meant to open the mind. It should not just teach one how to make a living, but how to live a life. Thus, education is a better safeguard than a standing army. For over two decades, our universities, polytechnics and colleges of education, have specialized in producing men and women that are not armed with the prerequisite skills to face the many demands of our generation. Our curriculum has outlived their uses. Our laboratories are havens of scientific archives. The entire system has become too obstinate, and adapting the culture of our universities to meet the challenges of today, has proven to be abortive. Today, there is a hue and cry over how thousands of our youths now pursue the Golden Fleece abroad. The statistics are startling. A report in 2010 reported that Nigerians fuel the UK educational sector to the tune of 246 billion naira; over 60 percent of the Nigeria 2012 education allocation. The figures in 2012 suggest that Nigerians studying abroad spends a total of 1.5 trillion naira annually. No doubt, the economies of Ghana, United Kingdom and the United States are the biggest beneficiary of this fortune. These realities give the ASUU Movement some impetus, but one wonders if the current modus operandi of the movement is the best path to thread.

It’s worth saying that it is not only our universities that have brought about a state of debacle in our educational sector, the primary and secondary schools share a part of the blame. Many of these schools are below acceptable standard. There is a huge level of lukewarm attitude in our public secondary schools that needs sacrosanct attention. The apathy of many of the teachers towards their jobs is a testimony to why all sorts of unwholesome activities now take place in our schools. Suffice it to say, one should mention that despite government efforts to ensure that teachers of public primary and secondary schools are adequately remunerated, a lot still needs to be done in that regard.

Surely, the educational sector is one area of our national life that cannot be treated with kid gloves. All stakeholders must be sincere in their quest to salvage our education. We must understand that an investment in knowledge pays the best interest.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

12 Universal Skills You Need to Succeed at Anything

1. Prioritizing and time management. – If success depends on effective action, effective action depends on the ability to focus your attention where it is needed most, when it is needed most. This is the ability to separate the important from the unimportant, which is a much needed skill in all walks of life, especially where there are ever increasing opportunities and distractions.

2. Keeping a clean, organized space. – Successful people have systems in place to help them find what they need when they need it – they can quickly locate the information required to support their activities. When you’re disorganized, that extra time spent looking for a phone number, email address or a certain file forces you to drop your focus. Once it’s gone, it takes a while to get it back – and that’s where the real time is wasted. Keeping both your living and working spaces organized is crucial.

3. Critical thinking and information analysis. – We are living in the information age where, on a daily basis, we are constantly exposed to an ever growing and rapidly changing pool of information. Being able to evaluate this information, sort the valuable from the trivial, analyze its relevance and meaning, and relate it to other information is a priceless skill with universal applicability.

4. Logical, informed decision making. – Decision making is simply knowing what to do based on the information available. Being able to respond quickly and effectively with the information you have in your head is essential to accomplishing anything.

5. Using Google proficiently for online research. – You don’t have to know everything, but you should be able to quickly and painlessly find out what you need to know. Google is a gateway to nearly infinite knowledge; it has indexed websites containing information on just about everything and everyone. If you’re having trouble finding something using Google, it’s time to learn a few new tricks.

6. Basic accounting and money management. – It’s a simple fact that our modern society is governed by the constant exchange of money. Money allows you to maintain a roof over your head and put food on the table each night. Knowing how to properly manage your money – tracking and recording your expenses and income, saving and investing – is not only an important skill for thriving, it’s an important skill that helps you survive.

7. Effective communication and negotiating. – Give the people in your life the information they need rather than expecting them to know the unknowable. Don’t try to read other people’s minds, and don’t make other people try to read yours. Most problems, big and small, within a family, friendship, or business relationship, start with bad communication. Speak honestly, and then give others a voice and show them that their words matter. And remember that compromise and effective negotiating are vital parts of effective communication.

8. Relaxation. – Stress leads to poor health, poor decision-making, poor thinking, and poor socialization. So be attentive to your stress level and take short breaks when you need to. Slow down. Breathe. Give yourself permission to pause, regroup and move forward with clarity and purpose. When you’re at your busiest, a brief recess can rejuvenate your mind and increase your productivity. These short breaks will help you regain your sanity, and allow you to reflect on your recent actions so you can be sure they’re in line with your goals.

9. Proficient writing and note-taking. – The written word isn’t going away; it is used in every walk of life. Learning to write proficiently so that others can understand you is critical. Also, using your writing skills to take useful notes is one of the most productive things you can do, regardless of the task at hand. Writing things down – taking notes – helps us remember what we hear, see, or read when we’re learning something new, or trying to remember something specific.

10. Relationship networking. – In a world dominated by constant innovation and information exchange, relationship networking creates the channel through which ideas and information flow, and in which new ideas are shared, discussed and perfected. A large relationship network, carefully cultivated, can be leveraged to meet the right people, find jobs, build businesses, learn about new trends, spread ideas, etc.

11. Positivity. – Research shows that although we think that we act because of the way we feel, in fact, we often feel because of the way we act. A great attitude always leads to great experiences. People who think optimistically see the world as a place packed with endless opportunities, especially in trying times. Be positive, smile, and make it count. Pretend today is going to be great. Do so, and it will be.

12. Self-discipline. – Self-discipline is a skill. It is the ability to focus and overcome distractions. It involves acting according to what you think instead of how you feel in the moment. It often requires sacrificing the pleasure and thrill for what matters most in life. Therefore it is self-discipline that drives you to succeed in the long-term. (MANDG).

Monday, November 18, 2013

Lessons From The Anambra Governorship Elections!

As if to confirm the fears of many about the entire process, the Anambra gubernatorial elections have ended in shambles, and has raised more dust than it has settled. After weeks of intrigues, crude politicking, insane bickering and unending tension, the poll has created a state of debacle. Indeed, INEC claims the final outcome remain inconclusive, and are yet to declare Willie Obniano of APGA as the legitimate winner of the poll, although it is almost carved in stone that he will be the next governor of the Light of the Nation. As numerous punditry begin to emerge from the aftermath of the process, the elections have already taught us more than a handful of lessons.

Without throwing stones unnecessarily, it is a truism that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), was ill prepared for the elections. These inefficiences are not novel, however, with the diatribe of assuring words from Prof Attahiru Jega and his commission, many were expecting INEC to score some points, and restore the confidence of many Nigerians and the global community about it's integrity and competence, even as 2015 looms. Yet, in what was considered a dress rehearsal for 2015, INEC failed grossly. Inadequate materials, delay of officials and electoral facilities, compromise of some of the commission's staff, illegitimate disenfranchisement of some registered voters, rescheduling of voting in some wards, have all provided sufficient evidences to show that INEC has not learned from history. At the first time of asking, INEC has failed it's litmus test.

For reasons too obvious to rehash here, the Anambra governorship elections has always been the crux of elections in the south-east. APC and it's candidate Chris Ngige were looking to build a forte by clinching the state. If that had been the case, it would have helped to salvage the widely held view of APC as a party of Western and Northern bed fellows. The average man or woman from Anambra, and indeed the East as a whole, is still very sceptical of the APC and it's agenda. The logic holds sway that since GEJ rule is being considered as "Eastern Nigeria" serving their own turn, the APC would remain an infidel and dangerous partner. It has been said and not without reason, that Ngige's sin was to have opted to pitch his tent with APC. In hindsight, one wonders if Ngige would have taken the rest of his contestants to the cleaners if he was of any other party affiliation. Perhaps, the question many has failed to ask is this: Did Ngige do enough during his first stint as governor, for him to demand the mandate of the electorate again?

Suffice it to say, the emergence of Willie Obiano as governor could usher in a return to the politics of godfatherism in the state. The tales of Chris Uba and Chris Ngige is still fresh in our minds. Anambra politics have been hallmarked by years of untold impunity, where godfathers seek blood from their godsons the moment they decline in doing their bidding. Is Peter Obi in the mould of such shenanigans that will unleash the ultimate pressure on Obiano? We can only permutate at the moment, as only time will reveal how far the union of Obi and Obiano will last.

While it is true that many of our elections are far from free and fair, it is also very true that those that are defeated in the course of elections hardly takes defeat in good faith. If any politician is vanquished in an electoral process, the process must have been flawed. This mindset makes them perennial enemy of the government of the day. There is no harm in finding recourse in the electoral tribunal, it just should not be a baseless routine. Moreover, history is replenished with adequate instances of electoral petitions remaining at the tribunal, while the tenure of the concerned politician has almost elapsed.

It remains to be seen if the gubernatorial polls would be abruptly cancelled. This is a very unlikely scenario in this part of the world, especially when it is the incumbent that is been contested against. Whatever the outcome, INEC has given us enough reasons to be very concerned about the elections in 2015.

Monday, November 11, 2013

20 Things Life Will Teach You!

Good day friends.
I hope this helps you in your walk of life.

1. You must create and look for opportunities: Opportunities rarely ever come knocking on the door of someone who's not seeking them. You have to create and seek opportunities for yourself. You have to take the initiative to get the ball rolling and the doors opening.

2. Negativity will only bring more of it: When you focus only on negativity, obviously that's all you will see. You will not seek out positivity, and even when positivity comes into your life, you'll look for the negative part of it.

3. Where you are does not determine where you can go: It doesn't matter if you're homeless or living in a mansion, poor or rich, or if you have a 4.0 grade point average or "failing", it won't make any difference in the future. There are countless rags to riches stories to back this point up. If you have the drive and talents, you can go anywhere. You create your own limitations and horizon.

4. If you can't help others, you can't help yourself: Even if it's just to hold the door for someone or some other simple gesture, it will do wonders for your life. You'll feel great and you'll eventually be returned the favor sometime during your life, whether you realize it or not. If you don't want to help others, then others won't want to help you, and nor should they.

5. Follow your passion, money will follow: If you have passion and have fun doing your job, then I wouldn't consider it a job. You can focus on creating even more passion for that subject and money will eventually follow you. If you focus only on the money, it won't come because you're focused on the quantity of your work and not the quality.

6. Put God first: No matter what your aspirations are, irrespective of your innate talents, you must realize that the greatest men on earth are not the smartest. The God factor makes a difference in a man's life. Not only must you recognize the place of God in your life, you must make that place the priority.

7. Planning is good but so is being spontaneous: Planning ahead in business and in life is important but so is being able to quickly change that plan. Various people and events will get in the way of your plans, so you have to be able to modify or forget your plans at times. Be spontaneous once and awhile, it makes life interesting.

8. You have many talents: You may be a talented athlete or musician but you probably have ten more talents you don't even know about. When people find something they're good at, they only focus on that instead of seeing what else they can do.

9. Don't work hard without rewards: What's the point of working hard to follow your dreams if you aren't going to treat yourself along the way. Each little or big goal you accomplish should be rewarded with a proportionate treat, maybe a day off or a big slice of cake.

10. Money does bring happiness: As I said, you shouldn't be chasing money but when you do earn it, you know you've been accomplishing something. It feels great and brings you happiness because you know you'll have more freedom and time to do what you want.

11. Someone always has it worse: At times you may be having a bad day, but stop yourself and think about it; there has to be millions of other people are having a worse day than you.

12. You'll need others: Make as many friends as you possibly can and never burn bridges. You will need others for your success.

13. Being open-minded is the key to more knowledge: If you want to know more about the world you have to be open-minded. Give everything a chance.

14. Failure is great: One of the most important, if not the most important steps to success is failure. You have to fail at least once, but it's better if you've failed multiple times. You can learn so much more from your failures than you could any other way. And when you finally achieve success, you'll appreciate it so much more.

15. Most people are actually nice: This is something I've only recently realized. Most people are nice, but not usually to strangers. Once they get to know you and you get to know them, they will most likely seem like very nice people.

16. Words and thoughts control everything: What you say and think will ultimately become reality. If you say you're going to fail, then you will because you'll find a way to make it happen. If you say you're going to succeed, the same will happen, you'll find a way.

17. Your view is the reality: How you see an event or situation is how it exists. If you see something as tragic and negative then that's what it means to you. If you see something as exciting and positive, then that's what it is.

18. Inspiration and motivation are everywhere: I don't care where you are, there is something there that can motivate and inspire you. You can be at war is some far away country, in horrible conditions, but there will be something there to keep you going and strive for something better. You just have to recognize it and keep it with you.

19. You can change the world: Every single person has the ability to change the world whether directly or indirectly. When you change your life and the lives of those around you, you've changed the world. Small things that you do can make a huge impact on the world.

20.If it were easy everyone would do it: This is why get rich quick schemes will never be true. If it was so quick and easy then everyone would be millionaires. Making money and accomplishing tasks is hard work, but well worth it.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

30 Questions To Make You Think!

1.How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?

2.Which is worse, failing or never trying?

3.If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do?

4.When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?

5.What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world?

6.If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?

7.Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?

8.If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?

9.To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken?

10.Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?

11.You’re having lunch with three people you respect and admire. They all start criticizing a close friend of yours, not knowing she is your friend. The criticism is distasteful and unjustified. What do you do?

12.If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?

13.Would you break the law to save a loved one?

14.Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity?

15.What’s something you know you do differently than most people?

16.How come the things that make you happy don’t make everyone happy?

17.What one thing have you not done that you really want to do? What’s holding you back?

18.Are you holding onto something you need to let go of?

19.If you had to move to a state or country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why?

20.Do you push the elevator button more than once? Do you really believe it makes the elevator faster?

21.Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton?

22.Why are you, you?

23.Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend?

24.Which is worse, when a good friend moves away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you?

25.What are you most grateful for?

26.Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones?

27.Is it possible to know the truth without challenging it first?

28.Has your greatest fear ever come true?

29.Do you remember that time 5 years ago when you were extremely upset? Does it really matter now?

30.What is your happiest childhood memory? What makes it so special?