“Train your mind to see the good in every situation”.
The mortality rate (Death Rate) is very high to the extent that the population of the country is decreasing. People lost their lives and properties, some were displaced (IDPs), others are refugee while others are been malnourished yet the government takes no action. People are dying due to lack of food in the country especially in the north eastern part of the country.
The country is lacking Potential Security which will definitely lead to the breakdown of the country economic. We need adequate and equipped security in the country which will lead to the success of the nation. Insurgency is all over the places, herdsmen have rampage everywhere yet the government take no action.
Notwithstanding the sacrifice of the ill-equipped members of the armed forces the Boko Haram sect appears to have gained upper hand in the war on terror. Large towns like Bama, Gwoza, Mubi and Michika and hundreds of villages have been captured by the terrorists. Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced while not less than 13,000 have been killed by the criminal gang. Not less than 16 local governments in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States have been annexed while the combined landmass of the occupied areas is said to be 21,545 square kilometers of territory.
Apparently, peoples are raising good points but I still see those solution as something we must all come together to achieve irrespective of tribe, party and affiliation etc.
Northerners has to go back to drawing board and sort out so many issues. Many Yorubas and Igbos and other tribes engage themselves in one handwork or the other in other to make ends meet that if their parents are not buoyant enough to send them to school.
But, up North, the reverse is the case. A gate man that makes 10k in one month ends up having four wives with minimum of 20 children with of them as Almajiris. I still believe that this boko boys are product of Almajiri. North should find a way to abolish that system.North should find a way to abolish that system but course their political class use their acclaimed for their political purposes. Now the population of untrained children with no home training and lack of respect for elders has ended up hurting and hunting the North.
As far as the ongoing war against Boko Haram is concerned, there is no other news that could be cheering news to Nigerians and the international community as the release of the more than 200 schoolgirls, who were abducted from their dormitory in Chibok, Borno State, in April last upper year. Having waited for more than sixteen months, the world seems to have grown impatient, as everyone appears to be waiting with baited breath to receive the news about the girls’ return from the ‘Valley of the shadow of death.’ Even if the military and allied forces spring a surprise, experts believe that there is still a high hurdle to scale before Nigeria and its neighbours can be rid of terrorism.
My father was sent on a diplomatic mission to South Africa, which availed me the opportunity to travel to SA, but I kept in touch with my home country. While abroad, I studied Bcom Financial Management at Varsity College South Africa. I have always wanted to gain my first work experience in my beloved country.
I was having a concise discussion with my sister about doing something that will keep me busy, and empower me positively when I return to Nigeria before I go for my National Youth Service. She then told me about CODE, and I was immediately drawn to the idea of working for CODE as I got more knowledge on the amazing work that they do. She immediately put a call through Hamzat Lawal who is the CEO of Connected Development and told him that I was interested in doing my summer internship with his organization, he replied by telling her I should send him my CV and Cover Letter. A week later when I returned to Nigeria, I sent my CV and cover letter to Hamzat, who replied with an appointment on Monday by 11am. I felt excited, so I went through the organization website and did some reading to get to know more about CODE before going for the interview. After going through the website, I felt prompt and ready for the interview.
The day of the interview finally came, I was excited but nervous as well because I didn’t know what to expect. While approaching the office, I met Rita, CODEs Administrative officer at the door way, I introduced myself to her and the first thing she said to me was “you are 15minutes late”. That made me more nervous but I had to put myself together, after which I apologized for coming late. She then took me into the office and as I came in I greeted everyone. I went to the conference table where I was introduced to the interviewer by the name of Dotun Babayemi who is the Monitoring and Evaluation Expert for CODE. While seated on the hot sit, Dotun noticed I was sweating a bit and decided to go put on the air condition for me, which I thought was really nice of him. He asked me what I knew about CODE and I told him everything. He made the interview more relaxing as we laughed about some comments he made. The interview finally came to an end and we said our goodbyes.
On my way home I felt I didn’t do quite well at the interview so I was really concerned that they wouldn’t employ me. I called my sister and told her about the interview and how I think I messed up but she told me to calm down and not overthink things.
A day after the interview, I kept checking my mail to see if I got a mail from CODE. And on a Sunday afternoon, I finally got the mail I have been waiting for, which notified me that my application was successful and that I should resume work on Tuesday, July 12 by 8am. I was excited that I will be leaving the house every day, no more days of lazing around the house, time to be productive. Although I wasn’t too happy that I have to resume by 8am but such is life, so I had to accept it, and looking back now, I have come to realize that pushing yourself is more rewarding than staying in your comfort zone.
July 12 came and I went to work. I met with the team, and I must say they are really friendly and welcomed me warmly. I didn’t really do much work on my first day, but the second day till now has been work, work and work.
I partook at the launch of CODEs Virtual newsroom. The product from the Virtual newsroom is set to engage and empower marginalized people in rural areas to enhance their livelihoods. I was the note taker for the meeting. For me it wasn’t just all about taking down notes but to gain an in-depth understanding of Follow The Money campaign and this new initiative.
Some of the responsibilities I have been allocated to are: writing down minutes of most meetings and sharing them amongst the team members, final auditing of CODE’S financial report before been sent to one of our donor – HBF, and partaking in the WhatsApp hangout with CODES community reporters, where I engaged with the reporters and answered some of their questions.
I was opportuned to follow the CEO himself Mr Hamzat to TVC Nigeria for a live stream to give an update about Follow the Money and #SaveShikira campaign. On our way I asked him “so am just going to take pictures right, while you do the talking”? And he said “No Nkem, it’s not all about taking pictures, it’s for you to gain experience and interact with people”. I took it in and when we went to TVC office, I interacted with their staffs, which was a good experience for me.
I represented CODE at the Public Consultative Forum with Civil Society Organization and the Organized Private Sector on the 2017-2019 Medium Term Fiscal Framework that was hosted by the Honorable Minister of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma. The conference was very interesting and gave me the opportunity to learn many issues and insights in regards to the budget. It was an enriching experience for me.
CODE held a press conference on the 26th of July, on their work in the past as well as future projects. I attended the conference and my primary role was to write down minutes, record the entire session and transcribe it. Transcribing an audio recording into text format wasn’t an easy task at all, it was time consuming and it required patience but at the end of the day I managed to finish and it was worth it.
I have always wanted to work for an NGO that reaches out to the less privileged. I believe in giving back to the community with my time and voice, and CODE provides that platform for me to do that.
My experience at CODE so far has been an exceptional one. I am surrounded by skilled specialist with the main mission of empowering marginalized communities. Working with young experienced minds that are eager to make an impact in our society despite the economic conditions really inspires me. The experience and exposure I have gained in my short time at CODE has been incredible. I have had the opportunity to meet diverse groups of people and be inspired by the great work that is going on.
I look forward to entering a culture that is courteous and caring. Coming into work every morning where all interactions are heartfelt and genuine. It is almost like I am in a different culture from my typical experiences in the general public. Walking into work and being surrounded by the wonderful associates of CODE makes my work day much more enjoyable. More importantly, I am looking forward to making a change and contributing to the growth of CODE by doing my work with great efficiency and bringing new ideas to the table, that would enrich the lives of people in the society.
Some of our classmates have gone out of the country, some are now graduates, some have married, some have given birth, some are dead don’t forget that too, some are yet to be admitted into the tertiary institution, but you know that feeling when you meet your classmate and it seems like they have achieved their dreams and you’re not yet close to yours.
Yes, somehow feels like jealousy, it’s a normal feeling. But, you must not regret your life because all fingers are not equal. We all are different and our path to greatness is not same in distance. Some might reach before you, some might reach after you, some might not even reach, but whatever level you are presently please keep trying to break the limitations and move further. Celebrate the success of others, it’s an application for yours, rejoice with those that are rejoicing and mourn with them that are mourning. Your friend buys a car now, be happy with him. Remember when you get yours, theirs wouldn’t be the latest again. Life is not by competition but rather endurance.
Life is also a game that some might succeed while others might not. If not we all have been born into one family, one religion and same everything. The passion in you, never quench. The desire in you, keep it burning. The goal in you, keep pursuing it. What you pass through, the challenge you are facing don’t be intimidated rather write it down because one day the world would be ready to read it. There’s no height you cannot attain, just believe, define your goals and recognize distractions, spend time teaching yourself, because the things that mainly take people to the top is the things they devoted day and night and time to time to develop. Don’t be intimidated by your fellow’s success, the sky is too wide that the birds can fly without touching themselves.
The mind is a dangerous thing and if you let it, it will kick you, beat you, and make you want to give up, quit, run for the hills and never, ever look back. Ever. In short, the mind can be a twist. It’s not easy to overcome the thoughts that trip us up. The self-destructive thoughts our minds come up with may be irrational, but when they’re raging inside of your head, well, they seem very real and very serious, and they can be utterly devastating.
Have you ever felt like such a fake as a writer that you wanted to walk away and never feel that way again? I never feel like a fake cause I know where i’m going to and where am from. Think positive, dream positive, Eat positive, Live positive and stop looking down on yourself or somebody but keep but to your dream, vision and goal.
By Etta Michael Bisong
Connected Development (CODE), a non-governmental and not for profit organisation monitoring the lead poisoning outbreak in Shikira, has condemned the federal government over the poor handling of the disaster that claimed 30 lives and leaving over 300 hundred others with high level lead contaminants in their blood.
The group is particularly angry that this year’s raining season has began; yet the government is still uncertain over the specific date when remediation will commence to save children below the ages of five in the small rural mining community.
Hamzat Lawal, Chief Executive Officer of the organisation in an interview with journalists in Abuja, urged the government to stop being conservative and be more transparent on management of the exercise so as to tackle it appropriately.
“The truth is that time is running out,” Lawal said. “Federal Government should come up with a clear work plan including date, data and timeline for the clean-up of Shikira.”
He decried that the situation is even more worrisome as Médecins sans Frontières (MSF)/Doctors Without Borders, an international network of humanitarian services provider has threatened to leave the community. MSF after realising the outbreak in April 2015 volunteered to render free medical services to the victims, but on the condition that the environment is first remediation to avoid duplication of treatment.
The CODE’s helmsman also frowned at the selective attitude of the government towards participating in activities and engaging with civil society groups working in the affected community.
“I am not happy that relevant agencies of government, especially the federal ministry of Environment, Solid Minerals and Health are not present at this important meeting after sending invitations ahead of time,” he said. “It shows us to what extent that the government value the lives of our vulnerable children who are in urgent need of medical attention.”
However, Lawal commended the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for passing a resolution mandating the Executive arm of government to embark on a total clean up of the impact site without further contemplation.
He urged the Senate to also look into and review the 2007 Mining Act to reflect current realities so as to properly integrate activities of artisanal miners to address the problems bedeviling the sector in the country.
Simba Tirima, representative of TerraGraphics, the organisation that conducted analysis of the environmental characterisation and impact of the devastation, said over 500,000 mg/kg Pb of lead contaminants were found in some parts of the village.
This outrageous figure, he hinted contradict the the United States Environmental Protection Agency threshold of 400 mg/kg Pb for residential soil.
Tirima advised the federal government to partner with victims and members of the affected community as well as other rights groups to ensure proper coordination in tackling the epidemic.
The minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed, visited Shikira recently and declared it a national disaster.
Mohammed after her assessment tour concluded that there was urgent need to clean up the environment to protect other children from further exposure of the contamination and restore back livelihood in the community.
While government, environmental rights as well as humanitarian groups continue to brainstorm on various methods of solving the menace, it is important to note that over 300 children are still living with high level lead poison in their blood with many others vulnerable to further contamination.
For some of you that are familiar with the Lagos mainland, when you say you are going to Yaba, it means you are going shopping just by the railway. In the 19th century, Yaba was known as the host of a railway garage market where Lagosians buy “second – hand clothings”. Digitalization in the 21st century has rewritten the narrative of the town to the technology hub of Nigeria.” We now have 60 technology companies in and around Yaba, this is something fascinating for us, as it was only us and the University of Lagos. When we moved here in 2012” Bosun Tijani, the CEO of Co – Creation Hub affirmed in his opening remarks for the 2016 Social Change Summit.
Amidst several tensions in the country, on June 23, 2016 about 80 participants gathered around the popular Herbert Macaulay space of Co – Creation Hub to discuss how to attract talent, resources and creativity to address Nigeria’s most pressing social challenges. I might not be right, but it seems the event greatly focused on Media and Digital Innovations. And why not? Every conference now have that word – innovation! Whenever you are in Lagos, you must innovate to get to events early, exactly what I did, by flagging a motorbike rider, to get me to the event, all the way from Ikeja! Please don’t inform Ambode, I only wanted to avoid the painstaking Lagos traffic, and remember, I came from Abuja.
The hall was enlivened by the keynote speech of Ibukun Awosika, the Chairman First Bank Group, who to me appeal more to the female gender, as I observe closely all the female entrepreneurs, in the room, nodding to every of her lines. Maybe, I am the one that is not a female activist, but the good news was that her thoughts on rethinking a was quite electric. “When they ask you for your state of origin, erase it, and add your state of residence, likewise we should start thinking of how we have our talents come together to start up innovative solutions to our growing problems” Awosika mentioned. But is Nigeria really taken apart by the about three hundred and sixty something tribes in the country. She further said “There are three hundred and something tribes in Nigeria, so can you create three hundred and seventy something nation’s, leave out Yoruba, Igbo,Hausa, and all & become a true Nigeria, infact the things we do now cannot take us to where we are going as a Nation, we must change the status quo”.
The second keynote, which was on independent media as a catalyst for social change, was given by Stephen King and Ory Okolloh of Omidyar Network. Imagine, this is the third event in 2 weeks that I will be attending, in which the media is been referred to as the pillar of social change. Shouldn’t this be a concern for media organizations in the country? I am still watching and waiting for new innovative TV channels that can stand and surpass Channels TV. However, let it not sound like I am a TV fan, I do YouTube more than TV, and also a radio fan, especially at peak hours. “Independent media should leverage on opportunities embedded in the use of local languages, and content that citizens can easily relate with, an example is Wazobia FM and Urban FM” Ory Okolloh asserts. Truthfully, I am in love with the way Wazobia FM relates with its audience, a real game changer in the broadcast industry in Nigeria, but I am an advocate of market competition, as such we will need more of Wazobia FM’s.
Inasmuch as we welcome this burgeoning outfits, challenges in sustaining the opportunities that are available in this space remain enormous. One would not easily forget the reputable NEXT Newspaper which started in 2008 and ceased publication in September 2011 owing to advert shortage due to government influence on advertisement space in its print. Afterwards NEXT, was Premium Times, a leading online news, and investigative journalism platform, created 2011 in Nigeria.In order for investors and media practitioners to understand key constraints and opportunities that drive this media innovation,Omidyar Network and Reboot published a report on accelerating development & good governance in the new media landscape which highlighted opportunities in the independent media. You should read this if you are interested in starting or strengthening your independent media
No doubt, talents are scarce, and entrepreneurs are finding it difficult to recruit talent as reported in the Global Entrepreneurship Research 2016 Watch out for my reaction to the report in my next post.With several panel discussions during the Social Change Summit, it was resolved that entrepreneurs should not recruit based on only compensation, but should think on making talents climb the ladder as a leader, after all talent is one thing, and leadership is another. “Sometimes what you need is knowledge,and not more finance” suggests Paul Okeogo, the Chief Operating Officer at Chocolate City. Many times you need knowledge on managing a team, and growing your startup to scale, most of which you can leverage from your peers, funders and prospective funders. To become sustainable as well, you will need knowledge on monetizing your ventures by creating content that your audience can relate with. “You don’t just think you have an idea, and you can throw it to the market, you must know who are your audience by segmenting your market” advised Abiola Alabi, owner of Biola Alabi Media, and former Managing Director at M-NET Africa.
Forget it, the Lagos market is huge, and that’s why it houses 20 million Nigerians, but for some of us, that grew up in the city, it can be tiring at times, and now that we do not leave in the city anymore, it’s difficult for us to wait till conferences or summit like this finishes. Before 5pm, my motor bike man came calling “oga it’s 5 pm we should enter the road now, you know say hold up go don dey build up” when you are in Lagos you know what that means. Four days in Lagos looks like it was 1 month, but really it was worth the time!
On a fateful Monday evening, as I discussed with my sister on certain plans I had made for myself for summer 2016 amongst which I mentioned an interest in working in any organization to gain an experience and also experience the real world. With excitement she exclaimed, “Yes!! I know an organization you would love to work in” and with my funny facial expression I replied, “ how serious can you be? I haven’t even enjoyed my summer yet and you want me to start working? I was just joking oo!”
Little did I know she went out of her way to reach out to the organization for a placement interview and at night she sent me a message “we have a place to go on Friday at 11am, but before then make sure you read on Connected Development [CODE] and have an idea about it.” I did exactly what she said and I found myself constantly visiting the organization’s website even when I want to check up something on the Internet, I kept checking on their website as well.
As Friday came, the clock kept ticking as my heart kept panting hard. I began to panic while different thoughts were flying into my head “what if they don’t accept you? Why can’t you just say you are not interested again? Is it really necessary to gain the experience? Would you be welcomed into the organization?”
While all these thoughts were traveling in my head, I found myself in front of a sign post reading “Connected Development, Empowering Marginalized Communities”.
Then I knew the work experience was real. I shook off the fear in me, and walked in. Immediately I opened the door I saw about six people looking at me and they took their faces off while they all worked on their laptops.
Walking further, I saw a “young chap” in an Alhaji’s cap on, I was wondering ‘ Is this the owner of the organization? Or is this his friend? All these assumptions were rectified when he introduced himself as Hamzat Lawal, the Chief Executive of CODE. He asked what I knew about CODE, and I poured all I read from the website. He cracked jokes and I laughed, it served as a piece of relief for me while I was expecting to see a man who had a straight face and does not smile after all the stories I heard from friends about their bosses at various organizations where they happen to work. To my amazement, this man was totally different. After our conversation, he told me ‘Wadiam, welcome to CODE, let me introduce you to the team.” Having met the team, and introduced myself, I was totally calm to have seen a little me accepted as an intern in CODE.
Two weeks later, I received an email urging me to resume on June 8, 2016 at 8am. I was quite sad as I expected to resume by 9am, but well, I obviously had to adapt.
I walked in on June 8, with my shy self, as I met everyone, they embraced me and we developed a relationship within ourselves. I would basically regard CODE not as an organization but rather a family.
Sadly, on my second day at CODE, I had an experience of a lifetime. As I sat on a chair, reading an article on my laptop, within the twinkle of an eye, I found myself on the floor. I realized I just fell down not knowing I sat down a bad chair, it was so funny and at the same time it wasn’t funny because I felt embarrassed. But then! When I remember that fall, I just sit and laugh on my own because of the way everything just occurred in seconds.
So far so good, working with this family, I have learnt to use the Google drive, social media as means of creating awareness to the public not only chatting and communicating with friends, I have also learnt to build up my self-confidence. Building my confidence is one of the best things I have learnt knowing my very shy part as a person. In the same vein, I have learnt how to build proper and healthy relationship with people while working as a team.
While working as an intern at CODE, I expect to teach a lot of things aside the ones I have learnt already. I would like to still understand the aspect of development strategies, making a stringent policy and how to implement as well as review such policies to enable its efficiency.
I would say on a brief note that this being my first internship experience, has been an amazing and challenging one for me as I would always want to return and work here after my school.